The God Who Speaks to the Lost (And Found), Part I

Just finished up a week on the Big Island of Hawai’i.

It was rough duty.

Discovered something though. Our wild and amazing God was up to his usual predictably unpredictable ways-especially back in the day when the famed King Kamehameha and his son were in power.

This story is faith-building and inspiring-and for someone who grew up in a heavily cessationists church environment. If you are not familiar with this concept, let me just say that I was strongly trained when I was very young that once the Bible was fully inspired and pulled together-God stopped talking to people.

Or more accurately-God stopped talking other than through Scripture.

In the church of my youth, actually, the view of cessation was so strong that I got the idea that God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit were pretty much just sitting around the throne room playing poker. Now the Father-God was watching us and keeping tabs on our bad deeds, otherwise we were on our own until judgment day, because anything that God did would violate our belief that, well, he couldn’t do anything anymore.

That is, until judgment day-then the Trinity would put down their cards, tally up the tab-sheet (of our sins, not of the poker winnings), and get back into the business of being an active and powerful God again.

All of this explanation is just to say that in my long past if I had heard the story of what happened during the days of the famed uniter of the Hawaiian islands and his progeny-I would have attributed the following amazing story to chance.

Imagine No Religion, Too

So the story goes that King Kamehameha came to the throne by fulfilling three different prophecies or visions that had been recorded by Kahuna’s (Pagan religious leaders) in his day. That in itself very much seems to be the hand of God-King Kamehameha was a very unique and strong individual in his day-and for the Word of God to be received and take hold, the old religion of the people needed to be eliminated and the Islands needed to be united.

Kamehameha did that. I perceive our Father-God needed him to do that and assisted him.

Shortly after his death his wife, who was tired of the old religion’s restrictions and cruelty (especially toward women, a common trait of false religions-think Islam), convinced the late King’s son (who was now the King) to join forces with her in rebelling against the old religion. They did so successfully and suddenly the people of Hawaii found themselves with no religion. Yep the dreams of the future John Lennon came true for the islanders.

But, as had happened in the life of Kamehameha to begin with, another prophecy told that in eight months an answer to this problem would arrive-envisioned to arrive in a black box, no less.

Wouldn’t you know it, eight months later Christian missionaries landed on the big island and the Good News of Yeshua the Messiah took off. Yep, these good folks carried their Bibles in black boxes.

Of course this new religion was completely different from the old-and greatly welcomed. To this day, the faith of the native Hawaiians is a beautiful and outward thing.

God Spoke to Unbelievers?

Yep. The Dread Sovereign Lord spoke to people who had no clue who he was.


Well, I take it that God loves all the children of the world, just like that old VBS song says. He hears the cries of people who are oppressed and mistreated under corrupt religious systems-and he talks, even to pagan Kahunas.

He cause events to happen so the people know they have been heard, and are loved.

Something beautiful happened while I was on the Big Island that helped me to envision how caring our Lord is. On my first night, we arrived and were very tired-my wife went on to bed. I had eaten a bit so I sat up and watched the sunset from the patio outside our room. It soon became clear from what I heard that a Luau was going on nearby- I stood up and leaned around the corner and I could just see a portion of the Luau grounds.

As the evening got going–I heard beautiful voices singing in the Hawaiian language-and for just a precious moment, thought about our Creator hearing the same. Whether or not his children know him, he knows them. They are, in every way, his.

What joy must fill his heart. Just as I get a thrill hearing the voice of one of my children, well, I guess I am like God in that respect. Whether they are singing, laughing, or crying—there is something precious about a child’s voice to their father—or the Father.

Thinking on that beautiful night of the Creator of us all hearing his children’s voices so long ago and speaking to them through a kahuna—so that they would know when the real thing arrived; joy filled my heart!

What an amazing Father-God!

I suppose any earthly father or mother loves to hear his children singing, praying, or talking earnestly. Hearing your children laugh-well, that’s the best.

On the other hand-hearing and seeing your children suffer under a cruel man-made religion-well, it’s time to rush in and help.

His help may take surprising forms and work through unlikely people-but his heart is never cold toward those who helpless and hurting.

So, For the Rest of Us…

If our Lord speaks to the unbeliever-what should we be hearing?

Obviously, we should be listening for his voice.

But in our day I would recommend some severe caution based upon a reality about too many of us today.

We are, as a whole, biblically illiterate.

That is important to acknowledge for it creates a peculiar problem-or perhaps several issues.

One problem is self-idolatry. This takes the form of taking any thought that comes to our head and pronouncing it as God’s thoughts. Of course, the problem is that this is nothing more than the old tradition of doing what is right in our own eyes (Jgs. 17:6 for example).

Now the way we present our thoughts as God’s thoughts these days is couched in religious-speak, “The Holy Spirit told me…”. If someone dares to challenge the alleged words from God, they are accused of a lack of faith or of quenching the Spirit.

Yet here is the real problem.

Malachi 3:6 – “For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.”

This is the attribute of our Great God known as immutability. This simply means that he is always who and what he is. He does not change because he is perfect, holy, and the source of all things.

Because God is immutable, no one can receive a message from the Spirit of God which contradicts what God has already revealed about himself through the Word—after all, the word is the revelation (i.e., literally, it tells us who he is) of God. He revealed himself to us in the written Word so that we could discern whether a message we receive is from him or not.

While I do perceive that God did speak to the Hawaiian kahunas who only had knowledge of their previous corrupt man-made religion—we who have the whole inspired Word of God have no excuse for our illiteracy except our laziness.

I have had discussions with preachers in my faith interpretation who wonder (at someone else’s doctrine) , “How can someone believe that?”

Truthfully, most believers believe what they hear that “makes sense” to them. There is no study, no deep thought—just the embracing of something that is emotionally appealing to each individual.

We cannot do this. If the Word of God is indeed God-breathed (i.e., inspired) then we must dwell in it. We cannot reliably hear from the Spirit if we do not know Scripture well. If you are a new believer and you perceive the Spirit has given you direction, run it past someone who knows the Bible very well.

The Holy Spirit is not the only spirit out there.

Much harm has been done in the name of “The Spirit told me…”.

Kick spiritual sloth to the curb, stop the self-idolatry, and sit each morning with your Lord in the Word. Do some serious exegesis with your “our not my” church family. Too much damage has been done and continues to be done by sincere but scripturally illiterate believers. Put away your phone or other electronic device and use a real print copy Bible.

If you get a pop-up notification while using a print Bible, it is supernatural–pay attention to it.

But put your electronic device out-of-sight and and out-of-hearing.

Just you and God, learn to pay attention and meditate on his word.

Having trouble with that? Then get my book Superhero: Being Who God Says You AreThere is an electronic media freedom plan in the appendix, and a chapter devoted to “un-hacking” your life.

What Does the Spirit Say Today?

Tune in to Part II of The God Who Speaks to the Lost for more…

(Image by Andrew Angelov/Shutterstock)

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