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"I Was Going to Preach this, but the Holy Spirit Led Me to This" . . . And other Stupid Statements

Does my title give me away? So much for being coy with my proposition. Let me say that this post is going to get me in trouble with some dear friends who preach God’s word every week. My message to them: Bear with my critique. I pray that my thoughts will be considered as “wounds from a friend”—a very fallible friend.

Here, let’s start this way. Have you ever heard someone (probably a preacher or teacher in the church) say something like this:

“I had prepared all week to teach on __________, but the Holy Spirit changed my lesson at the last minute.”

I have. Dozens of times. The idea it conveys is that the particular message that was prepared was not of God (at least at that time) and this new message was most certainly of God. In fact, the new message is miraculously of God! Why? Because I did not really prepare for it. It must have been God who prepared it. “I just step back when that happens and let God do his thing. Who am I to interrupt God?”

Can I say something? (Wait, let me hide behind something first . . .There.) That is a stupid statement!

My basic thesis is this: The type of assumptions required to adopt the occurrence of such homiletic detours is irresponsible both to yourself and to your audience and misunderstands the way God works in the life of the church.

Let me give you some characteristics that I see in such statements.  They can:

Neglect the Holy Spirit. The idea that is conveyed is that the Holy Spirit is not present in the sermon/lesson preparation process. Without God’s presence and guidance in the study, does he somehow show up at the pulpit? There is no justification for such thinking. In fact, I would argue that we are in more need of the Spirit’s guidance in the study than we are when we deliver. If the Spirit is not present when you are in preparation, how can he be there when you deliver? The delivery is simply the product of your life, study, preparation, and daily walk with God. If this is true, why would God miraculously change what he has been preparing you to present? Can he not make up his mind? Did some new unforeseen circumstance arise that caused him to adjust, shift, or compensate for? Be careful.

Blame the Holy Spirit. The idea that God changes the sermon or lesson can be an attempt to discount your involvement and responsibility in what is being presented. Maybe you did not prepare and you are seeking someone to blame? Maybe you want to say something that you don’t think will gain people’s favor? Maybe you are just trying to blame the Holy Spirit?

Be manipulative. The third commandment, in principle, has nothing to do with swearing, but everything to do with protecting God’s reputation. When we claim that God miraculously changed the lesson or sermon, we may be manipulating the audience. In other words, it may be another way of saying, “This sermon is really from God.” In doing this, you are using his reputation by way of putting a “hands-off” authentication on your teaching. After all, if God changed your mind at the last minute, whatever criticism that someone might have must concede its fury; otherwise, the critics might find themselves at enmity with God himself. That type of approach is manipulative. The best we can do is prayfully hope that God has guided our lives, thoughts, and studies to qualify us to represent him when the time comes.

Arise from a gnostic bent. I think that people assume that this is a norm in the pulpit because we have the tendency to separate the mundane from the sacred. We often believe that if it is from the Lord, it will have a halo around it. Halos don’t seem to appear in studies that are filled with struggle, doubt, and, often, timidity in our conclusions. We seek the halos to rise above the mundane to sanctify us in a different way. However, we must live thoroughly converted lives, recognizing that the wall between the sacred and the “secular” is not really present, and it never was. It is no more spiritual to study than to preach.

But . . . What about . . .

I can hear it coming. What about Jude in the New Testament? I am just following in his footsteps.

“Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.” (Jud. 1:3)

Doesn’t Jude here demonstrate that he was going to write about something but the Holy Spirit led him somewhere else? Yes, but this cannot be applied to what I am speaking about. Jude is not saying that he was just about to write on the subject of salvation, but the Lord miraculously changed his lesson. He is saying that he purposed to write about salvation, but he was convicted of a greater priority instead. To put this in our current situation, it would be like me saying that I have been intending to preach on marriage, but I feel it is more important at this time for me to start a series on dealing with false doctrine due to its current influence in our culture. The reason for the change is not some last minute anointing of the Holy Spirit, but because of the expediency of the subject for the current situation. It says nothing about preparation and study. It is assumed that Jude is prepared to speak to the issue of his conviction precicely because of the presence of his conviction.

