We’ve all said it, either out loud or in our heads: “If God would just tell me what to do, I would do it!”
We want to follow God’s will, and when we’re facing a big decision, it does seem that an audible command from God—or even an emphatic hint of some sort—would be extremely helpful, not to mention efficient.
When the way forward seems opaque, we begin to ask why the heavens can’t just part and impart a little direction. After all, God did that for people in the Bible. Couldn’t he do it for us? But I wonder if we aren’t missing a bit of obvious direction that is right beneath our noses.
It’s true that the Bible contains multiple accounts of people who hear the audible voice of God telling them what to do. They receive exactly what we say we want: clear direction from the mouth of God. But rather than rush to obey, alarmingly, they often hesitate or ignore the direction outright.
Moses hesitates when God speaks to him from the burning bush, telling him explicitly to rescue Israel from slavery. Israel ignores the thundering commands of God at Sinai, despite their initial affirmation to “do all that the Lord has said.” Gideon hesitates when God speaks to him on a threshing floor, asking for a series of signs as confirmation. And perhaps most famously of all, Adam and Eve receive an audible command regarding a certain fruit, which they patently ignore.
In light of the evidence, it seems doubtful that the audible voice of God would inspire belief or ensure obedience with us any more than it did with our predecessors.
Yet we persist in looking for some way to be certain of what God wants us to do. We “lay out a fleece” of some sort, thinking, ...1
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