We can find God’s revelation all around us, for God talks to us in a multitude of different ways all the time, if we could but see it. One of the ways is through the Holy Bible, which he gave to us. As Second Timothy 3:16-17 says of the Bible,
“All Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfected, thoroughly furnished to every good work.”
Note that Second Timothy 3:16-17 does not say that we can read Scripture and simply receive God’s revelations, the secret things of God. There are two keys which we need to have before we can understand God’s revelations, through the Bible or elsewhere. These are:
1) The sovereign will of the Lord God and
2) The condition of our hearts.
But you may well say that in reading the Bible, in reading the very Word of God, surely then we can hear God’s revelations for us directly? How can there be ‘key’s of conditions. Well the argument which says that it is impossible to study and know the Bible and no hear God is not mine, but that of Jesus talking to His disciples about the Pharisees in John 5:37 as he says of them “…Neither have you heard His voice at any time …” Studying the Bible with all the diligence of a Pharisee – and when it came to studying the Bible, there were none more diligent them they, yet it did not, and cannot of and in itself, lead us to hear the word of God or receive His revelation through His word. We need God given keys to understand.
But lest you think that you can go elsewhere to hear God’s revelation without these keys, let’s look at a couple of verses of scripture which underscore and conclusively prove this point. This is where God speaks audibly to Jesus in an open and public place so all can hear. John 12: 28 records Jesus saying
“’Father, glorify Your name!’” Then there came a voice from the heaven saying, ‘I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.’”
Some heard it, some did not, as v29 records “Then the crowd who stood by and heard said that it thundered. Others said, An angel spoke to Him.” Some heard the audible voice of God, some heard thunder and some said they heard and angel. Hearing God, depends first on the sovereign will of God. In other words, if God does not want you to hear what He is saying, you will not be able to hear.
We, especially males, tend to use our intellect, rather than our hearts. We tend to think that our hearts are fine and no need to spend more time on them, working instead to develop our intellect. But this is simply not biblically supported and is in fact contrary to bible teachings. Nowhere does Jesus chastise someone for being too dull or for lacking education, but He does for being too slow in heart. Remember his comments in Luke 24:25-26 to the two disciple with whom he talked and explained all on the Road to Emmaus?
“And He said to them, O fools and slow of heart to believe all things that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?”
Other verses of scripture also point to sorting out our hearts first and as a priority:
Proverbs 4:23 “Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”
Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart! For they shall see God.”
Mark 7:6-7 “But He answered and said to them, ’Well has Isaiah prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, “This people honours Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. However, they worship Me in vain, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.’“
Interestingly, and as if to make this point doubly clear, there is no beatitude or blessing to the effect of “blessed are the intellectuals….” or “blessed are those full of knowledge…” The ways of man, are just not the ways of God!
It is not that there is anything wrong with education, or knowledge, or being intellectual, but when we put these before the state and condition of our heart, something which IS of interest to God, we begin to get our priorities wrong and lose one of the keys to hearing God. Why so? Because we begin to make gods of ourselves, of our knowledge and our intellects and the sin of pride tends to come rushing in to fill the gap which Jesus used to fill in our lives.
The Apostle Peter said of Paul’s letters that they were not all easy to understand, and if Peter had troubles, I think we can be forgiven if we too struggle in understanding some of the scriptures. But Peter said more than that as he comments:
“… as our beloved brother Paul also has written to you according to the wisdom given to him as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable pervert, as also they do the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction” (Second Peter 2:15-16).
Peter is saying here that it is not only the difficult parts of Pauls teachings which the uneducated and unstable have problems with – they also have problems with all the rest of bible teachings! In other words, it was not the difficulty of the teachings or the education level of the listeners which was the problem, per se.
Then we want to hear the Word of God in scripture, we need to approach God with the right heart; a heart for Him and Him alone.
This all comes together in one word which is links two scriptures in the Bible. As mentioned above about Jesus’ comments to the two disciples on the Road to Emmaus, we need to read and understand Luke 24:31-32
“And their eyes were opened, and they knew Him. And He became invisible to them. And they said to one another, Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us by the way and while He opened the Scriptures to us?”
The word opened is used again in Acts 16:14 where we read for the first time about the first female church leader mentioned in the New Testament:
“And a certain woman named Lydia heard us, a seller of purple of the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God; whose heart the Lord opened, so that she attended to the things which were spoken by Paul.”
The same word opened – in Greek: διανοίγω – dianoigō, is used to mean the opening of the eyes of the disciples as is used to mean opening of the heart of Lydia. We need the Lord to open our eyes and our hearts so that we can Hear God. There is no other way. I believe we cannot achieve it in or by our own intellect or knowledge.