In the end, we need to be careful. From conception, preparation, to presentation, we can only hope that God is guiding it all. Can God change our sermon or lesson while we are in the pulpit? Of course. The question that you have to ask yourself is whether or not this is a model that we should expect. Your message can be further shaped, nuanced, and impassioned while you are teaching, but this is not really God changing your sermon. Preach what you prepare for and prepare for what you preach.

128 Responses to “"I Was Going to Preach this, but the Holy Spirit Led Me to This" . . . And other Stupid Statements”

  1. Lisa Robinson July 29, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    Brave man. Kudos for having the guts to say this. I think a statement that really adds insult to injury of the last minute change is ‘this message is going to change your life.’ Ouch!

  2. Michael –

    I am a bit saddened by your post. Of course you know this, but there are quite a few people that have said such a statement about the Holy Spirit changing their message, but they did not say it because they were not prepared, but rather they really sensed a different direction. This can happen in the midst of study or in the midst of the gathering. It is quite acceptable.

    I think you are unfortunately ridiculing the practice because a few of the extreme cases that are out there. Mind you, I think we should be willing to pray more often, ‘Lord, is this Your heart? Is this what you want said?’ I don’t ridicule preparation, as I partake of such a practice each week. But we need to be in a place of complete dependence on Him, not mainly upon our hermeneutical, homiletical and theological skills and training. It might just be a healthy practice to not prepare every once in a while, or at least pray, ‘Lord, should I not prepare this week.’

    I know, I know. Sounds absurd. But I do kind of think it lines up with the cross. That foolishness stuff. Again, I am not trying to go overboard, but trying to bring balance to what I believe is an unbalanced attack.

    Try and be gracious.

  3. Kudos indeed! What I have found troubling in those instances when my pastor does this is that those sermons tend to be somewhat rambling and muddled. I don’t want to sound like I am piling on, but I really don’t know what to make of that. I mean, I suspect I do, but I’ll just say that it leaves me somewhat disquieted. It isn’t surprising that for my tradition (I’ll speak only for us Baptists) hasn’t quite embraced the idea of theology being done in community when this model is not embraced by the pastor.

  4. Are the “other stupid statements” those that you make in this post? ;-)

  5. Lisa Robinson July 29, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    Scott, regarding this comment,

    “But we need to be in a place of complete dependence on Him, not mainly upon our hermeneutical, homiletical and theological skills and training.

    I think Michael’s point is that preparation is not relying on the training but the Spirit. He says the Spirit must be involved during that preparation and we must depend on Him for the message. And I can’t help but think it shows a greater respect for what the Spirit will have to say by engaging in preparation.

  6. Let’s say a pastor is working through Romans. It’s a series that could run 20 or 30 weeks. Somewhere in the midst of that, God, knowing someone will be attending on a given week, may need to steer the sermon in a different direction in order to speak to that individual.

    I have also been in church when the musical part of the worship service was so powerful that the pastor stepped aside and did not preach, but allowed the music to continue.

    So, I believe a sensitivity to the leading of the Holy Spirit can be a benefit. After all, what if a pastor ignores a leading of the Spirit during preparation? Could God then get more insistant as the service gets closer? The pastor finally yields as the service begins.

    All that being said, I believe such an occurance should not be normative. I have heard too many pastors say such things, or to say “I’ll wait to see how the Spirit leads” as if the Holy Spirit cannot plan ahead.

  7. Then, there is the equally stupid opening statement which immediately tells you you’re in for a boring sermon: “In reading the lections this week, I was disturbed by. . .”

  8. Excellent, Michael! I heartily agree.

    This is why I try plan our teaching series months ahead, so that God can put things into my path leading up to and into the prep time for any given message.

    My experience is that when something changes at the last minutes, it still falls within the overall structure that I have already communicated to my team. Possibly a better supplement text is pointed out, or a better way of stating a point or key idea.

