Matthew 12:39 | John 12:37 | Romans 1:20 | Proverbs 8:17
“Give me a sign, Lord!”
Have you ever asked God for a sign? “Lord, please…just show me what you want me to do!”
Consider this: if the Lord did show you in an obvious way what he wanted you to do, would you then do it? No matter what it was? (Even if you did not want to?)
Like Mia said, God does not always use huge signs to speak to his children. A lot of the time he speaks in a still, small voice–or more literally, a thin whisper.
It is easy for us to fall back on the fact that discerning God’s will is difficult. But the real question is: even if God raises his voice from that thin whisper he so often uses, do you trust him enough to obey?
Jesus was hounded more than once by Pharisees–the ‘cool kids’ of the Hebrew church of his day–demanding he show them a miraculous sign to prove he was the Chosen One (Messiah).
But Jesus replied, “Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign; but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah.(Matthew 12:39 NLT)
It may seem that Jesus responded this way for practical reasons. If he gave those guys a sign, others would want one too…and pretty soon he would be spending all his time playing the role of street magician instead of anointed savior.
But the more likely reason is that there was already enough evidence of Jesus being the Messiah. By the time he was ten years old, he had fulfilled enough Old Testament prophecies (born in Bethlehem, did a stint in Egypt, called a Nazarene, etc.) to give a sign of who he was. Add to that the public healings he had already done, and you can see why Jesus was sore with the Pharisees.
But despite all the miraculous signs Jesus had done, most of the people still did not believe in him.(John 12:37 NLT)
Instead of asking God for a miraculous sign, try looking for more subtle signs he may have already given you. Start in scripture; look at recent Bible readings, devotionals, or passages and see what speaks most loudly to you.
You could also go ‘back to nature’. A quiet walk in the woods or a long stare at the clouds or stars could show you what you need.
For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.(Romans 1:20 NLT)
Finally, ask yourself if what you are doing is truly seeking God’s will. If you are, remember who you are seeking. He loves you and wants you to find him.
I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.(Proverbs 8:17 ESV)
Look, listen, and feel for his Holy Spirit’s movement in your life. Trust him to give you all you need, and all the signs you need to follow him.
Questions for Group Discussion
- Read Matthew 4:7. What does this have to do with asking God for a miraculous sign? How can asking God for a miraculous sign be like putting him to the test?
- What does God’s “still, small voice” say about his nature? How does it fit in with other descriptions of him in scripture (Psalm 103:8, for example)?
- How can you be sure that the “still, small voice” you hear is God’s? What if it does not line up with scripture?
Challenge: Your Still Small Voice
Everyone wants to be heard. Clearly, we are born that way…just look at any infant. Crying turns to screaming, then to loud performances as they become toddlers. They will not be ignored.
As we mature, we (hopefully) learn to be heard without raising our voice. It takes awareness, outward focus, and self-control.
For this challenge, you will commit at least one day to the following:
- Speaking calmly and clearly. You don’t need to speak quietly…that can make it hard for people to hear you.
- Noting when people raise their voices. Write down details and observations when you see someone raise their voice–including yourself. Your aim is to learn why people get loud or otherwise imposing.
If at the end of the day you have not learned anything useful about why people yell at each other or speak harshly, devote another day to the exercise.
Here are some questions you may wish to answer as you observe the behavior of yourself and others:
- When a person raises their voice above the normal level of conversation, how do others respond?
- Does a loud, angry, or yelling person appear stronger or weaker than a calmer, quieter person?
- What are the effects of the raised voice on the interaction?
- How attractive is a person who is loud in regular social situations?
- Overall, which is more powerful–speaking calmly and clearly, or forcefully and loudly?