Last night, as we concluded our time of prayer and sharing of concerns, I was led to read from Isaiah 43. By led, I mean I knew there was a scripture I was supposed to read and opened my Bible to Isaiah 43. Before I could look any further, the leader of our prayer time called on me to read, so I did.
“But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior’…” (Isaiah 43: 1 – 3a)
As I read through the first 13 verses, I thought to myself, this really is a word from the Lord. How could I tell? How do we determine if the ‘word’ which impresses us is from the Lord?
- When God speaks, God’s unique authority is affirmed. There is no one else like God. This is why we affirm Jesus is Lord. No one can do the things He does: heal, forgive sins, have authority over nature, rise from the dead unless He shares in the unique authority of the Almighty. Jesus is the only-begotten. If you want a good translation or paraphrase for that term think – ‘the only way this can happen’. Thus, the only begotten of the Father becomes the only way the Father is manifest among us. This is why, if God is speaking, the resurrection of Jesus and the authority of Jesus as Lord is confessed.
- When God speaks we are authorized for action. We will have the witness of the Holy Scripture and the witness and power of the indwelling Holy Spirit to overcome our doubts and fears. We will be prompted to see, touch, speak, and share in some concrete way. It may not make complete sense to us but we will hear enough to take a step. Obey in that one step and more will be revealed and that first word confirmed through some sign of the truth being revealed and received, or through some sign of healing or deliverance occurring. Don’t come up short of this evidence by failing to act in faith.
- When God speaks, our attitude is appraised in a way that moves us towards humility and faith. Be wary of those ‘words’ you think are from the Lord that are all sweetness and light or blessing and favor. Without fail, when the word from God is 100% encouragement, you should already know you face trouble and tribulation in the present and in the future and God alone will save and deliver you.