In recent days I have heard heartbreaking news of mothers who have murdered their own children because they thought God was telling them to do so. How would one know if God was speaking to them or not? How do you test such a thing?
“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.” 1 John 4:1-3
No one can recognize God if they do not know who He is and what He is about. But how do we learn these things? The only way I know of is through a steady and thorough feeding on the Word of God, the Holy Bible. Through the scriptures we can glean a wealth of knowledge about the characteristics of this Holy God who longs to call us His children. His love, I have learned, is greater than any other love that we can possibly know on this earth.
Did these women hear from God? Did God tell them to kill their own children? I do not believe so. How could I possibly know that? I am confident of what I have learned about God in my studies to date. I am still learning. I imagine I will always be learning since a lifetime is not nearly enough to hold all the knowledge about our God. But I can say this for certain, actions such as these women took go against the very character of our Lord. Would God really tell someone to commit such a heinous act? The only incident of God telling someone to kill their child was with Abraham and Isaac. For those of you shocked by that last sentence, please bear with me as I explain my understanding of this event. The story is found in Genesis, chapter 22. The Lord God tested Abraham by telling him to sacrifice his only son as a burnt offering. Abraham and Sarah were very old when the Lord blessed them with this boy. They knew he was a gift from God. I can imagine that Abraham would have been quite confused and troubled to hear such a directive from the Giver of that precious gift. But Abraham loved God and was obedient, following the directions given. I believe God wanted to test Abraham to see if he loved God more than the gift. When God saw that, yes, Abraham was obedient even to the point of giving up such a valuable treasure, the test was over. Isaac was not killed because the Lord intervened. I do not remember reading about any other instance of God instructing a parent to kill their own child. The story of Abraham and Isaac is a complex one and perhaps difficult for some to fully understand. Who can know the mind of God? I surely would not claim to understand all He asks or does. But I do know that I can learn about His character through comprehensive study and with the help of the Holy Spirit to reveal what I need to see. Isaac’s actual death would have served no useful purpose. Abraham was to become the father of many nations. Love for and obedience to the great I AM was vital for the beginning of God's chosen people. God's plan, we now see, included Isaac. The actions leading up to the point of sacrifice was the test, not the actual murder of the child. I do not believe God would EVER demand us to take the life of any of our children.
God does nothing without purpose. We don’t always know what that purpose is, but He does. By becoming familiar with His character, we can trust Him to always do what is right and good. Unlike any other book in history, the Holy Bible is alive and there is more to learn from it than what a single reading can accomplish. It is a valuable treasure that is worth a lifetime of study. Dig deep, study often, learn about the wonderful and complex character of God, you will never regret it!
Bible study and prayer is the most effective way to know Truth. Without Truth as our anchor as we journey through life, we are subject to being thrown off course by all kinds of lies that swirl throughout the storms of life. The lies are even present in the calm times in our lives. Christ’s own words tells us that Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44). The most dangerous lies are not always the most obvious. As most sailors or pilots know, even the smallest error in navigation can make a huge difference in where you end up. The only way to recognize a lie is to know the truth. Not just know it...but know it as intimately as you know your own body. Only then can we recognize even the most subtle of lies and reject them all. Daniel’s prophecies tell us “With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.” Daniel 11:32 Not having spent much time on prophecy study, I am not sure exactly who the “he” is in this verse, but it is someone who will oppose God and those belonging to His covenant. The only way to know God is to spend time with Him, studying His Word and communicating with Him through prayer. This is the most vital link we have to keep us steady and effective in our God-given task to show this hurting and dying world that God loves them and has provided a way to eternal life and peace for them (Matthew 28:18-20). Yet, it is often the most neglected. Why is it so easy to neglect that which is best for us? We need to be sure to keep our connection to the Lord strong and healthy so that we are not deceived by the half-truths and subtle little lies that could take us down a path to destruction. Our relationship with the Lord is the most important relationship we can ever have and truly the most beneficial. I have seen clearly that blessings come from obedience and this affects not only our lives but the lives of our children and their children after them. Let's make sure it is truly the Lord's voice we are following and not something or someone else sent to lead us astray.
Thanks for sharing the journey with me as I sort these thoughts out.