Signs and Confirmations
If you’re trying to learn how to hear from God, sooner or later, you’re going to want confirmation that what you received was from Him.
There are many Bible examples that reveal that learning to hear from God takes practice. Samuel, one of the major Bible prophets, didn’t recognize God’s voice and needed his teacher to tell him that the voice that he had heard was God. Like Samuel, Gideon had also heard from God but he wasn’t sure it was Him and so he asked God for a sign. Last but not least, the premier example of someone seeking confirmation from God was Abraham, the father of faith.
After these events, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision:
“Do not be afraid, Abram.
I am your shield,
But Abram replied, “O Lord GOD, what can You give me, since I remain childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” Abram continued, “Behold, You have given me no offspring, so a servant in my household will be my heir.”
Then the word of the LORD came to Abram, saying, “This one will not be your heir, but one who comes from your own body will be your heir.” And the LORD took him outside and said, “Now look to the heavens and count the stars, if you are able.” Then He told him, “So shall your offspring be.”
Abram believed the LORD, and it was credited to him as righteousness.b
The LORD also told him, “I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.”
But Abram replied, “Lord GOD, how can I know that I will possess it?”
And the LORD said to him, “Bring Me a heifer, a goat, and a ram, each three years old, along with a turtledove and a young pigeon.”
So Abram brought all these to Him, split each of them down the middle, and laid the halves opposite each other. The birds, however, he did not cut in half. And the birds of prey descended on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away. As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and suddenly great terror and darkness overwhelmed him.
Then the LORD said to Abram, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. But I will judge the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will depart with many possessions. You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a ripe old age. In the fourth generation your descendants will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”
When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, behold, a smoking firepot and a flaming torch appeared and passed between the halves of the carcasses. On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your descendants I have given this land—from the river of Egypt to the great River Euphrates— the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites.”
Believers talk a lot about “confirmation” because it’s important to us to follow God and we want to know for sure that we are hearing from Him and not from our own desires or imaginations (or, worse yet, from the ‘adversary’.) As a result, many of us often find ourselves seeking confirmation.
God’s people are supposed to be moving in spiritual things. The Old Testament is full of examples of exactly how to hear from God. It’s a blueprint for knowing Him because God hasn’t changed. He still works in all the same ways that the Old Testament describes and those examples are the key to communicating with God. The examples within the Bible reveal that God spoke to people face to face, out loud, in dreams, through visions, through angels, through revelations, and through signs.
For God’s people, the only difference between now and the Old Testament times is that we are under a new covenant in which God’s spirit is poured out on all flesh. Back in the day, those who received His spirit and heard from Him were few and far between. But Jeremiah 31 promised that we would each know God as part of the New Covenant so, in today’s world, each person can expect to hear from God exactly as the patriarchs and prophets did in the past.
Acts 2 / Joel 2:28-30
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.
29 Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
This means God’s people should be moving in spiritual things and communicating with Him the way that the Patriarchs did. Sometimes hearing from God is crystal clear, but other times God speaks in what people call ‘the still small voice.’ The still small voice is easily missed because it isn’t really a voice at all but more of a spiritual whisper which is very easy to doubt because hearing from God isn’t always as clear as speaking with someone face to face. Like the patriarchs of old, when this happens we pray for confirmation or a sign so that we can be sure that we clearly heard what God said.
Judges 6 – Gideon Gets a Sign
34 So the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon…
36 Then Gideon said to God, “If You are going to save Israel by my hand, as You have said, 37 then behold, I will place a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that You are going to save Israel by my hand, as You have said.”
38 And that is what happened. When Gideon arose the next morning, he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew — a bowlful of water.
39 Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me; let me speak one more time. Please allow me one more test with the fleece. This time let it be dry, and the ground covered with dew.”
40 And that night God did so. Only the fleece was dry, and dew-covered the ground.
Gideon hesitated and sought confirmation from God because of the potential destruction that could have transpired if it was not truly God leading him into battle. Gideon asked for a sign because he wanted to make sure that he was following God. And God was more than willing to oblige him because asking God for confirmation to avoid making a major mistake is not a bad thing. On the contrary, being certain that we are following God is the wisest thing that we can do.
A Lady & A Sign
When God gives me a message for someone, He often only gives me the first piece or a single sentence. If I don’t deliver that part, I don’t need to know anymore. Once I deliver the first part, if there is more information to be given, He sends more.
One night, Jeremiah decided he wanted to play a game of billiards, so off we went. As soon as we arrived at the billiards place, I went straight to the ladies’ room. On my way back to where Jeremiah was at the registration desk, I noticed a couple standing by a wall in what seemed like a deep conversation. As soon as I saw them, I suddenly had a strong word in my spirit, saying, “The answer is yes.” Instantly, I made a sharp right turn and walked straight over to where they were standing, and said, “Hi, I hope this doesn’t seem too bizarre … but I’m supposed to tell you, ‘The answer is, yes.'”
At this point, that was all that I knew but, as soon as I said it, both sets of the two pairs of eyes staring at me widened noticeably.
Then, God gave me more so I turned to the lady, and said, “You really love God.”
She replied, “Yes, I do!”, with so much conviction that I could feel it in my bones.
Then, God revealed that this woman went through something awful. It was so bad that it was preventing her from having a committed relationship with the man standing next to her.
So to him, I said, “She was in a terrible relationship. It was just bad, bad, bad, and she never, ever, ever, wants to go through that again.”
Then, God said and I relayed in my own words, “But this guy is not that guy.”
At which point, the gentleman boiled over with enthusiasm, and said, “Man! Wow!! Just wow!!! It’s like I’m paying you to say all of this!!!!”
God knew her thoughts, which probably were, Did he pay her? So, then God revealed that she had asked Him for a sign that it was safe to proceed with this relationship.
I was stunned, and it was obvious by my tone when I said to her, “You asked God for a sign.”
“Yes, I did!!” she replied, her eyes as wide as saucers.
Now, my eyes widened because it suddenly dawned on me that the only reason we are at this billiard hall, at this exact moment, is because this lady asked God for a sign and He sent us by inspiring us to play a game of billiards.
Then, God ended it with a final message: “Here’s your sign.”
I’ll never forget this couple and the way God spectacularly reached out to help this lady to overcome a horrific past so that she could have a beautiful future.
If you need confirmation, follow the Bible’s examples and ask. God promised to direct our steps. He will send the comfort and guidance that we need if we humble ourselves and ask. So, don’t feel bad about asking God for a sign because it’s Biblical and God answers. And sometimes the sign is pretty dang cool.