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(Acts 16:6-10)And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

In 1 Samuel 14 Jonathan and his armor bearer discuss their game plan as they approach the Philistine front. One of the things they do is lay out a test for the Lord. They decide to climb the cliff and attack if they are called up by the Philistines saying, “the Lord has given them into our hands.” This isn’t the only place in Scripture where someone tests the Lord in order to determine His leading. The interesting part is God answers many people through this kind of test. Today’s devotional isn’t an attempt to prove or disprove the appropriateness of testing God like this. Instead I want to learn from another common thread that seems to be present when God speaks, regardless of the method he uses.

The ways that God communicates in Scripture are many and varied. In the Acts passage above, God uses a dream. Elsewhere in Scripture, God uses tests, prophets, the equivalent of dice, and more. The common element in the majority of God’s specific communication to His people is the willingness of the listener. A posture of obedience is a recipe for hearing. God loves to make his plan clear to those who genuinely want to step into that plan. In the Acts passage above, we don’t know how the “Spirit of Jesus did not allow them” to go into a those cities. What we do know is Paul and his team are actively trying to step into the obedient life of Jesus followers. They are on the go. They are obeying the commission of Jesus to go make disciples in all the world when they hear a course correction from God. They didn’t stay in one place asking God to reveal which city to go to, Jesus had already told them to go everywhere in Matthew 28 so they went. Their obedience to what they did know gave them ears to hear the more specific leading of God.

This daily would be far too long if I attempted to unpack all the examples of how and why God spoke to people in the Bible. The bottom line is, God is a speaking God. It’s one of the most knowable things about him since almost every story in Scripture involves God communicating in some way. We know He speaks increasingly clearly to those who intend to obey what they hear. Finally we know He often speaks more clearly to those already on the road of obedience, to people who go until they get a no rather than those who wait until they get a kick in the pants. Think of a situation where you need God’s guidance. Spend some time praying and asking God for his leading in that area. Start with a prayer like this, “God, what you say, I intend to obey.” Give the Lord opportunity through your silence to speak into year heart about the situation.[/vc_column_text][us_separator height=”25px” size=”custom”][vc_column_text]

By Aaron Bjorklund 

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