    To say that God won’t let me know until the last minute because someone is going to be in the crowd is to say that God didn’t know it until then, too! He couldn’t have led me there 3 months ago?

  9. “He couldn’t have led me there 3 months ago?”

    Certainly He could of–but is it a guarantee that He will? I think too that we have to leave room for the genuine last minute change of plans that the Lord might bring us to in any area of our lives.

    On the other hand, I can certainly see Michael’s point. And I am sure this is a line that has been far overused. However, I don’t think that we can automatically rule out the possibility that God will at times work in the last minute in this way. Doesn’t at all mean that we should expect it to be the norm though.

  10. What about pastors who constantly plead for the Holy Spirit to convict the congregation of this or that? Are they also crossing the line?

    I totally follow your reasoning here, but it seems potentially incongruous to keep praying for the Holy Spirit to convict us, yet consider it insincere to testify when He answers our prayers.

  11. Guival Mercedat July 29, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    I am not sure that I’ll call it stupid statement. I, personnaly, would not say it before a sermon as when you are preaching in a giving day you look at different subjects if you do not have a chosen subjECT.
    It is an abuse statement by unprepared preacher, but once a while the Holy Sipirit can take over in convaincing you to touch a a particular subject, it does not have to be a passage.

  12. Joshua,

    I’m not sure I follow. What’s the connection between prayer for conviction and changing a sermon topic on-the-fly?

  13. As someone who’s lived in a quasi-charismatic environment for 20+ years, I have to totally agree with Michael. While there are exceptions, much of the time the “leading” is questionable, and the preacher needs to take responsibility for either not hearing from God early on, or just acting on a whim on his way to church.

    This raises another issue, that of our view of the sermon compared to our view of Scripture. It seems that the sermon (i.e., the pastor’s perspective) carries more authority than the plain reading of the Word. What if the sermon isn’t particularly “inspired” at all? What if the text is inspired enough on its own? I kind of think this is okay. It’s kind of refreshing when a pastor says, “this is just my take on what this says.”

    I’m bugged (obviously) by a lot of what I’ve heard over the years, in charismatic and non-charismatic churches.

  14. Forgive my postmodern sounding response, but I believe that both approaches can be inspired by the Holy Spirit. I, too, have seen the “God just spoke to me” approach used and abused, and I can recognize the frustration within my own heart. I firmly agree with Michael that:
    #1 – God the Holy Spirit can and SHOULD be involved in our message preparation. If He’s not, we have no business delivering that message in the first place.
    #2 – Sometimes the “shifting” gears approach is just an excuse for laziness.

    BUT…

    Sometimes there are times when I felt that I was hearing God during my lesson prep time, but when it came time to deliver the teaching, I realized I had missed something very critical. In less formal meeting times, someone could give a testimony that leads to a time of prayer which leads to a certain song being sung by the band…and the prepared teaching never gets preached! I have been a part of these types of meetings and can give testimony that God was most definitely involved.

    I guess what’s the most frustrating is when people who use the “God just changed the message” come across as holier-than-thou or more “spiritual” or something…maybe that’s just me, though.

  15. C Michael Patton July 29, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    Nick…lol…it is part of my “and Other Stupid Statements” theme.

  16. You wrote: “The idea it conveys is that the particular message that was prepared was not of God (at least at that time) and this new message was most certainly of God.”

    I too, have heard pastors begin a sermon this way, and not once did it convey the idea you expressed above. Perhaps you are overthinking this?

    After 9/11, I was in attendance C. J. Mahaney said something to that effect. The message he had prepared earlier in the week did not reflect what he needed to preach to effectively minister to his church, including some members who were directly affected by the attack on the Pentagon.

    It was pretty apparent that C. J. was not saying his previous message was not of God, and yet it was also clear that the Holy Spirit, who guides and gives wisdom, did lead C. J. to preach the particular message that he did.

  17. Michael,

    The delivery is simply the product of your life, study, preparation, and daily walk with God. If this is true, why would God miraculously change what he has been preparing you to present?

    Hmm…

    So let me get this straight.

