“The Lord spoke to me….”

I’ve had several people tell me the Lord spoke to them, with messages meant for me. On one occasion I was told I’d have a dream that night that would change my life, and not knowing any better I believed the man, but the dream didn’t happen, nor did the predictions by other people that I would rise to a high position in my church denomination, and that my local congregation would grow into many hundreds of people.

All three predictions failed, but the people making them were utterly convinced the Lord was speaking to them, despite the statement in Hebrews 1:1-2 that “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.”

God’s not in the habit anymore of speaking direct messages through human prophets like he did in the Old Testament. Instead, he concentrates our attention on what he revealed to us through his Son with the help of the Holy Spirit (John 14:26). The Lord has already spoken to us what we need to know through his Word, Jesus, and it’s the Spirit’s job to help us understand it, not give us new messages through other prophets.

Ah but, some might say, I hear things in my head, like an inner voice, that I should talk to someone, or send them a card of encouragement, or offer help of some kind, and on so many occasions when that happens a crucial need is met. Like the story of the Christian zooming past a stalled car who suddenly felt the need to go back and help. He was late for an important meeting, though, so on he zoomed, but the thought kept pressing on his mind so strongly that many miles later he turned round, drove back to the stalled car, where he easily pinpointed the car’s problem and everyone was on their way in minutes. “The Lord spoke to me,” the Christian said, and who can deny it when the fruits were so good?

So what’s the difference between saying “The Lord spoke to me” through an inner thought that led to an act of love, and saying “The Lord spoke to me” with a direct message from God about a person’s future? The difference is clear from Scripture, that “in these last days” God isn’t speaking through the voices of human prophets, he’s speaking through his Spirit into our hearts (Galatians 4:6) to create belief in his Son and love for one another (1 John 3:23-24), and it’s when those things are happening that we know the Lord is speaking to us.

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