There is an endless stream of voices in the world. For better or worse, our modern technology allows us to hear those voices like never before. It has given us access to countless people and opinions. Regardless of the topic, we can find experts or self-proclaimed experts who are more than happy to enlighten us. Question is – who do we listen to?
Many of us find ourselves in a particular camp politically and choose our commentators accordingly. They don’t shy away from letting us know what they think, and we are happy to listen. We tend to do the same thing with cultural, scientific, and other issues. It’s a lot more pleasant to the ears to listen to someone who agrees with you than to someone who doesn’t. We may sometimes take in information from those who don’t agree with us as well. That’s good. We might discover that we need to adjust our thinking. With all the time we give to these voices, it’s vital that we don’t forget to listen to the most important One. Before we give much weight to anyone else, hopefully we ask “What say you, Oh Lord?”
Though there are issues that come up that God has not directly spoken to, there are many that he has. And even if we cannot get a direct “Thus saith the Lord”, we can often find an answer in the spirit of his word. However, listening to him and following what he says may not always be easy or popular. There are more than a few issues that would put us at odds with some in our society. Homosexuality and abortion come to mind. Submission in marriage for Christian wives is another. There are plenty of voices out there that would be quick to shout “Oppression!” “Abuse!” “Unfair!” Do we listen to them or ask “What say you, Oh Lord?”
It is important that we hear and follow what God says in all matters of life and faith. There are different teachings and opinions about all sorts of things even within the church such as healing, baptism, the Trinity, and matters of salvation. While some things may be more critical than others, God is the only expert we can fully trust and the only one we truly need.
In order to know what the Lord says, we need to be in the Bible. We can benefit greatly by good preaching and teaching and by our own personal studies. The offices of preaching and teaching were ordained by God for the good of his church. It is a blessing to have access them. But even if we do have access, it’s important that we don’t just listen. It is not good practice to simply accept everything we hear without question. We must examine the scriptures to see if what we are being taught is in line with the Bible. Whether we head to the Bible first or check up on what we’ve been taught later, we should be like the Bereans. (Acts 17:10-11) Our own personal studies can be a defense against following bad teaching. Unfortunately, too many pulpits preach questionable and unbiblical things today. Knowing what God says because of our own studies can protect us from accepting them and may even allow us to help others if the need arises.
In your life and in your studies, I encourage you to ask first and often, “What say You, Oh Lord?” Let no other voice supersede that of our God. When you have his answer, seek to follow it with all your heart. Also, question the sources you are relying on for truth. Question them by holding them up to God’s word. In it we have the sum of truth. (Psalms 119:160, John 17:17)