“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27)
Recently, I went through an experience of being “blasted” by a fellow who is a Christian, but severely “balks” at the idea that God would, on regular basis, speak to his children through various methods that do not directly relate with reading the Bible. One mistake the person was making was that while God is always consistent with his written word (the Holy Scriptures, the Bible), he is not limited by them. That would, of course, be to put God in a “box” to limit him to “having” to speak to us through his word, and in no other way.
For example, a person may have a dream in the night or a vision. They are not reading the Bible. However, God is speaking well enough! Or, a person may attend a worship service in which a prophetic word is given by an individual. They are not reading the Bible. However, God is once again speaking! God may even speak in an audible voice (this has never happened to me), or by speaking directly into one’s spirit so that he bypasses the auditory senses, but it is nevertheless “as good” as speaking audibly. Then, of course, there is the “still small voice” that the Bible talks about (1 Kings 19:12). This appears to me to be the “regular thing” that God does … he is continually speaking to us through a “still small voice”, but it takes discernment — practice and learning, if you will — to be able to recognize it.
In fact, Jesus said, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” (John 6:44a) And again, “My sheep hear my voice” (John 10:27).
What’s that all about? It’s about the fact that God speaks to us. He is not “silent”. He is not a “dead” God! And he does not treat us, his children, as “dead” people. In fact, while rebuking the Sadducees on their own false beliefs one day, Jesus actually pointed this out to them, saying, “He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.” (Mark 12:27) What was the problem with these Sadducees? In fact, though they proclaimed to know the Scriptures, Jesus said they did not. The Sadducees approached the Scriptures from a very “theoretical and headstrong” standpoint. Their God was a “dead God” (or the “God of the dead” as Jesus puts it), not “the God of the living.” Their God spoke only through an intellectual study of the Scriptures. Their God was not a living God, who spoke directly to people and communicated with people as a father would his son.
Rather than allowing the Scriptures to guide them, and protect them from false beliefs and practices, they “encased” God in a belief that “all it took” was studying the Scriptures to know and understand God. Dead wrong! Therefore Jesus charged them, saying, “Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?” (Mark 12:24b) What a charge to make to people who thought they knew the Scriptures! What an offense! Jesus said they did NOT know them! They did NOT know them, because they did NOT trust in the One who wrote them! Notice also how Jesus differentiated between “the scriptures” and “the power of God” here. You may think that you “know” the Scriptures. You may have been to Bible school, attended many great sermons, and done all that stuff, but do you KNOW the power of God? If not, you do NOT know the Scriptures! It’s as plain as that!