The Lord said, “Listen to my words…” (Numbers 12:6 ESV)
What hopes and expectations do we have regarding communication with the Lord?
From Moses and through the prophets to the events recorded in Acts, the Lord has communicated with his people through a variety of means. The prophets such as Samuel, Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and many others spoke what the Lord had revealed to them. Paul had a vision on the Damascus Road, Peter had a dream, and John records his vision of the end times in the Book of Revelation.
Since then, the church has been blessed by those to whom the Lord has enabled through the supernatural gifts of prophecy, visions, and other means of spiritual insight.
Is the church as eager to hear from God in the same fashion as in the Scriptures, or has it become so settled in its ways and traditions that a Word from the Lord might be feared to be unsettling and inconvenient?
As we marvel at, and give thanks for, Moses’ dialogue and communication with the Lord we recall that there are many others to whom he communicated.
Remembering the prophet Joel, do we yearn for such intimacy with the lord – not only for ourselves but the whole Body of Christ and the building up of the church, locally and beyond?
In the Gospels the disciples, who were Jews, knew Jesus ‘face to face’ whilst the Gentiles (God fearers) knew the God of the Old Testament. They had heard of Jesus but largely were not prepared to go beyond the accepted rules and regulations about close contact with Jews.
After the resurrection and Pentecost there was a dramatic shift, and all are now welcome into the presence of God – as a child is welcome into the father’s presence.
Jesus offers invitations in many forms as well as in his parables:
Ask … seek… knock (Matthew 7:7-8)
I stand at the door and knock … (Revelation 3:20)
Come … (Matthew 11:28, 26:34)
An invitation to the banquet … (Luke 14:15ff)
Invitations for healing, sight, freedom, to drink and eat… (Luke 4:18, John 6:35)
Those that respond find, not only new life but also the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit – bringing an even closer communication and relationship with God.
The Law and tradition may keep the Lord at a distance … the Holy Spirit enables closeness and communication.
“Hear my words: If there is a prophet among you, I the Lord make myself known to him in a vision; I speak with him in a dream. 7 Not so with my servant Moses. He is faithful in all my house. 8 With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in riddles, and he beholds the form of the Lord. (Numbers 12:6-8 ESV)
So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.10 The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:9-10 NIV)
8 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8 ESV)
And it shall come to pass afterward,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
and your young men shall see visions.
29 Even on the male and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit.
30 “And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. 32 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Joel 2:28-32 ESV)
Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. 4 And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” 5 And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6 But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” (Acts 9:4-6 ESV)
… Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour[a] to pray. 10 And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance 11 and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. 12 In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” 14 But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” 15 And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” 16 This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.
17 Now while Peter was inwardly perplexed as to what the vision that he had seen might mean, behold, the men who were sent by Cornelius, having made inquiry for Simon’s house, stood at the gate 18 and called out to ask whether Simon who was called Peter was lodging there. 19 And while Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you. 20 Rise and go down and accompany them without hesitation,[b] for I have sent them.”
(Acts 10:9-20 ESV)
10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet 11 saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.” (Revelation 1:10-11 ESV)