1. CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD
a. Does God want to communicate with humans? Acts 17:27; Isaiah 65:1.
“What can the angels of heaven think of poor helpless human beings, who are subject to temptation, when God’s heart of infinite love yearns toward them, ready to give them more than they can ask or think, and yet they pray so little and have so little faith? The angels love to bow before God; they love to be near Him. They regard communion with God as their highest joy; and yet the children of earth, who need so much the help that God only can give, seem satisfied to walk without the light of His Spirit, the companionship of His presence.”—Steps to Christ, p. 94.
b. With how many of us does God want to communicate personally? Hebrews 8:11; Psalm 4:3 (last part).
“The Saviour regards with infinite tenderness the souls whom He has purchased with His own blood. They are the claim of His love. He looks upon them with unutterable longing.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 517.
2. GOD WANTS TO SPEAK TO CONSECRATED PEOPLE
a. How did God talk with Moses? Exodus 33:11 (first part). What kind of person was Moses when God talked face-to-face with him? Numbers 12:3; Hebrews 3:1, 2.
“‘Come up to Me into the mount,’ God bids us. To Moses, before he could be God’s instrument in delivering Israel, was appointed the forty years of communion with Him in the mountain solitudes. Before bearing God’s message to Pharaoh, he spoke with the angel in the burning bush. . . .
“We, too, must have times set apart for meditation and prayer and for receiving spiritual refreshing. We do not value the power and efficacy of prayer as we should. Prayer and faith will do what no power on earth can accomplish.”—The Ministry of Healing, pp. 508, 509.
b. What kind of person was Samuel when God first talked with him? 1 Samuel 3:1 (first part). Why didn’t Samuel recognize God when He first called him? Verses 4, 5, 7.
“[Samuel] was kind, generous, obedient, and respectful. . . . [He] was helpful and affectionate.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 573.
c. What kind of person was Cornelius when God spoke to him in vision? Was he a church member at that time? Acts 10:1, 2. How did Cornelius respond to God’s message? Verses 7, 8.
“Cornelius was a Roman centurion. He was a man of wealth and noble birth, and his position was one of trust and honor. A heathen by birth, training, and education, through contact with the Jews he had gained a knowledge of God, and he worshiped Him with a true heart, showing the sincerity of his faith by compassion to the poor. He was known far and near for his beneficence, and his righteous life made him of good repute among both Jews and Gentiles. His influence was a blessing to all with whom he came in contact.”—The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 132, 133.
3. GOD SPEAKS TO UNCONSECRATED PEOPLE
a. What kind of person was Cain when God talked with him? Genesis 4:3–5, 8.
“Notwithstanding Cain’s disregard of the divine command, God did not leave him to himself; but He condescended to reason with the man who had shown himself so unreasonable. And the Lord said unto Cain, ‘Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?’ Through an angel messenger the divine warning was conveyed: ‘If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door’ (Genesis 4:6, 7). The choice lay with Cain himself. If he would trust to the merits of the promised Saviour, and would obey God’s requirements, he would enjoy His favor. But should he persist in unbelief and transgression, he would have no ground for complaint because he was rejected by the Lord.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 74.
b. What kind of woman was Hagar at the time that God talked to her? Genesis 16:1–9.
c. What kind of person was the unnamed woman whom the Scribes and Pharisees brought to Christ? John 8:3, 4. What was she like after her conversation with Him? Verses 10, 11.
“The woman had stood before Jesus, cowering with fear. His words, ‘He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone,’ had come to her as a death sentence. She dared not lift her eyes to the Saviour’s face but silently awaited her doom. In astonishment she saw her accusers depart speechless and confounded; then those words of hope fell upon her ear, ‘Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more’ (verse 11). Her heart was melted, and she cast herself at the feet of Jesus, sobbing out her grateful love, and with bitter tears confessing her sins.
“This was to her the beginning of a new life, a life of purity and peace, devoted to the service of God. . . . This penitent woman became one of His most steadfast followers. With self-sacrificing love and devotion she repaid His forgiving mercy.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 462.
4. WHEN GOD REFUSES TO SPEAK
a. Why wouldn’t Jesus talk to Caiaphas during part of His trial? Matthew 26:62, 63; Isaiah 53:7.
“Caiaphas was a proud and cruel man, overbearing and intolerant.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 539.
“Caiaphas had regarded Jesus as his rival. The eagerness of the people to hear the Saviour, and their apparent readiness to accept His teachings, had aroused the bitter jealousy of the high priest. But as Caiaphas now looked upon the prisoner, he was struck with admiration for His noble and dignified bearing. A conviction came over him that this Man was akin to God. The next instant he scornfully banished the thought. Immediately his voice was heard in sneering, haughty tones demanding that Jesus work one of His mighty miracles before them. But his words fell upon the Saviour’s ears as though He heard them not.”—Ibid., pp.704, 705.
“The Lord reads the hearts of all and understands their motives and purposes.”—Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 534.
b. Would God talk to King Saul near the end of his life? 1 Samuel 28:5, 6. Why did God treat him this way? 1 Samuel 15:22, 23.
“The Lord never turned away a soul that came to Him in sincerity and humility. Why did He turn Saul away unanswered? The king had by his own act forfeited the benefits of all the methods of inquiring of God. He had rejected the counsel of Samuel the prophet; he had exiled David, the chosen of God; he had slain the priests of the Lord. Could he expect to be answered by God when he had cut off the channels of communication that Heaven had ordained? He had sinned away the Spirit of grace, and could he be answered by dreams and revelations from the Lord? Saul did not turn to God with humility and repentance. It was not pardon for sin and reconciliation with God, that he sought, but deliverance from his foes. By his own stubbornness and rebellion he had cut himself off from God. There could be no return but by the way of penitence and contrition; but the proud monarch, in his anguish and despair, determined to seek help from another source.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 676.
5. GOD WANTS OUR ATTENTION
a. How has God tried to get the attention of various people in the past?
· Moses: Exodus 3:2, 3.
· Elijah: 1 Kings 19:9–13.
· Balaam: Numbers 22:27, 28.
b. Under what conditions will God speak to us today? Psalm 46:10.
“All who are under the training of God need the quiet hour for communion with their own hearts, with nature, and with God. In them is to be revealed a life that is not in harmony with the world, its customs, or its practices; and they need to have a personal experience in obtaining a knowledge of the will of God. We must individually hear Him speaking to the heart. When every other voice is hushed, and in quietness we wait before Him, the silence of the soul makes more distinct the voice of God. He bids us, ‘Be still, and know that I am God’ (Psalm 46:10). This is the effectual preparation for all labor for God. Amidst the hurrying throng, and the strain of life’s intense activities, he who is thus refreshed will be surrounded with an atmosphere of light and peace. He will receive a new endowment of both physical and mental strength. His life will breathe out a fragrance, and will reveal a divine power that will reach men’s hearts.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 58.
“He who is made complete in Christ must first be emptied of pride, of self-sufficiency. Then there is silence in the soul, and God’s voice can be heard.”—The Signs of the Times, April 9, 1902.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How do we know that God wants to talk with each of us personally?
2. How do we know that God talks to people who are devoted to Him?
3. How do we know if God talks to those who are not walking with Him?
4. To whom does God refuse to speak, and why?
5. How is God trying to get our attention today?