God spoke to Moses face to face ‘as one speaks to a friend’ and this dialogue continued for more than forty years during which God revealed His law to him. Moses not only placed all problems of his people before God but also placed his eternal life at stake, seeking removal of his own name from God’s book of life, if the Israelites sins could not be forgiven. The command from the Lord is clear, “Ask and it shall be given to you; Seek and you will find; knock and the door shall be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7). On the day of Pentecost the indwelling Holy Spirit descended on mankind to continue communicating with all believers while teaching and revealing the mysteries of the Scripture.
Can we speak to God? – During the Old Testament times relationship of man with God was from behind the curtain or one of physical separation. Only the select were permitted to enter into His holy presence though the ‘cloud of His glory covered the Israelites camp. Moses could enter that cloud in the Tent of Meeting or on the mountain to speak to God. Moses was able to ‘see the form of the Lord and God spoke to him in clear terms and in riddles (Numbers 12:8). Hebrew word ‘temunah’ has been translated as form and is derived from the word ‘miyn’ meaning figurative manifestation as a shape. The important point is not about Moses being able to see God but his ability to converse with God.
Lord Jesus – the Immanuel – as God in the form of a human being, revealed God to us to be seen by us and now we are blessed with the presence of God in us through the indwelling Holy Spirit. In us He is our Helper, as named by Lord Jesus, our Advocate, Intercessor, Consoler and Comforter. The word Helper is translated from the Greek word ‘paracletos’, formed of two words – ‘para’ meaning “from close beside” and ‘kleo’ meaning “make a call”. He is an Advocate for He is close to the situation prevailing within our hearts and minds to make the right judgement or decision to escape the frequent temptations and trials. He presents our side of the case or our pleas before the Righteous Judge in heaven by presenting the evidence of our faith and forgiveness through the Messiah – evidence that stands up in the Court.
Satan is an accuser who levels false allegations against the believers and the statement of God regarding the righteous living of Job was contradicted by the devil immediately leading to his trials (Job 1:7). Eventually truth prevails and the “accuser of our brethren has been cast out of heaven” (Revelation 12:10). The Holy Spirit gifts us with speaking in the heavenly tongues, teaches us to pray and also prays for us “with groaning that cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26-27). Through these prayers He makes intercession before God for the saints – all believers.
We desire to have a personal relationship with Lord Jesus but tend to ignore developing a close bond with the indwelling God – the Holy Spirit, for we take Him only as a Helper and nothing more. The Son of God reveals the ministry of the Holy Spirit, “He will glorify Me, for He will take what is Mine and declare it to you (John 16:14). God sent His Son to help us overcoming our sinful lives to get cleansed by His blood, shed on the cross, and the Holy Spirit follows the Savior’s ascension into heaven as the “second” Helper to be in us.
Without the Holy Spirit we have no new birth (faith is His gift to us); no confession of Lordship of the Son; no victory over sin; no progress in sanctification; no spiritual knowledge and wisdom; no spiritual gifts and no resurrection from the dead. Holy Spirit ids the third person of the Godhead – the Holy Trinity, and He speaks (Acts 13:2); He teaches (John 14:26); He guides (Acts 8:29); He is obeyed (Galatians 5:16); He is walked with and He is grieved (Ephesians 4:30). How can we do all the above without knowing Him or conversing with Him? He is Divine, to be worshipped with the Father and the Son and is rejoiced with and in. To develop a close relationship, we need to listen and talk and though He is God, He is closest to us so we can strike a personal conversation with Him.
Preparing for a close conversation with God – King David, right from his younger days, while tending to the sheep, developed a close personal relationship with God. He could say confidently, “I sought the Lord and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4). A vibrant relationship is only possible through a regular dialogue which involves both listening and talking. It requires an awareness of His presence, attractiveness to God’s Word and recognition of His ways of working/communicating. To settle the ‘circumcision debate’, the elders of the Church in Jerusalem, discussed the issue among themselves, “talked to the Holy Spirit to know what would seem good to Him” and then accepted His will (Acts 15:28).
It is said, why seek the Holy Spirit when we already have Him in us at the time of baptism in water but the baptism of the Hoy Spirit is different from the other baptism. “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ foes not belong to Him” (Romans 8:9) and how can we develop a close link without belonging to Him? The next step is “Be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18) for not all are filled with Him and this is a continuous process of receiving more of God, His Word and getting empowered. Before the onset of the creation process the Holy Spirit was already present “over the waters” and action could only commence at union of God’s Word with Him “and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). Read, meditate upon and live the Word for receiving power from the Spirit of God for Lord Jesus has taught, “It is the Spirit who gives life, the flesh profits nothing, the words that I speak to you are full of the Spirit and life” (John 6:63). The imprint of the Word on the heart and mind strengthens the experience of the Holy Spirit in us.
Apostle Paul equates the same, “Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:18-19). Compare this with, “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly” while the rest of the above sentence is repeated (Colossians 3:16). Thus the richness of the Word of God in us is equal to getting filled with the Holy Spirit and this happens through faith in the truth of what we read, hear and see in the Scripture. This hearing of the Word with faith then brings in filling of the Holy Spirit to work miracles among us (Galatians 3:5). As we hear the Word of God in faith, Holy Spirit’s presence gets manifested in and through us through powerful works.
