The Lord Speaks But Man Does Not Comprehend
In the Book of Job, God tells us that He is speaking and doing so in more than one way, but we have the tendency not to hear what He is saying.
14 Indeed, God speaks in one way, even in two, yet man does not perceive it.Job 33:14 (LEB)
I believe I was paying closer attention during a particular period of time (early Spring 2014), so I noticed what God was saying to the members of the church I was attending at that time. I did not know the scope of application for God’s speaking and whether it was just our church or beyond it. I ended up believing that it was beyond the scope of our church and it fit the pattern of God’s speaking to me for at least the United States of America. In this case, there were multiple witnesses sharing about two key themes.
- Warning of coming judgment
- Warning to pay attention (be listening) and be prepared (practically and spiritually)
All of the following events take place at a relatively small church and I believe God presented what He wanted to say through multiple witnesses who were all guest speakers and a few other congregants. The pastor at the church did not speak any of the following messages, nor did he act as one of the witnesses.
One of the guest speakers was me. I attended this church regularly for 7 years. The other two guest speakers were not from the church. They came from two separate locations and they did not know what the other speakers were going to share. The correlation of the content of these messages was orchestrated by the Holy Spirit (I do not believe in coincidence for this type of situation).
In this church, it was relatively common for members of the congregation to briefly share a scripture, a testimonial experience or something else that was for the edification of everyone there. It was permissible and acceptable for a member to introduce something between worship songs, before or after the message. This was done in an orderly and beneficial fashion. We heard many things from the Lord in this way through the members of the body of Christ in this church.
This happened several times during the course of the events described in this post. It is my witness that this was evidence of the presence, leadership and direction of the Holy Spirit in our midst. Most christians have never experienced this type of church environment, but it is biblically valid according to Paul’s writings in 1 Corinthians 14:26-33. This passage from 1 Corinthians affirms that it is valid for the Holy Spirit to speak in the midst of God’s people in a congregational setting and that church services do not have to be like what most people experience on Sunday mornings when they go and listen to one or a few people (pastor, worship leader, etc) speak. The Lord’s speaking can come through all members and the church has to know how to listen and process (the Bible calls it “testing”) what comes forth to ensure it is from the Lord through the Holy Spirit.
Weekend 1 (Feb 16, 2014) – Message about Fall of Northern Kingdom of Israel Paralleled to Today
The following content on this site was repackaged from a message and presentation that was presented to a few different churches in the Washington, D.C. area and Central Virginia. This post refers to one occurrence of sharing this message on February 16th, 2014 about the Fall of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. This is a more complex message with quite a bit of substance. I was able to narrow it down to a 45-60 minute spoken message with a visual presentation. The reader may have already seen the following posts if you are reading through the Testimonial Timeline of the Witness of a Layman.
- Introduction – Fall of Northern Kingdom
- Primer – God’s Communication “Tools”
- Context – Fall of the Northern Kingdom
- God’s Speaking to the Northern Kingdom
- The Assyrians – God’s Instrument of Judgment on the Northern Kingdom
- Conclusion: Parallels to the Present Time
If you are not interested in reading through all of the posts listed just above then here is a very high level synopsis. The history of the Northern Kingdom of Israel leading up to its complete destruction are instructive for us to review in our time and to see various parallels from their history to ours. In the same way that God spoke in the Old Testament to the Northern Kingdom and they did not turn from their errant ways, in a broad sense the same is true now. Their failure to listen to God and turn from their error led to their full demise. Yes, there are many differences too, but I am not trying to prove what I am saying. I am sharing (to the best of my ability) what I believe God has been showing me and making it available for the reader to review and assess for yourself. I only ask that you do one additional thing beyond your own assessment. Ask God to reveal any truth from what I am sharing to you and give God permission to work in your life so that you can understand the truth from God’s point of view. I encourage you not to only use your own mental faculties and current assumptions about the present time, but invite God into your process of assessment and give God permission to help change your mind if that is needed.
At the conclusion of sharing this message in February 2014, one of the congregants shared two verses in response to the message. Before sharing this congregant prefaced the verses by telling everyone that they had woken up early that morning and the Holy Spirit brought these two verses to their mind. This was not uncommon for this congregant. On various occasions this congregant would share verses the Holy Spirit had brought to this person’s mind. This congregant was highly respected and received by other congregants as having a strong ability to hear God through the Holy Spirit.
Lastly, this congregant indicated that they had been praying over these verses throughout the morning and during the service. This congregant did not know why God had brought these verses to their attention and they had been asking God to understand the purpose of His speaking that morning. This congregant then shared that while I shared the message about the Fall of the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the parallels to our present time they understood that the verses were connected to my message and the congregant should share them when I finished. Here are the verses. The exact portion of verses shared by this congregant are in bold, but additional surrounding text is added for context for the reader.
12 “Behold, I am coming quickly, and my reward is with me, to repay each one according to what his deeds are!Revelation 22:12 (LEB)
34 “But take care for yourselves, lest your hearts are weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of daily life, and that day come upon you suddenly 35 like a trap. For it will come upon all who reside on the face of the whole earth. 36 But be alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to happen, and to stand before the Son of Man.”Luke 21:34–36 (LEB)
I was leaving the stage and returning to my seat when these verses were shared. I was strongly impressed by these verses. They were not in any portion of my message, but they connected strongly to what I had shared. My message is a more intricate presentation of history to help paint a picture that a listener could use to make a mapping in their minds between Israel’s historical situation and our present, modern day situation.
I believe the verses shared by this congregant were a direct speaking and admonition from the Lord.
