by Leigh Ann Dilley on July 14, 2021
Are you looking for an answer from God on something you have been struggling with for a while? Maybe it’s not an actual problem that needs action, perhaps it’s just an answer to a question you have been thinking about. Do you every wish God would speak to you more clearly?
Jesus loved to teach in parables. I’ve never been good at figuring out answers to riddles, so the thought of learning something through a parable terrifies me. However, the design and intent of a parable is to use a simple story to make people think about the things they know, and then discover something new or “hidden” they didn’t previously know or understand. Knowledge is revealed in layers like the peeling of an onion as we ponder their meaning. Parables represent a large portion of Jesus teachings in the Bible.
Why would Jesus teach in parables and not just say things outright?
In Matthew 13:11, Jesus answers this for his disciples when explaining the parable of the four soils. He said: The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. As believers, we have what we need to hear God. It takes discernment and a necessary search for God to receive His answers. God wants us to search for him but in no way is God trying to hide from us. Think of it as training in the process of discovery.
Next, Jesus explains that through these parables he is fulfilling a prophesy from Isaiah; essentially people will have eyes but do not see, and ears but do not hear or understand. If they did, they would turn to Jesus and Jesus would heal them. Sadly, unbelievers do not have the ability to hear or see God clearly.
Jesus continues in Matthew 13:16-17 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it. I love it whenever I hear Jesus say “I tell you the truth”. It does something to the soul.
If you think about it, Jesus’ use of parables is consistent with how God speaks to us. We shouldn’t be surprised by this, after all, they are part of the same trinity. The truth is revealed to us when we are ready to hear it. Through the process of discovery, we identify and personalize the truth. God did not hide the truth; but it is hard to deny the joy we have in the “aha moment”.
The next time you are searching for something from God, prayerfully dig into the Bible. You will find the answer you are seeking. That’s His promise. His spirit will speak to your spirit by ways of a conviction, meaning an internal discomfort or an identifiable agreement. The next step is the most difficult. Will you believe and obey what you discovered? James 1:22 says Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Priscilla Shirer says: God does not speak to be heard, he speaks to be obeyed.
By putting yourself into a place of obedience, you are putting your self in a position of discovery: to hear and discern God’s voice more clearly.