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my law and my voice

God says,

“And the Lord saith, Because they have forsaken my law which I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice, neither walked therein;”

Jeremiah 9:13

Or, as it is translated in the New American Standard version,

“The Lord said, “Because they have forsaken My law which I set before them, and have not obeyed My voice nor walked according to it,”

Jeremiah 9:13

My law and my voice

In this verse, God speaks through the prophet Jeremiah to Israel during the time that the King of Babylon was attacking Jerusalem. This verse shows that our heavenly Father expects us not only to follow His revealed word in the scriptures (law), but also that He expects us to receive and follow His voice too. At this particular time, His voice was the prophet Jeremiah.

There is some confusion in Christian circles as to whether we should only follow what we know of the scriptures or if it is proper to also heed what God says through spiritual experiences. The truth and balance of the matter are that both are important. During the difficult times that God’s people were facing as the Babylonians were laying siege to Jerusalem, God expected them to both “do” His law and “hear” His voice. Today, as we face difficult times in our lives we must give heed to “what is written” and “what we hear.”

God says,

“Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.”

Genesis 26:5

God blessed Abraham as the father of many nations because he obeyed both His voice and His laws. Some people think that keeping the commandments of God is of greater importance than obeying the voice of God but that is not so. Both are important for both are necessary.

YHWH writes the scriptures to tell us what He thinks about Historical events and situations. From these scriptures, we derive broad principles and lessons which help us to understand and relate to Him.  God’s voice is different because it is immediate, specific, and relevant to what we are doing right now. Whereas the scriptures give us universal precepts about God, His voice speaks to what we, as groups or individuals, are dealing with today.

Jesus says,

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”

John 16:13

God designed us to live by Revelation.  We simply ask, He responds and we believe. Many think they must figure out, from historical examples and His commandments, how we should proceed. However, this means we are trying to reason out what God wants instead of simply asking Him.  Through hearing God’s voice, we can know how God wants us to proceed at the time we need His direction. Our Father can simply say do “this or that” without having to decide what to do ourselves.

Here is a truth,

“The voice of God and the law of God work together to reveal the will of God in our lives.”

For some, the difficulty comes when what they believe differs from what the voice of God says. The default position of many is, if what you hear is different from what you have been taught, you must go with what you know. I think that this is one of the most damaging precepts currently taught in the normative church, simply because it makes God’s Holy Spirit subservient to our knowledge. Simply put, if we cannot understand what God is saying within the context of what we know, we reject it. In effect, our doctrine takes precedence over our God. However, the Spirit and the word agree.

Peter says,

“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

2 Peter 1:21

The Spirit wrote the word and, therefore, when we hear His voice, it will be in line with what is already written. However, and this is a very important point, it may not necessarily be in line with what our church teaches. The decision whether or not to obey church authority is where the difficulty comes for many people and where confusion sometimes sets in.  Believers hear God’s voice, but it does not line up with what they are supposed to believe. Do they obey God’s voice or do they follow what they have been taught, assuming that they hear wrongly?

God’s voice is true

In general, when God speaks differently than what you believe, it usually indicates you are incorrect. Unfortunately, what we currently believe, is only an approximation of the truth. Many times, when the Spirit speaks to us, He leads us into truth and brings greater clarity on certain topics. Often, we may recoil and say to ourselves “that can’t be right!”

My law and my voice agree

It is OK to consider what the Spirit says.  We don’t need to search out things in the word like the Bereans did in the first century. Considering new ways of looking at things is not dangerous.  Simply compare His voice to the scripture (not doctrine) and see if it fits.  Many, out of fear, don’t permit themselves or others to honestly evaluated what the Holy Spirit says.  However, at least trust His voice long enough to examine what He says.

Live your life by revelation

In conclusion, living your life by revelation is not at odds with the written word, but compliments it. The voice of God “fine tunes” our understanding of scripture.  YHWH’s voice helps us in specific circumstances we face on a daily basis. Give great heed to the oracles of God, whether written 2000 years ago or spoken to us today.

Voice of Truth by Casting Crowns