“Well, The Lord Spoke To Me, and said …”
By Keith Sharp
“Well, the Lord spoke to me, and said….” Several times in recent years in friendly conversation friends have casually made this remark. Wow! If the Lord’s on the line, you’d better take that call!
It reminds me of a Pentecostal preacher in Texas several years ago who told his congregation that the Lord spoke to him and told him that he and the entire church were to drive naked to Florida . Some believed him, and they struck off, only to be arrested for indecent exposure while driving across South Louisiana. He later admitted the Lord really didn’t tell him that, but how was the church to know?
Well, let me tell you how.
The Lord had prophets in Israel under the Old Testament (2 Kings 17:13; 2 Chronicles 24:19; Jeremiah 7:25; 25:4; 29:19; Amos 2:11), but some claimed to speak for the Lord although He had not sent them, and they prophesied lies in His name (Jeremiah 14:14-15; 23:21,25-27,30-32; 27:14-15; Lamentations 2:14). The ability to foretell future events with unerring accuracy distinguished true prophets from false (Deuteronomy 18:21-22). Can you predict future events without fail?
But the Lord even made the test tougher. Sometimes He allowed false prophets to do signs or wonders to test Israel ’s faithfulness (Deuteronomy 13:1-3). Then, the test was whether or not the one claiming to be a prophet led Israel away from the Lord (Ibid).
By the way, the penalty for falsely claiming to speak for the Lord was death (Deuteronomy 13:5). But, you say, I don’t claim to be a prophet, but the Lord speaks to me about decisions I need to make from day to day. If you claim the Lord speaks to you directly, you are claiming the gift of prophecy. “Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7). The Lord God sent Moses and Aaron his brother to Pharaoh to deliver Israel from Egyptian slavery. So the LORD said to Moses: “See, I have made you as God to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet. You shall speak all that I command you. And Aaron your brother shall tell Pharaoh to send the children of Israel out of his land (Exodus 7:1-2). So Moses and Aaron came in to Pharaoh and said to him, “Thus says the LORD God of the Hebrews: ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me? Let My people go, that they may serve Me (Exodus 10:3). If God speaks by you, you are a prophet (or prophetess). If you tell me what God said to you, you’re claiming to be a prophet.
There were also New Testament prophets (Acts 13:1; 15:32; 1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 2:20; 3:5; 4:11), but there are also many false prophets, and we must discern between them (1 John 4:1). The gift of prophecy ceased, along with the other miraculous spiritual gifts, when the divine revelation was completed, confirmed, and recorded (1 Corinthians 13:8-10). Once the word of God was found in human vessels, inspired men, the apostles and prophets of Christ (2 Corinthians 1:1; 4:6-7; Ephesians 3:1-5). The Holy Spirit revealed to them God’s thoughts in God’s words (1 Corinthians 2:9-13). The holy apostles and prophets worked mighty signs, wonders, and miracles to confirm the divine message they brought (Mark 16:17-20; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Hebrews 2:1-4).
But these same apostles and prophets wrote down these inspired – God-breathed – words in books (Ephesians 3:1-5). These books were gathered together in one, the New Testament, which, along with the Old Testament compose the Scriptures, the writings from God commonly called the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 1 Timothy 5:18; 2 Peter 3:14-16). Now the word of God is found in an inspired book, the Bible, which is completely sufficient to supply all our spiritual needs (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
When someone claims, “God spoke to me,” he is claiming the gift of prophecy. But that gift has ceased, and all divine truth for men has been revealed, confirmed, and recorded in Scripture. If you’re having a hard time making a difficult decision, look for guidance from the Scriptures and pray for the wisdom to do what’s best (James 1:5). But don’t confuse your opinions or feelings for divine revelation. Divine truth doesn’t come from a human mind; it’s found in an inspired book. Your feelings are just your feelings, and all they prove is that you feel that way.
Reminds me of a true story Robert F. Turner used to tell. A woman came to him asking him to perform her wedding ceremony. Upon discussion he found she was unscripturally divorced. He said he couldn’t perform the ceremony. She left but later returned and announced, “Brother Turner, God spoke to me and said it’s OK, you can perform my wedding ceremony.” Unfazed, he inquired, “Well, did He write it down for you?” “No,” she replied. “Well,” Brother Turner announced, “God spoke to me too. But He wrote it down for me.” And He read to her Matthew 19:9. If God didn’t write it down for you, He didn’t speak to you.