(ver 1.3) This is Part 2 in a series of basic Christian Bible lessons on the subject of Being Led by the Spirit of God. The spiritual value contained within this series will be significantly greater than most other lessons that I have done. While any and all of the knowledge of God found in the Bible is very important, knowing how to be led by the Spirit of God on a daily basis is also important for us in these last days. The Bible is general knowledge and instruction for every Christian. Reading and studying about the people in the Bible will teach us how they failed and how they succeeded, but the benefits of being led by the Spirit of God helps us more on an individual personal level. For example, who should you marry? Where should you live? Where do you work? Even what route do I take today from work to get back home to my family? What flight do I get on to see my friend in Paris? Do any of these daily personal decisions that you need to make matter? I believe that they matter more than you know, especially in light of the events happening in the world today. There are terrorist, bombers, rapists, murderers, thieves, robbers, airplane crashes, floods, earth quakes and other things happening every day that it would be wiser to avoid if you could. I personally believe that God can cause you to miss many evils, heartaches, accidents, injuries and mishaps simply by putting you in the right place at the right time with the right people to avoid them. So not only are there positives to be gained, there are also clearly negatives to be avoided by listening to the Spirit of God. Since God knows the end from the beginning, His knowledge far outweighs anything that I could say to you about what I think you should do. Therefore being led by the Spirit of God involves three prerequisite factors; hearing, obedience and timing. If you do not hear or recognize when God speaks you will always fail. If you do not obey God you will always fail. If you do not do it at the right time you will also fail. In order to be successful, you are going to have to hear the voice of God and then be where He says to be at the exact precise place and time.
The successful leading of the Spirit of God will result in the alignment of all of the dimensions found within the natural realm with all of the dimensions found within the spiritual realm to cause the plan of God to be fulfilled. I believe that this is the goal of being led by the Spirit of God. However it is more complicated than that and we have to also balance hearing and being led by God with the fact that God also requires us all to walk by faith. To walk by faith means that we do not ever know everything that will happen or what we should do in every situation and therefore we move forward doing what we were previously told before to do using our faith until God says to do something else or something new. For example, the children of Israel were told to march around the city of Jericho by faith for seven days and the walls would come down. That was God’s instruction working with their faith to bring the walls down. The people were required to believe that God would do His part if they did their part. Todays’ lesson will be the beginning of the primary methods that God has used to lead His people in the Bible. There are actually many recorded methods in the Bible and I do not profess to know them all, but I will teach on the ones that I do know about and I will try to eventually prioritize them to get you to see how God will potentially lead you.
In the first introductory lesson I focused on the fact that the Bible said that God would lead us by His Spirit. But, I also tried to say that being led by God was a conditional statement woven within the fabric of human dependence and cooperation and that God does not lead everyone just because He can. To try to say that He does this is built upon an extreme position of fatalism or predestination which attempts to teach a religious philosophy of ultimate divine sovereign control of the planet. If that was true, then there would be no need to be led by the Spirit of God. How does God lead His people? I tried to teach you that you that God uses a Shepherd approach to leading His sheep (people) and this conforms and balances with the freewill of humans being able to decide to follow Him or to walk away at any time and be lost. God told us very clearly that it was only the sons of God that were led by the Spirit of God (Rom 8:14). The implied information given to us from this verse is that those who are not being led by the Spirit of God are not the sons of God and have chosen to be independent from God. So being led by the Spirit of God may be dependent upon you becoming His child first. It also further implied that being led by the Spirit of God was a personal responsibility of the individual being led to follow. In other words God is not going to lead you around with a chain around your neck dragging you where you do not want to go. That is not the character or nature of a loving God. Jesus is our Great Shepherd and He will go before us and call our name to follow Him, but it is always up to us to hear and to do the following. If you have not read Part 1 I would suggest that you go back and start reading there and then continue with this lesson on how God leads His people.
