Updated: Apr 3
The ancient cultures considered the Jews to be a superstitious people group (among other things) because they served a God that could not be seen. The ancient world was surrounded by statues and drawings of pagan deities. However, the Jews were commanded to refrain from making any image of their God. The thought process was how could you possibly worship and serve a God that was invisible.
Consider for a moment the implications of serving an invisible God. In Genesis 3:8 we read:
"And they heard (shema) the voice of YHVH Elohim walking about in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of YHVH Elohim among the trees of the garden".
Notice that it says that they "heard the voice" of Elohim. They did not see God walking in the garden but they "heard" the voice of God. To "hear" requires listening. To "hear"(shema) in Hebrew requires not only listening/being attentive but "obedience/action" to what you have heard.
Something had changed for Adam and Eve at this point. Normally, they had been "hearing" God among them in the cool of the evening. The cool of the evening denotes the wind (ruach) that comes around the setting of the sun each day. God had not made His presence known to them by some audible voice or crashing thunder and lightning but by the quiet presence of the evening wind. Perhaps this is when they had felt His tenderness and closeness the most. (Although I think that they always felt His presence before the fall). The wind cannot be seen, it can only be felt. The consequences of strong wind can be seen. The "ruach" of God cannot be seen but only felt. Likewise, the consequences brought about by the Ruach HaKadosh can be sometimes seen.
This scenario reminds me of how Elijah went to the mountain to communicate with Elohim but He didn't show up in the thunder, lightning and earthquake, but in the still small voice which actually denotes "silence". Like Adam and Eve, Elijah had to "listen" to hear the God that speaks.
When had things changed for Adam and Eve. In Genesis 3:5-7 it is recorded:
"For Elohim knows that in the day you eat of it your EYES shall be opened, and you shall be like Elohim, knowing good and evil. And the woman SAW that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the EYES and a tree DESIRABLE to make one wise, and she took of its fruit and ate. And she gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the EYES of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made loin coverings for themselves".
Did you catch that scripture? Satan tempted Eve by telling her that her "eyes" would be opened if she ate of the fruit of the forbidden tree. Then Eve "saw" that the fruit was good and that it was pleasant to the "eyes" and it was "desirable". After they ate from the tree their "eyes" were immediately opened and they had to cover themselves.
Now sin had entered the world. Adam and Eve could now pass on to us this sinful nature where all sin falls into three categories; all having to do with "sight":
"Because all that is in the world - the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life - is not of the Father but is of the world". I John 2:16
The book of Hebrews tells us that "faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen". Prior to the fall Adam and Eve were content with "listening" for the voice of God, they didn't require their "eyes" to be satisfied or their "eyes" to tell them that He was present. It wasn't until after the fall that their "eyes" had to be satisfied and they had to learn to fight sin. It wasn't until after the fall that they felt the need to "cover" themselves. God had to kill the first animal to cover their sin.
How many times do we want to "see" our faith in God? Serving a God that you cannot see can be hard. Serving a God that "speaks" requires an intimate relationship. It requires a "knowing", a yearning, discipline of the fleshly appetite, and the ability to "believe and accept" what you cannot see.
Husband and I have been married for 35 years. I know him better than any other person on earth. Many times I know what he is going to say before he says it, and likewise, he says the same about me. The reason is because I have been "listening" to him and how he expresses himself for all these years. God expects His children to develop a relationship with Him so that they have a mindset for spiritual things, a mindset based on His Word, a mindset of wisdom and righteous living, and a mindset that recognizes how and when He has spoken. This requires much time spent before God in prayer, study of His Word and even fasting. Then one must learn to "listen". To "listen" requires quiet time before God.
There is only one word in Hebrew for "to hear", "to listen" and "to obey. That word is "shema". Prior to the fall Adam and Eve had been "listening" (shema) to their God. They heard and they obeyed. This brought a closeness/oneness with the Creator. After the fall they walked by seeing more than listening.
How is your relationship with The Creator? Do you spend time "listening" to Him or do you spend your time "looking" for God? Nurture your relationship with Him and begin to "listen" to the God who speaks. Remember, to listen and to hear means that you practice (are obedient) to what He speaks to you.
Yes, GOD DOES SPEAK! Faith is based on "hearing" not "seeing". Seeing is of the world, but "shema" is of God.
Nurture that relationship and learn to listen/obey. Here is the key - the more you listen/hear/obey (shema), the more God will speak. It is just that simple!