In scripture, we read over and over of God speaking directly to His people. He walked with Adam and Eve in the garden, Jacob wrestled with God in the desert, Joseph understood His will through dreams, He spoke to Moses through a burning bush, an angel of the Lord appeared before Gideon, and the list could go on through the New Testament. How did they know it was truly God giving them direction and not the devil seeking to distract them?
Let’s take a quick look at one person who gives us the clearest picture of God’s direction, Gideon.
God appeared to Gideon in Judges 6 and calls him to deliver the Israelites from the “Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples” vs 33 whom joined forces. First, Gideon asks the Lord for a sign confirming God’s direction. God affirms this request not once, but twice for Gideon. Once Gideon is certain this call is indeed from God, he follows God’s every instruction from that point on, defeating the Midianites with only 300 Israelite warriors.
Many today will argue that God no longer speaks to His people in such obvious and powerful ways. I beg to differ. God is still active in the lives of His people. What I have to offer is one of my most recent experiences.
I was sitting in the back of the She Speaks banquet hall, filled with over 650 women with a common desire. We each desired to serve God with the gifts and calling He had given. We sat listening intently to Liz Curtis Higgs as she reminded us to give our audience ourselves and above all God’s love, no matter who they are. At the close of her poignant and hysterical talk, she began reading a few verses from Jeremiah 1:6-9:
“Ah, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “Now, I have put my words in your mouth.”
As she spoke those final words from God, I felt God press His hand on my tongue. At first, I was startled by the sensation. I quietly asked God if it was really Him. Immediately the tears began pouring like a flood. My body felt like something was swelling inside, radiating from every pore. The tears came in heaves. I knew I needed to get to the Prayer Room and meet with God.
As He and I spoke through prayer and through His Word, I asked Him to confirm what I believe just occurred. I needed to know this was not exhaustion, hormones from being 18 weeks pregnant, or simply being in the moment. I also asked Him to help me be receptive to what this all may mean. Though I understand the verse, I wasn’t sure how He meant for me to implement it in my life. Confirmation came quickly and in such a way I knew it was from Him.
My dear friend Stephanie, who had been sitting in front of me in the hall, happened to be walking by the Prayer Room as I emerged. We talked for a few minutes about what happened. As I told her, Stephanie shared that she’d heard me crying and wanted to go to my side. However, Stephanie said that God told her to stay in her seat, He was speaking with me. He spoke to the both of us, not just me; this first confirmed for me that it truly was His hand pressing on my tongue. Later, He revealed the meaning.
On my flight home, He revealed the message He wanted me to one day share, though it is not something to be imparted just yet…So now I wait patiently for Him to prompt my next step.
How do we know if what we experience is direction and not distraction? Pure and simple, we must seek confirmation. God provides us with a number of ways to do just that.
- Prayer: Enter into a conversation with God. Ask Him to confirm with you His Call. We recognize the voice of our friends and family because we speak with them often. It is the same with God. The more you speak with Him, the easier it becomes to recognize His voice. I call on you, O God, for You will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer. Psalm 17:6
- Signs/Dreams/Visions: Gideon was deliberate, asking God for a specific sign. He wasn’t testing the Lord, desiring only to know it was the Lord giving him directions. Once God confirmed through the fleece, twice, Gideon followed God’s direction without hesitation. Don’t be afraid to ask God for a clear sign, one you will recognize as coming from Him alone. Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights. Isaiah 7:11
- Scripture: Does this call match scripture? If there is anything which goes against His Word, even if it’s only one element, discard it immediately. This means we need to take the time to, Test everything. Hold on to the good. I Thessalonians 5:21
- Godly Counsel: Seek out the godly advice from someone who is walking with the Lord. Are you connected with a Bible study or prayer group whom you can seek prayer and counsel? Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise. Proverbs 19:20
- Be Patient: Do not act until you receive confirmation. God’s timing doesn’t match our own, therefore we must be patient. His initial sign may simply be His way of helping us open our hearts and minds. He honestly may need you to be receptive to whatever He desires to reveal next. Dig into His Word, spend time with Him through prayer and…Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him. Psalm 37:7a
Have you ever had a divine experience? How did you seek confirmation from God? I would love for you to share your encounter with us here.