Here is a list of some of the ways that God has used to communicate with the men and women on the earth to lead or direct them for their greater good and to help them to fulfill His divine purpose and plan of love. In studying the Bible I never read anywhere that God led someone to hurt, harm or to destroy them. If you know of any examples like that then tell me, because I did not see it. I have concluded that being led by God is a great benefit and never for evil. Let’s look at the recorded methods of God communicating with people:
- The Audible Voice of God
- The Finger of God
- Angels Sent by God
- Prophets, Teachers, Pastors, Evangelists, Apostles or other Men/Women (disciples) of God
- The inward Still Small Voice of God
- The Written Word of God
- External Visible Signs from God
- Visions from God
- Dreams from God
- Prayer of an Individual
- The Inward Witness of God / Moral Conscience / Intuition / Internal Knowledge / Spiritual Insight
- Patterns found within God’s Creation
These are some of the diverse methods that I have found in the Bible that God has used to communicate intelligently with the human race. Some of these methods are certainly very different from each other while others have some overlapping qualities and features. Some of these methods are more dominantly found in the Old Testament and others are more frequently used by God within the New Testament. But, I honestly do not discredit any of them as being potential ways that God can get His message across to someone on the earth who is honestly seeking to know Him, hear Him and follow His guidance. I do believe that some methods are more common than others and that God intends for every Christian to grow up spiritually so that we can better perceive what He says at any instance. I’m sorry but I did not list them in any particular order or even try to prioritize them into a list with organized structure. I only wrote them down as I remembered them in the Bible. In this series of lessons I will attempt to give you Biblical examples for every method that I just listed and hopefully explain them and how they work so that you will be able to recognize when God is speaking to you. Let’s start with number 12, the last one first, just for fun.
GOD REVEALED IN CREATION
Rom 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
Here in Romans 1:20 is the last method in my list that God has attempted to communicate with people on the earth. God declares that He can be known clearly through the things that were created all around us if people choose to see them. This is the exemplified intelligent design of an infinitely wise God. God has placed things within plain sight in the naturally created realm that will direct and point us all to the Creator if we make the effort to find them. God clearly says even if He never comes to you personally and speaks to you in an audible voice, that you are without excuse on judgment day if you did not find Him. All of the secrets of God are revealed in the things which were made around you. These created things are not God, but they reflect Him and make Him known. This is one of the primary methods used by God to try to reach humanity. This verse declares that all of creation was purposely designed with a pattern that will reveal hidden spiritual things that we have never seen before. Nothing has occurred around us by random chance or accident. Realize that God may not ever manifest Himself spiritually or physically to prove His existence to anyone. However, I believe that God will move heaven and earth to prove His existence to those that are actually seeking to know Him by faith in believing that He exists. You see there is a requirement given to us in Hebrews that declares that everyone who comes to God must first believe in His existence (Heb 11:6). Having faith is the only way to please God that I know of. Hebrews dictates a prerequisite that you must possess before you can ever know God personally.
This verse in Romans 1:20 declares to us that even the invisible things of God are clearly visible within creation. What are the invisible things of God that are being referred to in this verse? I believe these are the hidden qualities, attributes, features, characteristics, traits, personalities, perspectives and individualities of the Living God. People do not realize that the evidence for God’s existence is all around them being communicated in hidden ways. Satan has tried very hard to dilute the truth of God’s existence with the modern theories of evolution, the spontaneous creation fallacies and other naturalistic theories of an evolving creation. However every modern scientific truth has always pointed us back to a creator God that used intelligent design to create. The modern Laws of Thermodynamics state a decaying world around us and not an organizing system that would be required to evolve life. Just as cars are not assembled automatically from junk yard parts, the human body did not evolve into existence from unorganized plasma. Reading recently about what scientists have discovered about which came first the chicken or the egg, they concluded that the chicken had to have come first. Only a specific substance that is critical for producing an egg exists within the chicken and nowhere else. Therefore, they have concluded the chicken must have existed before the egg that hatches the chicken can exist. This new scientific discovery discounts evolution categorically. Therefore, there are no spontaneous new evolving species of anything occurring today and we will never solve the mystery of the missing link between man and the apes since they do not exist. The Bible clearly tells us everything produces after its own kind. The modern evidence for DNA also proves intelligent design. There is absolutely no possibility of the complex design of the human DNA strand to have formed in isolation. This would be like seeing the Space Shuttle lift off and saying it made itself. The complexity of the human DNA dictates the need for an intelligent Designer. So God has clearly communicated to every man by the things that He has designed and created for us to enjoy. Let’s skip back up to number 1 in the list and do another method of God found in the Bible of how God speaks to people.
