by Femi Aribisala
God allows those who want to hear from him to be deceived in order to see if we will give up on him. He wants to know how determined we are. Don’t give up
As I was driving on a bridge in Lagos, I asked God a question. When I looked up, I saw the answer boldly written on a billboard. I was so flabbergasted; I started debating with myself if what I saw was a vision. Therefore, I went back. When I got to the same spot, I saw the bill-board again. It had always been there, with its words as dead letters. But God gave life to those dead letters and used them to answer my question. Nevertheless, the same words remained as dead letters to others. That is the power of God.
So let me give you the first challenge. Ask God a question. Then spend the rest of the day waiting expectantly for him to answer you. Habakkuk says: “I will climb my watchtower now and wait to see what answer God will give.” (Habakkuk 2:1). Once we ask God a question, we must take nothing for granted. We must be expectant; always on the look-out for God. I have never asked God a question that he did not answer.
Why was it that the exact time I asked my question was the exact time I drove near that billboard, enabling God to answer my question with it? Am I the one who asked the question or did God make me ask the question so he could answer it like that?
Let me tell you what I have discovered from my walk with God, knowing of course that there is nothing definitive about my position. I am only a God-seeker, just like you. I am the one who asked the question. The question had been lodged in my heart for some time. But God determined the time I asked it so as to answer the way he did. Solomon says: “The preparations of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.” (Proverbs 16:1).
Remember this also: “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” (Psalm 24:1). Therefore, God can use anything to talk to us. He once spoke to Nebuchadnezzar by writing on a wall. He can also use the voice of anybody to talk to us. He even used an ass to talk to Balaam. He once talked to me through my own lips. When he does, you will know it is him. Jesus says: “My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27). “They will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” (John 10:5).
Have you ever had a dream of being somewhere you had never been before and yet you knew where you were? So it is when God speaks. The very knowledge that the person speaking to us is God comes from God himself, although the devil will do everything possible to steal that knowledge with doubts. Don’t worry; Jesus promises that we shall all be taught by God himself.” (John 6:45).
The risk factor
The eagle carefully builds a nest where it keeps its baby eaglets. It brings them food and nurtures them. But then suddenly, it tears up the nest, carries the eaglets on its wings, flies high into the sky and drops them. What if they fall down and die? The eagle itself is their defence. As the eaglets scramble and flounder, trying to use their wings, the eagle swops under them, spreads its wings and catches them. It does this repeatedly,
until the eaglets learn to use their wings and fly.
So it is with us. It does not matter if we flounder and make mistakes. God himself is our defence; he will uphold us with his right hand of righteousness. Indeed, there are initial risks in wanting to hear from God. However, they are risks we must be prepared to take. Let me say this categorically. The man or woman who wants to hear from God is bound to be deceived at first. The devil will enter into the detail. Don’t worry about this. Greater is the Holy Spirit that is with us than the demons in the world. (1 John 4:4).
God allows those who want to hear from him to be deceived in order to see if we will give up on him. He wants to know how determined we are. Don’t give up because you made a mistake or were embarrassed. Just wait and see how God, who sees your heart and knows your motives, will turn the mistake or embarrassment around. In fact, we need to make mistakes early in order to learn from them. God uses the devil to bring us into a better appreciation of God.
Rebecca Brown walks with God. But one day, she was deceived. It was such a major deception that she cried out to God that such a thing should never happen to her again. But the Lord warned her that if she did not want it to happen again, then she cannot be his child. The only guarantee God would give Rebecca is that if it ever happened again, she can always rely on him to deliver her. “Are the consolations of God too small for you?” (Job 15:11).
There is nothing glamorous about hearing from God. It is not going to make us into superstars. Those who want to be superstars don’t hear from God: they only hear from men. Those who want to hear from God hear what they don’t want to hear.
Since we want to hear from God, we should not expect him to tell us who is going to be the next president of Nigeria, so we can proclaim it on the pages of Vanguard and be acclaimed as prophets. We should not expect him to tell us which shares to invest in so we can become billionaires. We should expect him to reveal our sins to us. We should expect him to lead us to himself along the path of righteousness. God’s word is not for self-aggrandisement. It is a lamp to our feet and a guide to our path. (Psalm 119:105).
The bible is the most important book ever written and compiled by men. It is written mostly by the inspiration of God and it tells us what God said to some men of old. The bible is one of the key means by which God speaks to us today. He does this by giving life to its dead letters, even as he gave life to the dead words on the billboard to me.
As you read the bible, God occasionally lifts up a scripture that hits you in the face. That scripture becomes God’s word for you. It will convey a specific message addressed precisely from God to you. Therefore, if you want God to speak to you, make a point of reading your bible regularly.
But don’t just open the bible and say whatever you see there and then is God’s word to you. God’s word must originate from God himself. You cannot be the determinant. Leave everything to God. (Continued).
Read this article on Femi Aribisala’s blog
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.