November 11, 2005

Worship: Hearing God's Voice?

I was keeping tabs on a rather large conversation on Christdot.org revolving around the question of “How Does a Relationship With God Work?” A portion of the discussion had to do with Worship, which I felt deemed a proper response.
Obviously God communicates to us through the Bible, However, perhaps you could elaborate on how God communicates to us through worship? When one worships, how do they hear "God's voice?"
My Response …

I can’t really respond to the whole idea of your post right now, but this particular question I think is very much misunderstood by many, many Christians. I’m not convinced that God does, should, or would ‘communicate’ to us through worship --- that basically nullifies the point of worship. Worship isn’t back and forth communication; it’s humbling ourselves to God and offering praise to him.

I very much understand how that concept seems weird to non-believers but if you do truly believe God is who the Bible says he is --- then it’s just the most logical, natural response. Just do a bible search for ‘fell + worshiped’ you’ll find it’s the common response to encountering God.

Now, why would we expect some sort of communication back, or the hearing of ‘God’s voice’? To my knowledge only a few people in the history of time have actually heard ---‘God’s Voice’ --- only a handful. One might also argue that in fact, God has spoken in the Bible and many of the answers --- or hints in the right direction lie there. I’d agree with that in many cases, but I don’t think the Bible is necessary in that respect. There were many throughout history that didn’t have a bible, but were first class Jews, and Christians. Many things are made clear in what theologians call “General Revelation” i.e. just the way things are in the world, and how we automatically respond to them --- our natural moral instincts.

The distinction here is that worship isn’t meant for our edification, as much as it is meant for God. It is true that we will grow the more we worship, but the growth isn’t from hearing God or communicating to him --- but rather this growth is do to our humbling of ourselves, and placing God above us. This may be a very hard thing to do, as well as a hard thing to accept for a non-believer, and that’s understandable. One might say it violates human nature, but of course the Bible would say it violates our sin nature --- meaning we want to be the head of our lives, to not put anyone above us, etc.

Simply put worship isn’t an avenue for communication to and from God, it’s one way, and also it’s in our actions. Worship isn’t just singing --- it’s reading, writing, painting, even thinking.

Prayer is another way for us to communicate to God, but again Prayer should be more rightly considered us relying on God, admitting our inadequacies and asking for help. Jesus further clarified this as a way to eradicate our worries, to worry about nothing and pray about everything. But again, there is no need for God to respond in ‘voice’ but rather, in this case mostly in action. We might not always get what we prayed for (but often that’s good thing!) I can say I’ve felt the ‘prompting’ of God before, and in that sense heard his voice, but actual communication in the way verbal or auditory? Nope.

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