“But he answered, ‘It is written, man shall not live on bread alone, but every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” Matthew 4:4, ESV
Surely we have all heard a statement such that God alone and what he says shall satisfy and give us life over anything of this world. In theory, this is logical and makes sense that reliance on God should, in any circumstance, outweigh reliance and hope in the world. However, the idea of the voice of God has always been an enigma to me. If you were to ask any Christian how the voice of God is manifested, there would be an enormously wide range of answers. I feel as if I am constantly searching a barren wasteland looking for the voice of God, and end up feeling utterly alone. So, what truly is the voice of God?
I have heard a plethora of sermons, songs, and discussions as to what the means of God speaking to his people currently are. Some would assert that God explicitly speaks to his followers through verbal communication. For example, a Christian may seem to audibly hear God whisper words of comfort to him or herself. Another way God is said to communicate his followers is through various signs as seen through Scripture. An example of this is is Zechariah being struck mute until the conception of John the Baptist, and at that point his regaining of speaking capabilities would be a sign of his wife’s pregnancy. This can be seen today by how often people ask “God, show me a sign I should go to this university,” etc. Many are seen beseeching God to plainly communicate not only through speech but also through sign. A third perspective, which I will contend is right, is that God’s predominant form of communication is implicitly and explicitly expressed through what is contained in the entirety of the Bible.
I have been raised in a church environment that clearly stresses the importance of God speaking to me as a means of intercommunication. I have had one experience that is similar to this, and it happened the first time I went to Haiti. It was a humbling and special experience, and is still sacred to me. After this trip, however, the instances of these happenings has been reduced to nearly zero. Is there something wrong with me? Am I not spiritual enough to gain access to the clear presence of God? These questions mightily ruled my mind and began to drive me away from God and the Bible into a state of worrisome confusion.
As I grew more and confused as it relates to the whereabouts of God, Beautiful Eulogy came out with their second studio album titled Instruments of Mercy. On this album, there was a song titled “Symbols and Signs,” and this tune piqued my interest. Upon listening to it, I was dumbfounded. The artists on this song pose a rather critical view of signs and symbols, and propose that Christians searching desperately for signs and audibly hearing God’s voice are missing the purpose of the Bible. As featured artist Propaganda says, “Dying to see a miracle while holding God’s diary looking for signs.” What a fascinating perspective to view the Bible as it is; a love letter, a diary, a guide to life, and all of it the explicit truth directly from God.
So, what are the ramifications of this? This means that everything in the Bible is true, and once we realize this, we can truly begin to appreciate all the passages in the Bible that speak to the human condition. This is seen in Lamentations 3:
“‘My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord.’ Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’”
Instead of asking God whether or not he remembers my state of affliction, I decide to look to what the Bible says about my state of sorrow. From this, I can conclude with biblical evidence that God indeed does remember me, and no matter how depleted my hope is, he can always be the one that I put my hope in. When we are driven into times of sadness, we often ask God questions directly, and await said questions to be also answered directly. However, God has shown to provide answers to all wisdom and emotion right in his Word. This is the good news of the Bible. That no matter what we feel like, the truth of this divine diary is unending. Along with this, the presence and love of God is also unrelenting, especially for those who believe in him. Our instinct is to turn and question God, but after this we must turn to the Bible because the Bible is the true source of his speaking to humanity. Man does not live on bread alone, but also the Word of God provided through the Bible.