HEARING THE VOICE OF GOD
Gen 3:8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
I really like the book of Genesis and I think it is very interesting how God wrote it. The information being given is very complex and sometimes missed by the casual reader. Did you see what God says in verse 8 of Genesis 3? Here in this chapter we have the fall of man occurring and God comes down to speak with His children. Did you notice that this verse does not say that God was physically present like when Jesus was here? To hear the voice of God walking is definitely not the same as hearing God walking physically on the earth. After all, the Bible says “God is a Spirit” (John 4:24) and if God did manifest physically it would have violated other information given to us in the Bible. For example, God teaches us in the N.T. that NO MAN has ever seen God at any time (John 1:18). This statement from Jesus certainly includes Adam, the first man. However, the Bible is more complex than this; because the voice of God is declared to actually be God according to John 1:1. You have to understand the difference between the written word of God and the spoken Words of God. One is God and the other is just words on a page that came from God. Do you understand this? One statement that Jesus made was “The words that I speak, they are Spirit…(John 6:63) If spoken words are spirit, then you cannot separate God’s voiced words from God’s Spirit! They must be one in the same according to Jesus. Think with me for a moment about the subject of sound. Sound is produced by vibration and this creates sound waves that are perceived by the natural human ear. An audible sound wave is not visible to the human eye so technically God has not violated His word by speaking to Adam in the form of sound waves. I personally believe that at the most rudimentary basic root level of every atom in existence within the known universe is a sound wave produced by the voice of the Spirit of God.
We know that God spoke the world into existence by reading chapter 1 of Genesis. So the spoken word of God was the initiating basis for all of physical creation. I believe that whatever Adam perceived in the garden was not a physical manifestation of God’s presence but that it was only the audible sound of the voice of God. What I want you to see from this verse is that God says His voice can be heard by a man and his wife and that this must still hold true even today since God does not ever change (Heb 13:8). If Adam heard God’s voice then you can also hear God’s voice. We can easily conclude that God speaks and people can hear as a universal spiritual law. If you continue to read in this chapter of Genesis you will also see God speaking to every participant in the fall. God speaks to Adam first, then to Eve and finally to the serpent in that order. God went down the spiritual food chain of command authority in order to communicate with each individual. God recognized the existence of spiritual authority and this will always be how He speaks to people even today. God will not tell people in the church how to run the church. God will come to the pastor and tell Him what to do first.
Joh 12:28 Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.
Joh 12:29 The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.
The audible voice of God is clearly demonstrated again in these verses found in John. God is speaking from heaven and it must have been very loud to those present. People standing nearby said and thought that it had just thundered near them. Others thought an angel had spoken something. The other day we had a thunderstorm blow through our neighborhood. The power in the house blinked twice and one thunder clap was so loud and so close that it shook the house. I believe this is what people heard however the volume is not the main issue; it was clearly the message that was more important. Do not ever get hung up on the volume and always pay attention to what is said. I have only had the Spirit of God speak to me in an externally audible voice one time over 20 years ago. I was lying in bed attempting to wake up and all of sudden God spoke to me. I did not realize what just happened so I sat up in the bed and looked around the room to make sure no one was there with me. I thought I was going crazy at first and lay back down. Then it happened again. I could tell you what God said, but that is really not that important to you since it was a personal message to me. I want you to see that God is capable of speaking audibly so that our external ears can perceive it. But, also I want you to realize that this is not the normal way that God speaks to everyone. God only did this for me one time so far. There are clearly a few examples given to us in the Bible of God speaking to people this way, so if God desires to do this do not discount or discourage it from happening. However, also do not seek God for Him to speak audibly to you at any time. I never asked God to do this to me. You are not God and you cannot tell God what to do. God knows how to communicate with you and He will do it in His own way. Also realize that God is not the only spiritual voice in the earth that can manifest and produce audible sound waves. Satan and demons can also manifest in external voices. Understand that it is up to God to choose how He speaks and not up to you. I will briefly tell you that the method that God chooses to communicate with you will vary based upon two factors; His will and your ability to hear. Hearing God’s voice varies based upon spiritual maturity and your spiritual awareness. There are other factors also that I will get into later. New born Christian babies are not able to receive at the same level as a Christian who has grown for 30 years in prayer and Bible study. So how God speaks to you may require Him to speak audibly like He did for me at first, but now that I am able hear Him differently, He does not speak in audible voices. That is very important to know so I hope you understood it. We have looked at numbers 1 and 12 in my list and now let us continue with method number 2.