    We shouldn’t say, “I was going to preach this, but…” because it will deny that the Holy Spirit was preparing us to present our planned sermon.

    Meaning that you’re claiming the divine stamp of approval on the prepared sermon? It’s inviolate?

    :)

  18. An assumption of an assumption! That is weird.

    Are there any pastors that would agree. I noticed we have many who comment on the pastorial ministry who are not Pastors of churches. These critics are armchair pastors.

    Also, this was written by a U2 Fan! Where is the Holy Spirit in that?

    Pastor Christopher

    “Blogs make authorities out of everyone”

  19. Chris said: “Are there any pastors that would agree.”

    Sorry, I didn’t make myself clear. Yes, I am a pastor, and I heartily agree with this post.

    Chris said: “Also, this was written by a U2 Fan! Where is the Holy Spirit in that?”

    You’re joking, right? A little sarcasm to make a point, I hope?

    Daniel

  20. I get an uneasy feeling when I hear people claim that their actions are the direct bidding of the Holy Spirit. That’s a big statement. Preachers saying it before a sermon is just one example.

    Certainly there are times where it is appropriate to alter our planned course of action, perhaps because of a last-minute occurrence or what have you. However, saying it’s divinely ordained is saying more than I’m comfortable with.

    One of the things that is scary to me about that is that I know I’m prone to make mistakes. I’d hate to credit those to God.

    I’m not a pastor or a U2 fan, but I approve of this message.

  21. Not a bad post, but I think you could have calibrated those words differently. :)

  22. Without yet reading the 21 responses in front of me to this interesting post from Michael, let me just add my observations on preaching, as one who has preached about 1,400 sermons so far, and as one who considers every single opportunity to do so, a high privilege:
    1. I depend upon the Holy Spirit in every message but I try never to presume upon Him.
    2. I like Haddon Robinson’s rule:make it plain. Make it PLAIN! Did I not say, Make it PLAIN!!!???
    3. Study the original text to the best of my ability so that the Holy Spirit doesn’t have to correct my stupidness or presumption AT THE TIME OF MY PREACHING.
    4. A text without a context is a pretext (Dr Martin E. Clark formerly Vice President of Cedarville University who was once my pastor many years ago) who got that saying from someone else I’m sure.
    5. My job is to proclaim God’s Word, simple as that. That DEMANDS that I seek the leading–however I can manage that each week.
    6. LISTEN to how God speaks to ME in the Spirit when I listen to other people preach, which I DO as often as possible. But I CHOOSE whom I listen to carefully. Frankly some of the men whom people think are wonderful, bore me.
    7. When we preachers get stupid, God doesn’t get the glory.
    8. I preach FROM a manuscript as I learned by modelling from S. Lewis Johnson and Jack L. Arnold, and at DTS although they said Lose the Manuscript before you preach. I don’t do that part. I have the mss in front of me every week, and THEN the Spirit occasionally leads me for a moment or two away from the mss while preaching. But that is dangerous. Too often I am indulgent of impulsiveness and that is almost never the movement of the Spirit; My prep. came up with ideas that went INto the mss which I should not sidetrack. ALSO: the mss is then made available, or the Notes online for people to benefit from after the actual preaching. Economy and getting the max out of the prep. effort.
    9. God always is honored when I am exercising faith. So, I try to trust God to use my message even when I feel so inadequate and unworthy. And He does. Praise His name.

  23. Lisa Robinson July 29, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    I can certainly attest to Neil’s formulations regarding sermon prep as I listened to them for two years since he was my pastor. There were series and every now and then an occasional interruption in the series. But that shift was not an unprepared message. It was obvious he spent much time in prayerfully preparing the ‘interruptions’. I do think it honors God when we take the task communicating his word and instructing others in their faith serious enough prepare messages. Moreover, the fact to do so in no ways negates dependence upon Him. I think this is responsible stewardship.

  24. Stuart, I agree. I have yet to be comfortable enough saying something I have prepared (including this blog) is of the Holy Spirit. The best I can do in any circumstance is say I pray that it is of God.