“Stephen was a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5) and he suffered martyrdom through stoning at the hands of the Jewish leaders and others. Another man, Barnabas “was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith” (Acts 11:24) and both of them were used by God to lead Saul renamed as ‘Apostle to the gentiles’ Paul – one through His witness and the other through His support. We seek and speak to Him by meditating on the Word and belief in His works in us, with us and around us. The disciples raised the question, “Lord how will You manifest Yourself to us” and the answer was clear “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My Word, and My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make Our home with him” (John 14:22-23). Hold fast in obedience to His will revealed through His Word.
Desire a close relationship with God and this is possible and available through the indwelling Holy Spirit. “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink… out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. Now this He spoke concerning the Spirit” (John 7:37-39). We have to come to Him, seeking Him “As a deer pants for the flowing streams, so my soul thirst for You, O God” (Psalm 42:1-2). It is this desperate urge and the confession of this urge that gets rewarded by Him. The Psalmist cried out to Him, “O God, You are my God – I seek You, my soul thirsts for You, my flesh faints for You, as in a dry and a weary land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1). The whole being – body, soul and spirit, must hunger and thirst for Him to make Him answer the desperate call.
Consider Him more precious than anything – God gave His most precious possession to us to die for us on the cross. Accept and treasure this as the most valuable gift from God, one that we do not deserve but have received because of His Divine mercy. After this there is nothing that He will withhold from us, so we keep on asking till He answers our call, “praying always in the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:18). Make Him a reality of our lives for “He is with us to the end of the age”.
Be aware of His presence – As a parent, when our little children are playing nearby, we are always not only aware of their activities but keep an eye out for them. Whatever be the seriousness of our discussions, we remain conscious of their presence nearby and they also remain attentive to our presence. When we are thus connected to God, we can turn to Him anytime in any situation for His help and guidance. This continuous connectivity with Him is praying to Him with full awareness. And in any case, ‘where can I flee from Your Spirit, O God, for You are everywhere – in the sky, heavens and the Hades’ (Psalm 139:7-9).
Seek revelation from Him – While reading and meditating on the Scripture ask Him to reveal the depths, the mysteries of His Living Word and guide and lead us into the very depths of His presence (1 Corinthians 2:10). He is God and if we desire to converse with Him we have to develop an intimate relationship with him.
Should we pray to the Holy Spirit? – The ministry of the Holy Spirit is to reveal the Son to us, help us in prayer and pray for and with us. There is no mention of praying to the Spirit, only about praying through the Spirit. The command is to ‘Pray to the Father, in the Son’s name’ and He will answer – the answer coming through the Holy Spirit.
We must realize that God has ‘chosen us in His Son, before anything came into being’ and He is not going to give up. He will keep knocking on the door of our hearts (Revelation 3:20) and child Samuel had to be finally guided by High Priest Eli to converse with God (1 Samuel 3:9). Gideon tested Him for proof and He patiently subjected Himself to this and confirmed (Judges 6:36-40). Saul was on his way to Damascus to persecute the believers when Lord Jesus asked him the question with the statement ‘it is hard for you to kick against the goads’ (Acts 9:5). Saul (Apostle Paul) was witness and probably an instigator for the mob that stoned Stephen. But through all the Lord was gently leading Him into His very presence while preparing him for working for His kingdom.
How do we recognize the presence or voice of God? – God guides us through a subtle interaction with our soul/conscience/spirit to reveal Himself (Romans 9:1). He does not speak with loud audible voice and “the Word is the sword of the Spirit, that can penetrate any hidden recesses in our minds” (Ephesians 6:17). The Holy Spirit uses the Word to speak to us and reminds us of certain relevant Scripture verses when we need them the most (John 16:12-14 & 14:26). Anything that is not in conformity with the Scripture cannot be from the Holy Spirit for that would be sinful and must be rejected outright. Holy Spirit teaches us to pray and also intercedes for us, thus to stay connected to Him is to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). God would readily communicate with someone who adheres to His commands and such a one will manifest “fruits of the Holy Spirit” in his daily living and the same will be visible to others (Galatians 5:22).
Prophet Elijah fled for the fear of Jezebel and reached a cave on mount Horeb to speak to God and witnessed a thunderstorm, an earthquake and fire without finding God in these. God finally spoke to him in a “still small voice” for He speaks to us through our spirit through the Holy Spirit where there is no noise but absolute quietness (1 Kings 19:12-13). Practice patience and attempt to be a good listener for God would certainly answer our pleas and He will always speak clearly without ambiguity, not in riddles/parables.
It is said about Martin Luther, the great reformist that “he searched in the Bible, knocked on the texts, shook them like the branch of a fruit bearing tree and then waited to listen to the words of comfort and reassurance to drive away his fears”. Those who desire to converse with God, search, knock on and shake the Word of God, until they hear Him speak, until He gives the long awaited answer. Daniel waited in prayer for twenty one days till Archangel Gabriel brought the answer to whisper his fears away to lead him with clear direction and fresh inspiration to strengthen and reassurance (Daniel 9:21-24).
Be still – God demands reverence, “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10). God desires full attention with a ‘full stop’ to all activities with complete attention to Him alone. Only then can we expect an answer from Him and He will listen for He cares for us and gives His ear to us. Choice remains with us to listen to His voice or not, accept His Word or not and the decision is at our peril.
Anyone who decides to converse with God to learn and obey His Word becomes like “a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not whither. In all that he does, he prospers” (Psalm 1:3). Joseph understood this and all could clearly perceive “that God was with him” and he prospered (Genesis 39:2). But we become so busy that we forget God till we are faced with some calamitous situation and may be calamities strike us for this very purpose only. If we maintain a daily conversation with God, such problems will probably not occur and He will help us to tide over these.