THE FINGER OF GOD
Exo 31:18 And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.
Here is an Old Testament example of a spiritual New Testament truth. God was meeting with Moses on the top of Mount Sinai and after the conversation ended, God sent him away with tablets of stone that were engraved by the “finger of God”. This was God’s message for man written on tablets of stone by the finger of God. God had a letter for the people of Israel and He gave it to them using an external sign with a visible message. This is clearly not God’s normal way of communicating with people on the earth, but God used it to make a point and an example for a New Testament spiritual way of communicating with the church. According to the Bible God would write His new law upon our hearts of flesh taking out the hearts of stone that were previously in us (Heb 10:16). God writing a message on a billboard or the side of a mountain for humans to see now is just not normally going to happen from my perspective. Just because God is able to do it is not a sign that it will happen again. You see I believe the Old Covenant was based upon external natural things and the New Covenant is based upon internal spiritual things. Do not ever seek for God to do what He has already done before in the Old Testament, for the sake of proving that He can do it again. This is called testing or tempting God and that is not a wise tactic for coming before a Holy God. Seek God and however He comes to you is how He will get across His message. You cannot choose the method; just understand how He has done it in the past to see how He might do it in the future. Then learn to see Old Testament types as being a foreshadowing of the New Testament spiritual realities. I once heard a minister say that we should not seek for the spectacular and totally miss the supernatural. In other words do not expect God to do the mighty miraculous external thing and miss the simple quite internal words of God that could have saved your life. I’m going to skip to number 7 next because I feel it fits in here.
EXTERNAL VISIBLE SIGNS FROM GOD
Exo 13:21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:
The Bible in the New Testament says that those who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God. God leading by His Spirit in the Old Covenant was much different than that found in the New Covenant. In the Old Covenant God used external signs to lead the people through the wilderness. These were clearly visible manifestations of the Spirit of God in the form of the clouds by day and the fire by night. This is again natural external signs of the coming internal spiritual realities that we possess. To be led by the Spirit of God is the goal of every true Christian. However, today do not look for an external cloud in order to know where to follow Him. You must understand that the children of Israel were not born again spirit-filled followers of God. They only possessed external senses that dominated and suppressed their internal spiritual awareness. We as New Testament Christians are much different than they were. We have the Spirit of God resident on the inside of us. So if God needs to lead you away from pending danger, He can do it spiritually and not with natural external signs and wonders. Do not expect God to part the Red Sea or lead you with a pillar of fire. Understand the types given to us from this information. God says He is our guide. Clouds represented a layer of protection form the extreme heat of the desert. The fire by night presented a source of heat from the cold of the desert night and provided light for them to see even in the darkness. These are all the types of the Holy Spirit’s work in Christians today. Protection, guidance, direction, enlightenment and comfort are some of the key benefits of the Spirit of God inside us today. I recently saw on TV people flocking to places that they say they saw an image of Jesus or Mary or some other external visible sign from God. While this might be comforting to some people it could also be deceiving them into a false sense of security. Do not ever look at external things and be led by them like an image of a man, or a weeping picture in a church, or a bleeding image on a wall or some other weirder thing that you may have heard about. People have paid a lot of money to buy an image of Jesus burnt into a piece of bread. People are clearly looking for the wrong things in the world. Just because God can do this, does not mean that He has done this. Note the N.T. never tells us to be led by external signs or wonders. When the antichrist shows up in the world he will deceive many people with supernatural miraculous signs. Do not fall for them.
I think this will be a good time to end this lesson today. I have gone very long and I have only discussed four methods so far out of 12. This means that it will probably take several more lessons to discuss all of the other methods that God has used to intelligently communicate with His people. I hope you are learning something new, but I know many of you already know everything that I am saying. This series is mostly for newer Christians and not for those that have been around a long time. So while it is important it might not be something new to you. However, you can share your experiences with me and I will pass them along so that others can learn from them. If God has ever spoken to you share it with me. I do not have to know what He said, just how He communicated to you might be the thing that will help someone else. Until next time, I pray that you will continue to hunger and thirst after the knowledge of His Good Word.
If you would like to continue reading in this series you may go to “Part 3“.