• Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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  • February 2015
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Samuel A Cain“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law. (Deuteronomy 29:29 ESV)

I must confess that I have borrowed the title and idea for this article from my pastor. However, I am sure he will forgive me for the liberty I have taken. I alone am responsible for the following article and its contents.

Most Christians would like to hear from God when they are about to make an important decision or going through tough times. We all want God to speak to us in some manner. Is this a scriptural practice for us today? Is it possible we are erring in asking for personal extra-biblical revelation? Are we asking for information the Bible does not offer? The historic Christian church has always asserted that God’s revelation to mankind is limited to the teachings of the Bible. The Bible contains all the spiritual truth that God intends to make known. The Westminster Confession of Faith tells us:

I-VI. “The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men …”

Private revelation or interpretation is not given. (2 Peter 1:20 ESV)  The Holy Spirit may help us to understand how the Scripture applies to our circumstances, but the Bible guides us in our Christian walk. A renewed mind (Romans 12:2 ESV) makes deductions, assumptions, and reaches conclusions based on the desire to live a life pleasing to God according His Word. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV) Having received all this from God is a great blessing, but too many Christians speak careless phrases such as: “God spoke to me …”; “God told me …”; “God promised me …”; “I felt God directing me …”; “God promised to open that door for me …” or “God told me to tell you …” Encouraging such experiences leads people away from the Scriptures and actually diminishes the significance of the Bible.

People who claim they have heard God speaking to them privately or assert they have received personal revelation about others, events, or themselves – really do not know if their emotional inclinations are from God or the devil. Placing false words in the mouth of God is a serious sin. Remember the false prophets:

“But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.” (Deuteronomy 18:20 ESV)

“Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.” (Proverbs 30:5-6 ESV)

Are you looking for signs of God’s will in places He has not told us to look? (Matthew 12:38-41) Are you ignoring the one place He tells us to look; the Scriptures? Do you put more faith in signs and feelings than in God’s Word? I am confident God-Spoke-to-Methat if you say “yes” to just one of these questions, you have chosen to take shortcuts around the Word of God in hope that God will ordain your wishes. This is a dangerous course of action. You are trying to manipulate the outcome of a mystery that is hidden. This is God’s business, not ours, and you risk heresy by going there. God’s Will is revealed in God’s Word. He will never contradict His written Word.

When making decisions, remember to pray as James instructs us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5 ESV) “And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.” (Luke 18:1 ESV) If things do not turn out the way you want, ask God for a submissive heart.

God’s sovereign will extends to having a specific will for each of our individual futures. However, God does not allow us to see the details of His plan before we get there and sometimes not even then. “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9 ESV) Trust in God’s providential care. Even if we cannot see beyond this moment, God will guide us:

“And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. God saidI will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.” (Isaiah 42:16 ESV)

A man who does not read and study the Bible may have shivers, tingles, prickles, and lightening coming out of his ears, but I would not trust that God is giving him personal revelation outside the Scriptures. Jesus said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4 ESV) Paul instructs Timothy, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15 ESV) Avoid those who preach that God will guide you by your feelings. Do not be found among those “who chirp and mutter” off-the-wall ideas to appeal to your emotions and self-interest. (Isaiah 8:19 ESV) To base our faith on feelings is a recipe for disaster. Our faith must always be in the integrity of God and His revealed Word.

 “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:8 ESV)

3 Responses

  1. Yes, God speaks through scripture. I was caught by the title of your blog because I read about gilgal today…found out it means rolling…where God rolled off the disgrace of Egypt from the Israelites after they circumcised themselves before they took Jericho and more of the promised land.


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