The Scriptures show that when God wants to get a message across to people, He usually prepares people for it. God speaks today to His people by the Holy Spirit.
John 16:13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
The things the LORD will tell us right now are usually spoken to prepare us for what is coming. God of course understands what trained teachers have learned – that repetition is the mother of knowledge. I’ve heard it put this way: first tell people what you are going to tell them, then tell it to them, and then tell them what you told them. We do see God repeating the message to people many times throughout the Bible. He did it with Gideon, through Jeremiah, through Jesus and in many other recorded cases. He still operates that way today.
God knows that change in our human thinking often occurs progressively and not all at once. He knows that we are often not READY to receive everything He wants to tell us.
Mar 4:33 And with many such parables He spoke the word to them as they were able to hear it.
Jesus said to His disciples at the end of 3 and a half years of ministry with them:
John 16:12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.
There are many things God wants you to know but you are not ready to hear them yet. The same applies to me.
That is not to say that God is not speaking now. But it is very important that we learn to hear, receive, treasure and if necessary act on what God is speaking now so we will be ready to hear and receive the important messages to come.
Luke 8:18 Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.”
If we do receive God’s words with the right attitude of heart, we get even more good words from God, but if we do not receive His Words, then we will lose them, and the good Word will be taken away from our hearts (by Satan).
God wants us to TREASURE His Words.
Proverbs 7:1 My son, keep my words, And treasure my commands within you. See also Psalm 119
Job was a man God appreciated and Job said: “ I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food”. (Job 23:12)
God’s words to us are a great treasure. They are life. They are wisdom. They are instructions for the best possible outcome. Obeying them will lead to eternal prosperity and success.
I notice in Acts 10 how God spoke to Peter, not once, or twice, but really three times. In this passage a very important thing happened. For the first time, God specifically sent his apostle to talk with non Jews (Gentiles) about the things of God. For the first time, it became clear that Romans and other Gentiles formerly considered unclean by the believers could be part of God’s family. That was a radical thought for the disciples. And in order to help Peter make the transition, God spoke several times.
The first time God spoke to Peter through a vision / trance. It was a pictorial analogy of what God was about to tell Peter. Peter saw unclean animals let down in a net and God commanding Him to kill and eat them. God then spoke to tell Peter not to call “unclean” what God had made clean.
The second time, we see how the Holy Spirit spoke to Peter.
While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are seeking you.
Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.”
Peter might have doubted that this word was really from the Holy Spirit, had he not first had the vision of the unclean animals. You see how God speaks to prepare His servants to receive the next instruction willingly.
The third way God spoke to Peter I believe was through the circumstances and the words of the servants of Cornelius.
And they said, “Cornelius the centurion, a just man, one who fears God and has a good reputation among all the nation of the Jews, was divinely instructed by a holy angel to summon you to his house, and to hear words from you.”
Its not every day that a Roman centurion of good reputation claims to have heard from an angel. We see then God confirming His important instruction through the circumstances.
We see then that if we are really listening, God will speak in multiple ways to confirm important changes of direction in our lives and ministry. We don’t need to rush off on just any impulse, because God has made plans to communicate with us in such ways as we can be sure about what it is that He really wants. When evil spirits speak, however, they usually goad and urge hasty action with the threat of condemnation if their suggestions are not followed. We need to learn that this is not how the Spirit of God leads or teaches.
We see then that it is vital to be attentive to God’s voice. Begin by being attentive to the instructions of God written in the Bible for us, especially the New Testament. Every step of obedience and responsiveness increases our “hearing capacity” and prepares us for greater blessing and usefulness in God’s Kingdom.