  25. Cadis,

    Yes, I know. You are probably right. I give myself some rhetorical liberty with the “…and other stupid statements” series. Unfortunately, many people will not be able to see past this. Especially first time readers (of which we get about 1000 per day).

  26. FWIW: I would have less a problem with people who change their sermon at the last minute to say “I decided to change it at the last minute” for this is all you can say with assurance. Let the work of the Holy Spirit change lives without your divine mandate prelude!

    Otherwise, I would think that it would be just as true to say, “I was going to wear a blue tie this morning, but God led be to wear a red one,” and “I was going to have cereal this morning, but God led me to have eggs.”

    My point is that is you are going to play Calvinist, do so with everything!

  27. @Jugulum — My point is that it’s very strange for a pastor to frequently pray for the Holy Spirit to convict us of various things, but then be afraid to report that the Holy Spirit convicted him to change the sermon topic. By Michael’s reasoning, we may ask for the Holy Spirit to change people’s minds about things, but we can never give the Holy Spirit credit, since “all we can say with assurance” is that the person’s mind changed.

    FWIW, I once had a woman at my church who would come in every day and testify for 10 minutes about the supreme spiritual warfare that enabled her to come to church (“The devil knocked over the syrup, and I was discouraged, and God said, ‘no you don’t, you devil!'”). So I understand Michaels skepticism. But it just seems incongruous to pray for the Holy Spirit’s movement, and then never acknowledge it while congratulating oneself for humility and modesty.

  28. Joshua, what I am saying is that what this type of methodology, in my opinion, assumes is a bit of a Gnostic worldview. The Holy Spirit works through all things. He is not only in the preparation process, but he is the author of it!

  29. @Michael – OK, I can see that, especially for pastors who do it with some frequency. I think your “gnostic” observation is especially apt in the case of many new converts, who start changing many of their outward behaviors; for example, when you say, “How are you?”, they say “I’m blessed”. And they use every opportunity to claim that God is moving them in this or that way. People make these superficial subculture adaptations by seeking out “worldy” phrases that can be replaced with “holier” versions.

  30. Please don’t come to my church and hear me preach. You will surely find something “stupid” I said as I myself do after every sermon. I find it sad that you wasted so much energy on this post and answering the comments. I listen to Seth Godin talk about Grace and Decency in business. How come it is missing from so many Christians?

  31. Lisa –

    I think you misunderstood my comment. I didn’t ridicule the preparation process nor deny the Spirit’s work in such. I can testify to such. All I am encouraging is that we don’t put all eggs in the preparation basket. Let’s just assume, with regards to practical circumstances, a family member gets ill, you are in a car accident and your child breaks his/her leg – all in the same week. Not to mention the daily matters of leading a flock. This becomes an opportunity to see Him work, since you had only a couple of hours on a Sunday morning to prepare.

    That came about through God’s providential acts in life. He ultimately was in all of it, since He is sovereign. So He obviously knew there would be little preparation time. But He still directed, maybe even gave revelation (or illumination) in the teaching/preaching on that Sunday.

    Now, think about this same sovereign One whispering that we not spend time in preparation, but in seeking Him in prayer and fasting. No commentaries out, no concordance, no Greek NT. It is possible, and I think you would agree.

    Again, read my heart – I am not ridiculing preparation. But when I read Acts, I don’t sense these guys had a lot of prep time before those major ‘sermons’ we find in the book. Matter of fact, things happened that they least expected. How could they have prepared for it all? But they were people of the Word and the Spirit, reading it regularly and listening regularly.

    So, please know I want to find middle ground. I was trying to swing Michael’s pendulum back a little from what I thought was extreme.

    Michael –

    As for your illustration about the blue and red tie. The Calvinist would begin by saying, ‘God ordained (predestined) that I wear this blue tie this morning.’ But you would probably never hear that said (it is just in the thinking).