Weekend 2 (Feb 23, 2014) – Guest Speaker (Kent Henry) – Awake, Aware, Alive
Note: I am near 100% sure that Kent Henry visited our church one weekend after my message on the Fall of the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the verses shown above that were shared by a congregant. However, it is possible that it was two weekends later.
Kent Henry is primarily a worship leader. Upon request and invitation, he travels to various churches and hosts worship and preaches. He visited our church and led both praise & worship along with a message.
In the same way that many christian speakers do, Kent used words starting the same letter (in this case, the letter “A”) to convey his message in a memorable fashion. I did not write down the four words when he shared the message, but I was struck by their substance and the substance of Kent’s message. It was a very strong thematic match with the verses that had been shared by the congregant the week before. Here are the “A” words I remember.
- Cannot remember the third “A” word???
It wasn’t just the words that matched, but the substance of the message by Kent Henry matched. The match was so strong you would think he had been at our church the previous weekend and heard my message and the verses (Luke 21:36, Revelation 22:12) shared by one of our congregants, but he wasn’t. God sent him with this same message.
34 AWAKEN – “But take care for yourselves, lest your hearts are weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of daily life, and that day come upon you suddenly 35 like a trap. For it will come upon all who reside on the face of the whole earth. AWARE/ALERT/ALIVE – 36 But be alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to happen, and to stand before the Son of Man.”Luke 21:34-36
The only addition to what was shared the week before is that Kent helped to elaborate upon that these “A” topics were BOTH practical and spiritual in nature.
In summary, on two successive weekends God spoke and had the speaking “witnessed” independently by more than one witness in a manner that stood out very clearly to me. I shared a message that I believe God gave to me, but my message was really just background for God to say to those with us that He is coming soon and that we need to wake up, be aware/alert and spiritually alive in our christian walk in this day and age.
What happens next left me astounded at how patient and persistent God is to try to help us to hear Him.
Weekend 3 (Mar 9, 2014) – Another Guest Speaker – Hearing the Speaking of the Lord
This third weekend was two weeks after Weekend 1 & 2. We had another guest speaker come to our church and speak. This speaker was a leader in another sibling church in another state. I will not mention him by name because he does not put himself forward as a public figure on a website like Kent Henry (the speaker during Weekend 2). This speaker was not present for either of the previous messages and (to my knowledge) no one shared anything from the previous two weekends with him.
The subject of this speaker’s message was “Hearing the Voice of the Lord”. This speaker along with most of this congregation believe that God did not stop speaking with the Bible, but that the Holy Spirit continues to speak to believers in the present time. However, this speaker knew that there are many christians who struggle with this idea and/or have little experience in hearing the voice of the Lord in their lives.
Separately, during the week leading up to this service, a verse came to my mind a few times. This is one of the ways that I have experienced the “voice of the Lord”. While I know that verses can come to my mind without it being God, I have also experienced that some verses come to my mind are put there by God. In this case, I believe it was the “voice of the Lord” in the form of a verse being brought to my mind.
14 Indeed, God speaks in one way, even in two, yet man does not perceive it.Job 33:14 (LEB)
At the beginning of the service, before the speaker shared his message I opened my Bible to this verse and I was considering sharing it with everyone. However, I did not share it. I sat through his message with my hand on the page in the Bible that contained the verse. Near the end of his message, this speaker shared the exact verse (Job 33:14) which I had come to my mind during the week and again at the beginning of the service.
This time I believe I was a witness of what God was speaking to those present. The Lord had brought this verse to my mind during the week and had put it on my heart at the beginning of the service. As the speaker was leaving the stage, I stood up and recounted my experience with how the Lord had been bringing Job 33:14 to my attention during the week and that I had come close to sharing it before the speaker’s message. I also added the statement twice, “We are not hearing the Lord”. I was prompted to say this in light of the previous two weekends described in this post and yet there wasn’t much of a response from us as a group. I wasn’t expecting a particular response, I just was giving witness that we weren’t hearing properly.
After I shared briefly, the speaker returned to the stage and gave this addendum to his message
<< Paraphrased notes from the speaker’s addendum: He described his past experience from christian meeting situations where many congregants would shared various inputs that might be “speaking from the Lord”, but the inputs were “all over the map”. He was irritated by the various inputs coming from various directions that were “all over the map”. As he prayed about this over a period of time, the Lord brought the verse to him about things being established at the mouth of two or three witnesses. >>
Let everything be confirmed by the mouth of two or three witnesses. There are times in small groups or one another ministry where we don’t need this type of confirmation from multiple witnesses. … But especially when you are making decisions as a congregation and important decisions about your life direction about what the Lord is calling you to. If you begin to filter out the things that aren’t confirmed. If you begin to pay attention to the things that come to you by the voice of two or three witnesses, you will find an arrow. You will find a compass.— Guest Speaker
It seems that God was speaking a clear message to our church. I believe that the application of what God was speaking goes beyond the audience of just our church. God spoke through two valid and independent witnesses separated by a week in time that God’s people need to awaken (not weighed down by the things of this life) and be aware and alert of what is happening as we fast approach the End Times (i.e. the Apocalypse).
God knew we didn’t have the best hearing, so He added two more witnesses to tell us that even though He is speaking we are not comprehending and absorbing what He is saying to us.
I do not share this post in a condemning fashion. God will continue to speak over and over again until the time comes that there is no more time and He must proceed with His plan for the End Times. For those who do not wake up and pay attention there will be tremendous suffering and difficulty. Even for those who do listen this period of time will be very hard, but if we are awake and paying attention then He will help guide us and give us the amount of refuge that matches our situation. God wants each one of us to come to full maturity, so we all may have some suffering ahead before He returns as an opportunity to finish maturing before coming to the Judgment Seat of Christ.