God Speaks From Heaven

What is heaven? It's the home that God created and He possesses. His throne room is His headquarters from which He issues His commands, directions, and prophecies. And Jesus sits at His Father's right hand.

Some report that God talks audibly to us today as He did to Moses on Mt. Sinai. The movies and stage sometimes portray God as an offstage voice, speaking in rolling bass tones, warning the characters or directing their actions. This may make an interesting scenario, but it may be theologically incorrect. Moreover, God never directs in a way contrary to His character. When the Scriptures tell us that He will direct our paths, we can be assured that when He is in control, no matter how thorny the path, He will not tell us to jump off a cliff.

How does God speak from heaven? First, He speaks through the Bible, His written word. This is why we use the phrase "the Bible says." We have no authority to preach or publish the gospel in sermons unless it is based upon the Word of God. "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness" (11 Timothy 3:16). The authors of the Old Testament, for example, make it clear that God was speaking to them and through them. More than 3,000 times they said, "Thus saith the Lord," or the equivalent. And that's good enough for me!

God also speaks in nature. When He created the heavens and the earth, He gave us the most incredible, complex, beautiful, orderly universe. He has spoken in such a way that men and women are without excuse if they do not hear and understand the psalmist's praise in saying, "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork" (Psalm 19:1, KJV). Because of the clarity of the message, we can also agree with his statement that "The fool says in his heart, `There is no God"' (Psalm 14:1). As the Bible declares, "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse" (Romans 1:20).

God speaks most clearly and completely through His Son, Jesus Christ, who is revealed for us in the pages of the Bible and is the Word of God incarnate. When God, the Son, stepped out of heaven onto earth in the form of man, He accomplished what God intended Him to do from eternity past. "In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe" (Hebrews 1:1-2).

God also speaks to us through our consciences. This may be a "still, small voice" that will not let us go until we do what we know is right, or it may be a loud, clear indication that God wants us on the path. We might even think of it as a searchlight revealing the way in which we should go, beamed from heaven itself. Proverbs says, "The lamp of the Lord searches the spirit of man; it searches out his inmost being" (Proverbs 20:27). We must never silence that inner voice - although we must check what we think it is saying against the Scriptures, to be sure that inner voice is not simply our self-will or our emotions.

When God speaks through His Word, we may receive it clearly, or because of our human frailty it may be distorted, something like a scrambled TV signal coming in over the satellite. Sometimes our receivers are tuned. At other times we may have to wait until we can more clearly hear or "receive" the picture.

One family told a harrowing story of being caught in a blinding blizzard while cross-country skiing. Mother, father, and ten-year-old daughter were lost in a stretch of wilderness on the coldest night in January, with a wind chill factor of twenty to forty degrees below zero.

They fashioned a little shelter among some fallen trees and developed a plan of survival. Father said, "We're going to pray and sing hymns, and exercise, and eat, and play, games. In the morning we'll try to get back up to the ski trails."

The little family knew they faced at least twelve hours of freezing darkness. They began their plan, singing "Onward Christian Soldiers" as they jogged in place. They named all the relatives they could remember, invented stories, made grocery lists, and most important, talked to God. The mother remembered a Bible verse and repeated it so that the little girl and the father could memorize it. "The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything; by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:5-7).

As the night wore on, the circumstances worsened. The father recalled later, "I was holding one of the space blankets over the others in a not-very-successful attempt to block out the wind-driven snow, and for the first time I wondered if we were going to make it. But then it was as if God spoke to me and said, 'Don't worry, I'm going to take care of you."' And He surely did.

God speaks to us from heaven when we pray. Sometimes the answers are clear; sometimes they are vague; sometimes they say "wait." However, we know that someday we will be with Him in His home, and communications will be crystal clear, because we will be with Him. "Now we see but a poor reflection (as ill a mirror): then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am full known" (I Corinthians 13:12). 

Our Patient Merciful God
The Bible and the Gospel speak of God's great mercy for us ...

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