    But it is the more Pentecostal or charismatic person would say, ‘I was putting on my red tie when God spoke to me that I should wear the blue tie.’ :)

  32. @TJF: “Can God change our sermon or lesson while we are in the pulpit? Of course.” quoting the author… nuff said…

  33. I wonder if the Holy Spirit likes U2

  34. Does a last minute appeal to the H.S. make a sermon Pseudepigraphal?

    :)

  35. Hmmm, not often I find myself disagreeing with you CMP but I’m afraid I’ll have to this time. Now I do agree with several previous commentors that the vast majority of instances where this is claimed are probably bogus but I believe it can and does happen because I have experienced it, only once in ten years of ministry mind you though.

    I was set to preach the Sunday night service in a church out of town. I knew the pastor and some of the congregation but not everyone. I had a sermon prepared especially for this occasion, nice printed notes, studied and prayed over etc etc. Everything seemed fine until about midway through the worship service when several scriptures began to come to my mind and I felt impressed to write them down. These were not mind blowing ,”oh I have just had the deepest gnostic mysteries revealed, oh you’re going to be rich”, but simple gospel stuff (which is mind blowing enough), none of the deep dark Sooper-Dooper-Christian stuff that people usually claim to have heard from God as they ascended the platform.
    I borrowed a bit of scrap paper and quickly scrawled them down before I was supposed to preach. I stepped up to podium, thinking I would end up looking like an idiot for abandoning my original sermon, and preached a very simple gospel message (as in 7 and 8 year old Sunday School class simple). A young man I had never met responded to the message, repented and was baptized that very night. He later told me that he would never had responded if he hadn’t heard the verses that I preached. Two weeks later he was struck by a car and killed.

    Perhaps it’s because I’m Pentecostal, but the idea that the Holy Spirit can do things that may seem spontaneous to us does not bother me in the least.

  36. I cringe every time I hear any terminology either from a Christian or to a Christian to do as you “feel led.”

    Strange they don’t want me to do that when I see a beautiful lady….

  37. I recall a series of sermons our pastor preached about the role of the Holy Spirit as it is laid out in scripture. I believe that his attention to the subject was partially born out of repeated observation of the way Christians use the phrase “The Spirit lead me to do this” to justify their actions. At the time one of the elders (and family) announced via a letter to all elders, that they were leaving the church. When our pastor asked them why…and when others asked, they said, “because the Spirit lead us to do so”. As our pastor said….when someone uses that phrase …what can you say?

    He pointed out that in scripture the Spirit leads people to salvation, but cautioned that we can’t claim the Spirit’s leading in sorts of random decisions and actions (OK, those weren’t his exact words). The point is, people often make that claim that the Spirit lead them to do something, when that might not be the case at all…but who can argue with them? Truthfully, it is very WRONG to make such claims in many cases. I’m more comfortable with “the Spirit’s leading” language when someone is speaking of their role in sharing the gospel with someone they have met….then at least there is a Biblical president…and yes, the Spirit does lead witnesses, and those He is drawing to the Son.

    Maybe Michael can hash out the roll of the Holy Spirit in a series of blogs….what it is and what it isn’t.

  38. Lisa Robinson July 30, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Hey Susan. I do think that since the believer is indwelt with the Spirit, it seems reasonable that He would provide an active presence that seeks to bear upon the believer’s conscience. That is as we allow through yielding.

    With that said, I also think its reasonable that we can say we are led of the Spirit. However, as to not impose upon the Spirit any activity stemming from our own will as opposed to his, its probably safer to say ‘I feel like the Spirit is leading me’ or ‘it seems like the Spirit might be leading’. I agree that we should not make assertive claims about the something the Spirit is doing with 100% conviction since that is possible He is not the source of our inspiration. I find this type of approach rather authentic and humble than absolutely knowing what the Spirit is doing.

