What’s your theology of how God communicates to people? Do you believe that he only speaks to a select few? Do you believe that he has ceased speaking since we have the total sum of his thoughts in the Holy Bible? Do you believe he only communicates to people who love him?
I hadn’t really thought a whole lot about this. I’ve read a few books about finding truth in pop culture and movies, but didn’t really think about whether or not God actually speaks to people who don’t claim him as their God. I’ve been of the mindset that all truth, if it is indeed true, is God’s truth. If it’s true it will somehow point back to God.
Today, as I was doing my Bible reading, God made it clear to me that he speaks to people who don’t claim him as their God. Check out Genesis 31:24-30:
God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream by night and said to him, “Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.” … Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done? … It is in my power to do you harm. But the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, ‘Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.’ And now you have gone away because you longed greatly for your father’s house, but why did you steal my gods?”
I find that there are three things in this passage interesting. First, God spoke to Laban, who was not one of his chosen people. He was a heathen who worshipped foreign gods. Second, he obeyed God. Even though Laban didn’t recognize God’s authority, he refers to him as “Your God”, he obeyed his instructions and didn’t harm Jacob. And third, he didn’t change his lifestyle after this encounter with God. Notice at the end he talks about the idols as “my gods”. Just because God speaks to someone and they listen to his instructions doesn’t mean that they are going to change their life and follow him.
So, what does this mean for us today? We probably need to realize that those of us who are Christians don’t hold a monopoly over God’s communication with the world. God is the King over ALL creation and may choose to speak directly to people without asking us about it first. Especially considering how our culture has become very interested in spiritual matters, this is no doubt true today. Another thing to keep in mind is that people may have had an encounter with God, but that by no means guarantees that they will give their lives to him. Also, remember to evaluate EVERYTHING by the authority of Scripture. When God speaks he does not contradict himself.