So I was left alone…Then I heard him speaking…
“Do not be afraid, you who are highly esteemed,” he said.
“Peace! Be strong now; be strong.” When he spoke to me,
I was strengthened and said,
“Speak, my lord, since you have given me strength.”
Daniel 10:8-9, 19 (NIV)
I recall a very wonderful Thanksgiving Conference in London, Ontario where I preached about 25 years ago. As the day progressed we sensed that the Lord was truly speaking.
Following the day of ministry I visited in the home of a dear man of God who was slowly dying. He was thrilled with the sense that the Lord drew near as he attended the conference. His way of summing up the ministry was to say, “His voice was heard!”
Our verses today speak of a remarkable time between Daniel and the Lord. Daniel had gone into mourning over the spiritual problems he faced in exile. He fasted, deprived himself of the other daily necessities and sought the Lord.
First the Lord spoke words of comfort to His servant as He praised Daniel. Then the Lord spoke words of peace and exhorted Daniel to be strong. Before the time of the completion of the Bible God did make such direct immediate communications to His people. Often, the messages God gave through His prophets, were written down and came to us as part of our Bible. This is why we sometimes refer to the Scriptures as “the Word” or “the Word of the Lord”.
In the Anglican Book of Common Prayer there is a beautiful set of comments—one by the priest or lay reader and one by the congregation after each time the reader reads the Bible. The reader concludes with the words, “The Word of the Lord.” The congregation responds, “Thanks be to God.”
Indeed how thankful we should be today that the Bible is the complete revelation of God to us. According to the Word of God, it is completely sufficient to guide us into every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). In other words we do not need a new, original, or our own special “word” from the Lord. God has revealed in Scripture all we need to know in order to be comforted, strengthened, and prepared for every decision and activity in life.
So, when the man told me after the conference, “His voice was heard!”, the man meant that the Bible was clearly explained in the preaching and so God spoke to the people. So, in that way, God still speaks to us. We can hear His voice in Scripture as we read it and as it is preached and sung in the congregation.
This is where some people get into spiritual trouble. They state that God spoke directly to them apart from the Bible. They tell others, “God told me to do this or that.” Then a few months later they discover that God had told them no such thing. They are embarrassed and confused. Their sorrow and upset may cause them to wander away from the Lord. If this is your situation do not turn from the Lord, rather get into the Word and study carefully its precious and complete message for you.
In prayerfully doing this you will say “His voice was heard!” Then you will also say, “Thanks be to God.”