  39. And I am yet to hear any theologically sound preacher/teacher utter the stupid statement!

  40. So in the sermon I preached Sunday, during the introduction i said the following (and pardon the choppy grammar…I throw out a lot of rules when I am transcribing):

    “Turn in your Bibles to Hebrews chapter 13. I studied several different passages this week, trying to nail down a text for this morning. Genesis 2, of course, marks the beginning of marriage…plenty can be gleaned from there. There’s Matthew 19, Jesus is speaking to marriage and divorce…actually defending it by calling on the Genesis 2 account. There’s Ephesians 5…Paul defines marriage practically, and then unpacks the mystery of marriage in what’s arguably the most important section of text on marriage in the New Testament. But in studying these I ran across this passage in Hebrews 13, and a light came on…something just floored me about the writer’s inspired thinking, especially as we seek to celebrate marriage here today. Let’s read it together.”

    Was this stupid?

    BTW: sorry I can’t make the open house tonight. Would there be a good time I could come by and say hello?

    Jay (Faith Bible, Edmond)

  41. Jay, did you say, “But as I came up here today, the Holy Spirit has just led me to teach on something different, here it goes”? If not, you are good.

  42. Hi CMP,

    I think I agree with you. Most of the people who claim to be speaking God’s word may have never spent time in prayer asking God what He wants to speak.

    Most people only study from different commentaries and prepare a sermon and go and preach. They totally depend on their ability to prepare a sermon.

    Does God change at last moment yes He does and you have admitted it.

    Classic example is Isaiah.
    2 Ki 20:1 In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die, and not live.'”

    2 Ki 20:4 And it happened, before Isaiah had gone out into the middle court, that the word of the LORD came to him, saying,
    2 Ki 20:5 “Return and tell Hezekiah the leader of My people, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD.

    Isaiah had just said to Hezekiah that he is going to die and he just went out to the middle court and Lord sent him back to say Hezekiah is not going to die.

    Believe me it must have been tough for Isaiah to do it. He just spoke moments ago something and he was asked to contradict it.

    What Isaiah heard was the clear voice of God that many people don’t hear today because they don’t want to.

  43. Lisa Robinson July 30, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    Vinod, how can you claim to know what most people do and how they study? If a person uses a commentary to make sure they are not going down some strange path with God’s word, they are not depending on the Spirit? And how do you know whether they depend on God or not? That seems to be a very presumptuous statement. I think the only one who knows that is God.

  44. Lisa,

    How many people you know wait for God to speak to them on what they are supposed to speak? How many of them really hear God’s voice?

    Have you ever had an experience like described in Mat 10:19-20?

    Mat 10:19 “But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak;
    Mat 10:20 “for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

    Did you ever have any experience like mentioned in John 16:13? I mean “He will tell you things to come”. I am not asking of Holy Spirit clarifying the Word of God but I am asking about “things to come”

    John 16:13 “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

    If Jesus being Son of God need to hear from the Father then how much more we need to? Do you know anybody in your circle who hears from God before they speak? Jesus could have read commentaries written by rabbais. All He quoted was scripture and what He directly heard from the Father.

    John 12:49 “For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.
    John 12:50 “And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.”

  45. Lisa Robinson July 30, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    Vinod, it is not my place to say if people wait for God or not because that would presume I know what is going on in their heart. I cannot presume the person who does not prepare for a sermon is truly led of the Spirit nor can I presume that the person who carefully crafts a sermon with aids of original language and commentaries are not hearing from God. I do not know what is going on in a person’s heart and whether they are truly depending on Him or not. Last time I checked, I am not God.

  46. Nope…I said nothing of that sort.

  47. Lisa,

    Why don’t you tell about yourself? When was the last time you heard from God?

  48. And what was the reason you didn’t answer my specific questions.

  49. Last time I heard from God? when I read some of Matthew this morning.

    Regarding the passages you cited in John – CONTEXT! Jesus was talking to his apostles, as these are the ones who will carry his testimony with authority. How could he bring me into remembrance of things when I wasn’t there?

    Last I checked, Jesus was God, and wrote the Law. Why would he consult anybody? That makes no sense.

    It’s interesting that you tell others they don’t value the word when you don’t seem to either. Do you understand what IS the word of God anyway?

  50. Last time I heard from God? when I read some of Matthew this morning.

    Very nice response! :-) I think I’m going to go listen to God’s clear word, now.

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