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Most of the articles on these WebPages have been written by godly men with a central belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. However as with most of us, they may have different beliefs concerning some particular doctrines. These articles have been made available for the purpose of “gleaning the good” where good can be found. I do not necessarily endorse all that is written by others, anymore than I expect others to endorse all that I write.

   Morning Thoughts by Elder Philip Conley

Deuteronomy 5:24, "And ye said, Behold, the LORD our God hath shewed us his glory and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth."

This morning, one of the traits of man that sets him apart from rest of the creation is the ability to have in-depth conversations with his fellowman about a variety of subjects. Animals communicate with each other, but not on the intelligent level that man is capable of conversing. Seizing upon this ability at different opportunities and seasons, man can learn things from his fellowman, have encouraging moments with others, be pleasantly entertained, and perhaps most overlooked, interact in the rich depth of logical progression and thought. In this last category, regenerate children of God have an "added gear" of conversation topics in that we can probe and discuss in the rich depths of God's word to bring up the nuggets that are planted there to delight in God's glory and learn more about the Majestic One that has seen fit to take pity upon us and bring us up from sin to where He sits and dwells in righteousness. In this extra gear of conversation, we find another even more overlooked field of conversation that many of us (God's children) fail to seize upon in our lives and walks.

In this passage (yea book) of Deuteronomy, Moses is recounting all that the LORD God had done for the children of Israel from Egypt to Canaan's Land. He led them about, fed them, kept them, and chastised them when necessary. However, during all of this, the children of Israel saw the glory of God manifested in many different ways and heard His awesome voice in the wilderness. During the times of His giving the tables of stone, appearing in the fire and cloud, and speaking with audible voice, the children of Israel declare that God did "talk with man, and he liveth." The children of Israel then had multiple proofs that God lived and not the very least of which was that He talked with them. If someone were to ask the children of Israel, "How do you know your God lives and does all these things?" they could quickly reply with any of the many different things listed here, but God talking with them was a certain proof of His life and power in their lives.

Considering the contrast between them today and us now, we do not have literal tables of stone written upon by the very finger of God. However, we do have the written word of God that was inspired by His Spirit upon holy men of old to pen these things. (II Peter 1:19-20) What we have in the printed word is no less awesome and powerful than Moses's tablets, for God directly moved in both cases. Just as they could point to those tablets as proof, so can we point to our Bibles as proof today. God also appeared in the cloud and fire unto them. With no literal cloud and fire walking with us today, we do not have exactly the same thing, but consider that His presence has led us thus far through the various scenes and seasons in our lives. While our times change often, His changeless nature and providence have kindly led us thus far in our lives. (Isaiah 43:2)

When the LORD appeared to them then, He talked with them, and when the LORD appears to us by His Spirit today, He talks with us. It is this proof of God's work in our lives that we wish to examine and see where we can improve our efforts in fulfilling our duty of love unto Him. When the LORD talked with man on this and other occasions in the wilderness, He spoke at many different times and different ways for different reasons. Sometimes, His voice was spoken in harsh judgment for their wrongdoings. Sometimes, His voice was that of approval as He descended upon the mercy seat to visit with them in tabernacle. So also today, His still, small voice is heard in our hearts, ears, and consciences for pleasantness when we follow after Him and for chastisement when we stray from Him.

Looking at this word "talk" from our verse above, there are many different connotations that could all fit with our thoughts today. The first connotation for this word is to speak in a declarative manner. Sometimes, the Lord's voice is not heard for any other reason than to declare what is already so. As the Father's voice thundered from the heavens at Jesus's baptism, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased," it declared what was already so. When He speaks in our minds and hearts to say, "I have loved thee with an everlasting love," (Jeremiah 33:3) it is declaring what is already so. As we hear the glorious gospel heralded at His house, we should hear things declared that are true, regardless of what happens and no matter what comes.

The second connotation for this word is to command. When the Lord speaks to His children, many times there is a command given. This is not declarative in nature, but rather it is a command with consequential conditions brought forth. As He sets before us life and good, and death and evil, there is the command to choose the life. (Deuteronomy 30:15-16) While the statement has conditions: good and evil, with associated consequences: life and death, there is still the command of which to choose and take. Obviously, we are never commanded to choose heaven, for that is declarative of what He has done for us. But, He commands us through conditions here in His talking with us.

Another connotation for this word is to promise. Just as the LORD promised them that they would leave Egypt (by the mouth of Joseph in Genesis 50) and it came to pass, so the LORD has promised us through His word that He will come again and take us home to be with Him some sweet day. As we draw every day closer to home, we should keep this thought in frame and speak of it often. Just as the LORD made promises through prophesy then that we have seen come to fruition, so also will the remaining promises that we see not yet manifest come to pass some sweet day. (II Corinthians 1:20)

Finally, this word talk has a connotation of conversing. It is this vein of thought that we wish to really dig into and see how it is that we should be daily speaking. One of the amazing things to me about myself and those around me is that we plunge headlong so often into conversation threads that we know from past experience will make us depressed, yet we proceed ahead anyway. People today are depressed talking about politics, finances, health problems, etc, etc, yet we continue to hear these topics raised again and again. One of my favourite past times is to go online and see what the most searched items of the day are. Quite often the case is that people are feverishly searching out those stories and conversations that are full of the anxiety and deplorable state of things today. Has someone been found out in a scandal? Are things in government going badly? Have tragedies ravaged the country and world? If they have, they are sure winners in the popularity of search topics.

We have the unsearchable depth of opportunity to speak of the greatest things that will ever be with the greatest One there is. We have the blessed privilege of talking (conversing) with God. Indeed, there are times when we need to, as Job did, cover our mouths and listen to His declarations, heed His commands, and delight in His promises. But, dear friends, on a day to day basis, we have the blessed privilege of drawing near unto Him to converse as friend with friend. Quite unlike the children of Israel in that day, we can go directly while they sent Moses as their intercessor and mediator. We today have One that is our Mediator, Prophet, Priest, and Friend that can (as God and man) speak with us and to us.

How many times a day do we converse with Him? In our prayers we humbly pour out our hearts in thanksgiving for His grace and earnest desire for His blessing. In our songs, we lift up His matchless name with every chord in our heart ringing out to Him. Yet, what about conversation? Do we speak with Him? The children of Israel made the statement that one of the foremost reasons that they knew He lived was that He talked (conversed) with them. Moses talked with God as a man could converse with his friend. (Exodus 33) Can we not daily pause and draw nigh to Him and speak as friend with friend? I have often sat in silence and missed those blessed times to converse with Him. Quite often, things were not silent around me as the noises of the world were caving in at every turn and course. Yet, His presence was there, and I knew it not.

As we pray unto Him, we need to have the reverence and awe that He deserves. As we seek His face in His courts, we need to, at times, keep silence before Him. (Habakkuk 2:20) As we sing, we need to ring true and clear of His grace unto us. Yet, daily as we walk and struggle, we need to talk with Him to avoid the doldrums of life's depression. When those around us open up topics of depression, may we open up our ears and mouths to speak with our God and hear His gentle whisper in our ear. He will definitely command us when necessary, declare unto us good things and true, chastise us when we stray, and make good on all His promises. Yet, He will converse with us, but a conversation requires a two-party effort. Just one speaker is a monologue, but talking with God is a conversation. When the question comes, "How do you know your God lives?" May we answer, "I speak with Him often as He talks with me." (Isaiah 30:21)

In Hope,

Bro Philip