It wasn’t that long ago in millennial time keeping that the only way to communicate was in person. Even if you wrote a letter or scroll or stone tablet memo, someone had to carry it from the place of origin to the place of receipt. The time delay was dependent on the transportation mode. Walking was probably the slowest (but maybe scrolls in clay jars floating across the sea was slower). You get the idea. The problem with this type of communication was the opportunity for missed or mis-interpreted meanings of the message based on the authors writing skill and the limitations of ink on paper. Maybe the sender would include a sketch or painting to convey the finer points of the intended meaning. If the purpose of the communique was too important for interpretation then the conveyor became the conveyance in conversation. They showed up in person. I would say that propagation of information was probably pretty slow.
Then we humans got all industrial and invented stuff like the telegraph. Now we could communicate at the speed of electricity. It was almost a real-time conversation but was limited by its one-sided nature and short messages. The conversation took place through code like Morse code. Most people have heard of S.O.S. Did you know the letters don’t represent anything? Over the years people haves associated the phrase “save our ship” or “save our souls” but it actually doesn’t stand for that at all. SOS was chosen as the national distress signal because it was easy to remember by its 3 dits, 3 dahs and 3 dits. (There is a point to all this rambling and history so hang on.) The telegraph may have sped things up a bit but still a letter or an in-person conversation worked better to communicate the finer points.
Now we are in the information age and have all sorts of ways to communicate. There are so many ways to transmit a written message and even include a picture to amplify, clarify or convey a greater understanding. But it seems we are still pulled into “live” conversations when it is important to have clear understanding between parties. Even phone calls aren’t enough when you want more intimacy or show the other person what you mean. In the end the best conversation happens in person. Why is that?
I believe the answer is “five senses.” God created us in such a way that we have this natural ability to send and receive information that is perceived, no matter how subtle, by our senses. Often we refer to this form of communication as non-verbal. I think that terminology is an inadequate description. Think about a pleasant memory. Remember the smells, how it felt (warm, cool), what color was the light in the place, what we’re the sounds and what were the tastes (salt air, Apple pie). Now here in the present, any sense could be stimulated in the same way bringing that fond memory to life again. Say you walk into a house and smell apple pie and you are back in your grandma’s kitchen. Long distance communication or writing on a page or digital interaction cannot communicate like the interaction and learned responses of the senses. Think about you and a loved one. You can sense their mood the moment they walk in a room before they say anything. We all at times crave that kind of interaction. We need it.
So wonder why we think God would communicate to us any differently than the most intimate conversations we can imagine? I come from a church background where it was taught that the only information we need about God is written in His book. I agree that everything written in His book is true, but we have limited our conversation with God to words on paper if we don’t believe He communes (communicates) with us today. Words on paper, read from human interpretation, are not a conversation with God. Sorry if I offend some but how can we limit God to a telegraph when He is in the room? I believe God has a lot to say about everything. I believe that He is “talking” to us in a near continuous fashion. His Spirit is in us. Check out these verses:
1 Cor 6:17 But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him…19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own (ESV)
John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.(ESV)
John 17:21 That they all may be one, [just] as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe and be convinced that You have sent Me. 22 I have given to them the glory and honor which You have given Me, that they may be one [even] as We are one: 23 I in them and You in Me, in order that they may become one and perfectly united, that the world may know and [definitely] recognize that You sent Me and that You have loved them [even] as You have loved Me. (AMP)
Phil 2:5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus (ESV)
1 Cor 2:16 “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Who has been able to teach [advise; counsel] him [Is. 40:13]?” But we have the mind of Christ [the Holy Spirit reveals God and his ways to us] (EXB)
God can speak to us in so many ways. He can use our senses. He can use our imagination. He can use our memories. He can speak to us in our spirit. He can speak to us in our soul (mind, will, emotions). Imagine all the emotions, feelings, intangibles associated with a really good memory. God can insert Himself like a smell and bring up all the emotion of that memory and not bring back the memory itself. He can bring back a memory without the attached emotion as an impartial reference. He can bring back a memory and insert a future for comparison. He can give us dreams and visions of the future… He is infinite so His means of communication are infinite. So often we restrict Him because of our understanding or just plain fear. If you have been taught all your life that the enemy can easily deceive you, then you turtle up and live from doctrine instead of relationship. My God has already defeated the enemy. My Dad is a God you don’t wont to mess with. My Papa loves me so much that He won’t let me be deceived. I know His voice above all others. I know He speaks with love, kindness, peace and goodness. I know He isn’t angry at me and has forgotten my sin. I know that He cannot condemn me because of what Jesus did so I am accepted and cannot be rejected. I know that His desire above all else is to have a relationship with me. I know that in that relationship I am the dependent one, I am the trusting one, I am the listening one and He loves to “speak to me.” Thank you Jesus that I am no longer restricted to just sending an S.O.S.