From the beginning in Genesis 1, God set the precedent for His desire to communicate:
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
And it continues right through the whole of Scripture, capped off with our Lord Jesus saying in the final verses of Revelation – Yes, I am coming soon. (Hmmm. Soon. Ok, this article is not about eschatology….)
Really and truly, the pattern is set that our God is a communicative God via speaking, via His great acts, through providential guiding, through His people, through the written word of Scripture, and so on.
And we know the great voice of God ultimately came through The Word, Jesus.
The Word sets the example – only doing that which the Father is doing (John 5:19) and only speaking that which the Father is speaking (John 8:28).
He is not so bothered with setting up excellent programmes and super-duper campaigns and blow-your-mind slogans. He hears the voice of the Father, he sees the acts of the Father, and that is what compels him into action.
And it is this voice, the voice of the Father that I desire, for we do not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Father. I suppose starvation from the words of the Father would make us worse off than starvation from bread. The psalmist said, ‘Your love is better than life’ (Ps 63:3), and I gather the same is true of the Father’s voice.
It is powerful, gentle, strengthening, true, tender, gracious, kind, loving, caring, faithful, and so much more. It cuts through confusion and fear and bitterness and exhaustion and a whole host of other things that hold us down.
I love this poetic expression of the voice of the Lord found in Psalm 29:
3 The voice of the LORD is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the LORD thunders over the mighty waters.
4 The voice of the LORD is powerful;
the voice of the LORD is majestic.
5 The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars;
the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes Lebanon leap like a calf,
Sirion like a young wild ox.
7 The voice of the LORD strikes
with flashes of lightning.
8 The voice of the LORD shakes the desert;
the LORD shakes the Desert of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the LORD twists the oaks
and strips the forests bare.
And in his temple all cry, “Glory!”
Pretty powerful stuff – breaking strong cedars, making a nation leap like a calf, shaking deserts, twisting oaks (or some versions translate that last one as ‘makes the deer give birth’).
The voice of the Father is no patty-cake, patty-cake game. It is powerful, even in its whisper.
And so I’ve recently been re-drawn in to that reality that we cannot simply live on bread – as individuals, as churches. We must live on the words, every word, that proceeds from the mouth of God.
He meant it that way long ago. He means it that way today. He will also mean it for the age to come.