by Brian Shilhavy
You shall be blameless before the LORD your God, for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the LORD your God has not allowed you to do this. (Deuteronomy 18:13-14)
The day had finally come. After God had performed mighty miracles to bring the Israelites out of Egypt and destroy Pharaoh’s army, and after marching through the desert for many days, they finally had come to Mt. Horeb. This mountain was the place where God had first met Moses in the burning bush and had told Moses to bring them out of Egypt, so that they might serve God instead of serving Pharaoh as slaves.
They had come to Egypt under the rule of Joseph, but during the course of their 430 years in the land they became so numerous that the Egyptians feared them and made them into slaves. This transition from a favored people to an oppressed people over the course of hundreds of years apparently caused them to forget God and his covenant with Abraham. But finally they begin to cry out to God in their bondage, and God listened to their cry and sent Moses as their deliverer:
Now it came about in the course of those many days that the king of Egypt died. And the sons of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry for help because of their bondage rose up to God. So God heard their groaning; and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (Exodus 2:23-24).
So they marched out of Egypt with all of the wealth of Egypt, and after some trials and testing, they stood before God on Mt. Horeb:
All the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance. Then they said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die.” Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin.” So the people stood at a distance, while Moses approached the thick cloud where God was. Then the LORD said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘You yourselves have seen that I have spoken to you from heaven.'” (Exodus 20:18-22)
Standing before God on the mountain, and hearing his voice speak to them for the first time, they were terrified, and they wanted no more of God’s direct voice speaking to them. So they requested that Moses be the one who listens to God’s voice and then Moses would tell them what God said. Moses became one of the first “prophets,” someone who receives the word of God and reports it to others.
Forty years later, as the next generation of Israelites was preparing to receive their inheritance of the “promised land,” Moses gave them a strict warning and reminded them of their first encounter with the voice of God on Mt. Horeb:
When you come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD. And because of these abominations the LORD your God is driving them out before you.
You shall be blameless before the LORD your God, for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners.
But as for you, the LORD your God has not allowed you to do this. The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers–it is to him you shall listen– just as you desired of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, “Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.” (Deuteronomy 18:9-16)
The fact that all of us have built into us a desire to call out to a higher being or higher power when we are in extreme distress or trouble, and find ourselves in situations where we have no control and are powerless, gives testimony to our “createdness” – that someone else is in control of the universe and our existence.
The Israelites had the heritage of their forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to know that God was their creator and that he had established a covenant with them. So in their distress they knew who to call upon for help. They did not call upon the Egyptian gods or their idols.
Moses warns them to continue to seek the voice of God through the prophets as they enter the land of Canaan, and to not follow the practice of the other nations who listened to “anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead.” These types of people obviously had some kind of power to help people in the short term, or else people would have stopped going to them and they would have gone out of business. So they became snares even to the Israelites at times, and we even have one record of the first king, King Saul, going to a medium when he needed help (I Samuel 28:6-20), and that medium did have the power to bring up Samuel from the dead temporarily. But it did not accomplish any useful long-term purpose for Saul (he died the next day).
So who do you go to and listen to today when you are in trouble and have great needs? Western culture today has been built upon a foundation of Darwinia evolution which generally has no place for fortune tellers, mediums, sorcerers, etc. (although they do still exist). Instead, our present culture has replaced these people with other professionals such as scientists, doctors, psychologists, and other “experts” who all too often are setup in place of hearing the direct voice of God (and even in opposition to it), which is available to all of us free of charge.
Because of the effect of Darwinian evolutionary teaching we exalt the physical over the spiritual world, and seek answers to our problems only in the physical world, since Darwinian evolution denies the existence of God and the spiritual realm.
Are our ways in Western culture really any different from those cultures that Moses warned against in Deuteronomy 18? Our idols and those we listen to might be different, but are not the effects just the same? Are we not much better off seeking the voice of God when we have great needs?
The book of Hebrews in the New Testament is a book that explains how the way we approach God today under the New Covenant that Jesus instituted is different than how the Israelites approached God under Moses when the Law was given. Yet one thing has not changed at all – our need to listen to the voice of God:
For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind, and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word be spoken to them… And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, “I AM FULL OF FEAR and trembling.”
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant… See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking.
For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “YET ONCE MORE I WILL SHAKE NOT ONLY THE EARTH, BUT ALSO THE HEAVEN.” This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:18-29)
If you read through the foundational articles on this website, you will understand that to hear the voice of God one must be reborn spiritually into the Kingdom of Light where Jesus rules in the spiritual realm. If we are still walking in the kingdom of darkness, we are limited to simply being able to cry out to God and hope that he hears us, but not being able to hear what he has to say to us personally, because we don’t know him on a personal level (much like the Israelites in the day of Moses.)
But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. (Words of Jesus in John 10:26-28 italics added)
So for those not yet in the Kingdom of Light, being recreated spiritually through the rebirth process is the first step to knowing God on a personal level and to being able to hear his voice. For those of us already in the Kingdom of Light, we need to take time to listen to our King and stop listening to the world! So who are you listening to today?
Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:15-17)