Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Powerful Voice

In Glynn Young's generous introduction to the folks involved in our weekly book discussion (yes, I've been away that long), he points to my short bio on Blogger that mentions I'm a comic book nerd. To stay true to form, I'm going to use a comic book reference to introduce this week's discussion on God's Voice.

In the Marvel Universe (Marvel Comics publishes Spider-Man, X-Men, and the blockbuster Avengers) one of the most powerful characters is the Inhuman named Black Bolt. His "power" is that his voice creates shockwaves that can level a city. It is so powerful that he undergoes strict meditation to ensure that he not only doesn't speak, but that he makes no audible sound whatsoever. I was always fascinated by this character because he was so mysterious while also being feared by the other heroes for being so powerful.

The Bible talks about how powerful our voice can be. While we cannot literally cause physical damage with our words, we can do significant harm emotionally and psychologically. We cannot speak things into existence like God at creation, but we can bark orders to build massive structures and machines. "Through the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is destroyed." (Proverbs 11:11) And this is inherent in our nature, being created in God's image. "God is not silent, has never been silent. It is the nature of God to speak," writes A.W. Tozer in the sixth chapter of the Pursuit of God, 'The Speaking Voice'. (pg 59)

And like the comic book character, God's voice is powerful- enough so to speak the world into existence. His voice is so powerful that he is even present in a whisper. In 1 Kings 19 we read about Elijah fleeing and seeking comfort from God. Here we read about God appearing not as a great, thunderous storm, but rather as a gentle whisper.

I said above "we read". I even said it twice. Personally, I am always looking for that booming voice from heaven; so much so that my ears are often deaf to the whisper that God is speaking through his Word.

I know that God speaks through his Word. It is an accepted fact that I too easily take for granted. Yet I know from personal experience that sometimes the whispers that are easy to ignore become shouts that demand response. I have been going to church all my life, but one Sunday while in college the Scriptures spoke to me as they never had before, sending me on a journey I am continuing to this day. Do I hear that same voice, at the same volume, every time I open the Bible? I only wish this was so! But I will never hear God's voice if I don't even open my Bible to listen.

"The Bible is the written word of God, and because it is written it is confined and limited by the necessities of ink and paper and leather. The Voice of God, however, is alive and free as the sovereign God is free...

God did not write a book and send it by messenger to be read at a distance by unaided minds. He spoke a Book and lives in his spoken words, constantly speaking His words and causing the power of them to persist across the years." (Tozer, pgs 53-54)

"The word of God is living and active..."
(Hebrews 4:12)

God is ever-speaking through his word. Sometimes we hear it, sometimes we don't. Regardless, God's voice is powerful enough to change the world with just a whisper.

This blog is part of a book club reading The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer. Please join the discussion here and at our hosts, Jason Stasyszen and Sarah Salter. Need a copy of the book? You can get it for free on Kindle.


Jason Stasyszen said...

His voice can level the mountains and twist the cedars of Lebanon, but He also whispers healing to the broken and life to despairing. Incredible life we get to live! I want to hear His voice more clearly too. Thanks Frank.

Sarah Salter said...

Frank, thank you!! I'm not a comic person and so I had never heard of this character and would never have known this analogy. It's INCREDIBLE! Thank you!!

Fatha Frank said...

As a comic book nerd, my writing skills are equivalent to repeating "Hulk smash!" over and over. Leave it to Jason to add eloquence. Thank you, Jason!

Sarah, few would know of this guy unless you were a nerd like me. And since he can't speak, I doubt he'll show up in a movie anytime soon.

As an aside, I used him as an example to my son when he was younger for the power of controlling your tongue. Hmmm, maybe I need to dust off that lesson for him again.

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