The Speaking God
“In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.” —Hebrews 1:1–2
One of the most fundamental characteristics of the God who created all things and who has definitively made himself known in Jesus Christ is that he speaks.
Unlike the idols of the nations, which can neither hear nor speak, Israel’s God is the one who spoke to the patriarchs (Genesis 12:1; 26:2; 31:3), spoke from the mountain (Deuteronomy 4:12), and spoke through the prophets (Daniel 9:6; Hosea 12:10; Jeremiah 10:5). In fact, the overarching narrative of the Bible begins and ends with God speaking (Genesis 1:1 – 3; Revelation 21:5 – 8). God’s words are powerful and effective, the agency by which he accomplishes his purposes (Isaiah 55:10 – 11; cf. Hebrews 4:12).
Against this background, it is not at all surprising that Jesus is described as “the Word” (John 1:1 – 18; 1 John 1:1 – 4). As the eternal Son of God, he is the perfect expression of God’s character and purpose. The writer to the Hebrews sums up God’s involvement in human history in a way that highlights his use of words: “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son” (Hebrews 1:1 – 2).
It is highly significant that the words God speaks are addressed to men and women created in his image. God has no difficulty in communicating effectively with his creatures in a verbal way. The words he uses are human words. They can be understood by those to whom they are addressed. They are meant to be heard and heeded.
Even the multiplication of languages after the Babel incident poses no obstacle to God’s effective communication. Nevertheless, even in the Garden of Eden it proved possible for creatures to twist God’s words and resist their claim on our thoughts and wills. Indeed, a refusal to let the words God has spoken shape our response to him and every aspect of life in his world is the essence of human sin (Genesis 3; Hebrews 3:7 – 19).
Whereas every human word must be tested because we know that we can all miscommunicate or mislead or perhaps both at the same time, God’s word stands firm as the good gift of a generous heavenly Father who wants us to know him, what he has done and what he is yet to do. He wants us to learn from him how we should respond to him (Deuteronomy 12:29 – 32; John 4:19 – 26). His word stands judge over all human words. It bears God’s own authority. Only by seriously attending to these words will we become “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15).
What do you believe God is saying to you?
Excerpted from the NIV Proclamation Bible.