Since I believe in examining the idea of hearing the voice of God, that I have looked at the verses, though if anyone has a new one and lets me know about it I’ll be glad to give my thoughts, I believe now it is time to go to stories. If there is one figure used as an example, it’s Abraham.
We all know about Abraham. He’s the one who was the friend of God. He is the father of the faithful. He is the centerpiece argument of Paul in defending justification by faith in Romans. He is the one whom the Jews claimed lineage from. Abraham is Exhibit A. Abraham is where the action is.
Now it cannot be denied that there were times in Abraham’s life when he did hear the voice of God. Note though that that doesn’t go against my view. My view is not that God can’t speak to us today. My view is that this is not to be seen as normative. In fact, I will argue that it wasn’t normative in the life of Abraham.
When we first meet Abraham, he is called out of his land and told to go to a strange land where he knows no one and leave all behind and he will be made into a great nation. Abraham does so, though he doesn’t leave all of his family behind. He takes his nephew Lot with him.
For one who is hearing the voice of God all the time, Abraham makes a lot of mistakes. Notice that he lies about his relationship with his wife, twice! Notice that when Abraham is given the promise of a child, he decides that he’s going to bring it about himself and sleeps with the servant Hagar.
At this point, you’d think if he was constantly hearing the voice of God, he would have been told, “Don’t do this Abraham! This is not the way!”Instead, Abraham makes the mistake and it’s one that costs him. If many biblical scholars are right, there is a 13 year gap in what happens. In other words, we have 13 years where God does not speak to Abraham.
Now some might argue for the silence of God. That is the problem though. The silence is the norm! It is the acting in a unique way that is the exception! Now I do believe in miracles and I do believe God can speak, but it is my belief that God likes to work through natural causes.
Why? Because God created a great working system in creation. He created it to handle things as they are and to constantly intervene would be to indicate that the creation isn’t really that good. The creation needs the constant maintenance of the designer. Now this is not going against providence. I do believe the creation exists because he exists. I don’t believe though that God has to do constant miracles to sustain it.
What’s my conclusion then? Abraham is a great man of faith, but I do not see him as valid for this position. Now if you want to argue against me, that’s fine. Again though, I want to be shown where my interpretation or exegesis is in error. An experience will not suffice to convince me.