Putting Words in God’s Mouth: Part 4 of How to Know God’s Will

Link to: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

“Mom said, ‘you can’t eat that.”  She said.

“No she did NOT.” He replied.

“Yes huh!” She retorted.

He responded with “Then I am going to check and see.”

My friend confirmed that his younger sister had merely put words in their mom’s mouth to get what she ultimately wanted.  He was enjoying the last piece of a delicious treat.  She, in an attempt to get what she wanted, appealed to a higher authority to get it.

My fear is that, in an effort to have assurance, peace, and justify the decisions we make, we may be responsible for putting words in God’s mouth.  Only in this case, doing so is a much larger deal than merely putting words in our mom’s mouth.

Consider with me for a moment what we explicitly and/or implicitly state when we claim God told us we were to do such and such.  We are linking God to our decision.  In other words, the choice we made was literally perfect, without any error or room to examine.  We are also assigning that decision now to a moral status.  In other words, had we done otherwise it would have been a sin.  Thus, God and we are now morally culpable for the decision we made.  After all, God “told” us to do it.  Of course, God cannot be judge by us.  Which leaves the decision we made “off limits” to challenge or question.  When someone refuses to break God’s commands, one does not need to prove his reasons for doing such.  The decisions are to be accepted on the basis of the one who commands.

Let me illustrate how this can work through an artificial conversation.

“Nice car!” Bob said.

“Thanks, I just got it yesterday.” Justin replied.

“How exciting, how did you find it?” He asked.

“Oh man, the LORD just showed me the right car to get!” Justin exclaimed.

“Wow!  How did you know to get it?” Bob questioned.

Justin explained.  “Well, while I was at the dealership I walked around and was looking at all the cars in the dealership and I asked God to show me the right car to get.  Well after looking at a number of cars with the car salesman he showed this one.  As soon as I sat in it I just knew it was the one!”

Even though this particular conversation is made-up, I have heard countless conversation just like this one.  And when we examine the implicit and/or explicit statements being made, we begin to see the tragic implications of what we are saying.  When we claim, “God told me ‘X’” we linking God to our decision.  We are claiming our choice was perfect and cannot be challenged.  We are claiming our choice was indeed a moral one (i.e. had Justin not bought that car, Justin would have sinned).  Now please do not misunderstand me.  I am not claiming that everyone who says, “God told me” is meaning all this.  I am arguing that whether they intend to be saying this or not, that is indeed what they are saying.  In addition to all of this, how many of us have encountered someone who told us, God told them to do something or not to do something, that God has already made very explicitly clear in His Word?

This is why I believe we must be careful not make such statements.  Not because God doesn’t do such things, but rather because he can and does.  But when we relegate so many decisions on a regular basis to “God told me” it removes the miracle of the Word of God and when God does miraculously lead His people. 

So is God indifferent to the choices we make?  I believe God does care!  But if God does not regularly tell us what to do on a regular basis in this way, how do we go about making decisions on a daily basis with things such as: what house to buy, what car to buy, who to marry, what school to go to, should I even go to school, etc.?  How can we know God cares and what we are to do?  In my next post I hope to provide a clear and helpful way, defended from Scripture, of how we are to do just that.



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