The Voice of God – Deuteronomy 4

Scripture gives the genealogy of Jesus Christ in the line of Judah, including the portion from the time of the Israelite’s Exodus from Egypt, through their forty years wandering in the desert and up to the triumphant entry into the Promised Land of Israel.  As recorded in the gospel of Matthew:

Ram (was) the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon… Matthew 1:4 (ESV)

We know from other scriptures that Nahshon was the leader, or chief, of the tribe of Judah while the people lived in the desert.  He was at the head of the line whenever God directed Moses that it was time for the million Israelites to move. Nahshon was also the first of the twelve chiefs to make a sacrifice for his tribe at the installation of the tabernacle.  His place in the lineage of Jesus Christ seems to have symbolism, as Jesus would ultimately become both eternal Leader and the Sacrifice for all people of faith.

Yet, Nahshon never made it into the Promised Land.  Only Caleb and Joshua from his generation made it in, as a reward for them holding fast to God and trusting in Him while the others broke faith, failing to enter the Promised Land when God had first directed them to, thirty-eight years earlier.

Salmon would be the one from the genealogy to enter, ultimately marrying Rahab, the Canaanite woman who saved the Israelite spies in Jericho. She was spared and justified through her faith in Almighty God, which led to courageous action.  Rahab became a part of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, as mentioned in a previous meditation.

Before their entry, Moses gave the people some final instructions to remember as they took possession of and finally gained rest in the new land, a land flowing with milk and honey. In particular, He reminded them of their unique calling and privileged role in the history of mankind.

33 Did any people ever hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and live?  35 To you it was shown, that you might know that the Lord Himself is God; there is none other besides Him. 36 Out of heaven He let you hear His voice, that He might instruct you; on earth He showed you His great fire, and you heard His words out of the midst of the fire. 37 And because He loved your fathers, therefore He chose their descendants after them; and He brought you out of Egypt with His Presence, with His mighty power, 38 driving out from before you nations greater and mightier than you, to bring you in, to give you their land as an inheritance, as it is this day.  Deuteronomy 4:33, 35-38 (NKJV)

The Israelite people had heard the voice of God, speaking to them from fire, giving them the instructions needed to live life to its fullest, a life of fellowship with and protection under the Lord.  It was a unique experience until Christ came and God walked and spoke among us.  He is still walking among us today in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.

The voice of Jesus Christ is the voice of God, the Word of God Himself.  As Paul writes in the book of Colossians:

15 He (Christ) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  Colossians 1:15 (NKJV)

For in Him (Christ) dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.  Colossians 2:9-10 (ESV)

Today, God speaks to us in many ways, but first and foremost through His word, the Bible.  The Holy Spirit of God will never speak contrary to God’s word found in the scriptures.  This is the primary way that God speaks to believers today.

There are rare cases I know of where friends have heard the audible voice of God.  Some friends were in a time of personal crisis, others were being prepared for one. These experiences led to a re-orientation of their thinking, direction, attitude, or worship practices. In others, it greatly eased their emotional pain or gave them the strength to prevail. I know that there are countless times that the Spirit of God has spoken into someone’s spirit, giving them a word of knowledge or wisdom, a vision, a dream or a prophecy.  There must also be many private experiences we never hear about, kept in confidence between a person and their loving God.

But even for those who have heard the voice of God, the primary mouthpiece from heaven is still His scripture.  We study it to grow closer to God, to recharge our spiritual batteries, and to better follow the will and guidance of our loving Savior, Jesus Christ, who abides in every word, to the glory of the Father.

The Spirit of God also speaks through other people.  When two or more believers are gathered together in the service to or worship of God, the Spirit of Jesus is there among them.  He will often speak through other believers to give us assurance, encouragement, guidance and power.  We know in our hearts when it truly is God speaking to us, spiritually discerning just as each sheep knows its Master’s voice. The Holy Spirit’s power to encourage and bring each other joy and strength even works when we “gather” remotely, through a phone call, text or the internet. God knows no limitation of space or time.

Whichever method He chooses to use, may we all experience today the divine joy, support, and strength which comes from hearing God’s voice.

Reflection

How can I adjust my schedule to allow time for reading and meditating on God’s word?

Who do I know who needs some spiritual support? Perhaps a visit, phone call, text, email, or internet meeting will help to lift up a brother or sister in Christ, lifting us up as well in the process.

Father God, grant us the life-changing experience of fellowship with Jesus through the Presence of the Holy Spirit as we pursue You in scripture. Speak to us personally through Your word and through other believers around us. We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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