Introduction: Would you like to talk with God? In the abstract, I
certainly would. There are a number of topics I would like to
discuss with Him. Why is it we don’t have conversations with God? Is
it “our fault?” I’ve thought that my selfish, rebellious heart might
prefer that God’s will be a little ambiguous at times. There are
humans who have communicated with God and some of that talk found its
way into the Bible. This quarter we begin a new study and our topic
is the Bible. Since most readers of these studies first found them on
the web site, you know promoting the study of the Bible
is our mission: so let’s dive right into our study and learn more
about conversing with God!

  1. Whose Looking for Whom?

    1. Read Genesis 3:1-3. According to Eve, what is God’s
      standard for her conduct when it came to this tree? (Don’t
      eat or even touch the fruit of this tree.)

    2. Read Genesis 3:4. What is the temptation presented to Eve?
      (Trusting God. Vanity. Will she die if she eats, or will
      she become like God?)

    3. Read Genesis 3:6. Is this an accidental or a deliberate
      violation of God’s standard for Eve’s conduct?
      (Deliberate. She chose to disbelieve God and to believe
      the serpent.)

      1. If you were God, what would your reaction be to the
        sin of Eve and Adam? (I would be annoyed, to put it
        mildly. Eve, at least, does not trust me and has
        determined that I would be willing to lie to her.)

      2. In the universe of sins, how important was this one?
        (Very. It plunged the rest of us into sin!)

    4. Read Genesis 3:8-11. Based on what God does with Adam and
      Eve, how do you think God reacts to your deliberate, life-altering sins? (We see that God comes looking for Adam and
      Eve. He wants to talk with them about their sin.)

    5. Read Isaiah 59:1-2. When I was a kid, I was taught that if
      I sinned, God would not listen to my prayers. Do you think
      that is true?

      1. If you say, “no, I don’t think that is true,” what is
        wrong with that concept? (It seems to be a variation
        on the concept of righteousness by works. Instead of
        my works earning salvation, my works earn “access” to
        God’s ear.)

      2. Let’s parse these verses for a few moments. What does
        the length of God’s arm ( Isaiah 59:1)have to do with
        communicating with Him? (This is a common Old
        Testament phrase which refers to God’s power. His
        “arm” is long enough(He has enough power)for whatever
        task you have in mind. There is nothing wrong with
        God’s ability to hear you or help you.)

      3. So what is the reason why God cannot hear us,
        according to Isaiah? (The fault is ours.)

        1. Getting back to our original question, if “the
          fault is ours,” does that mean that if we sin
          God will not hear us? (Between the Genesis texts
          we looked at, and Isaiah’s comments about God’s
          arm and ear, the point is that God is willing
          and able to listen to sinners. The “equipment
          failure” is on our end. We don’t, because of our
          sins, want to hear or understand God. Remember
          in the introduction where I said sometimes my
          selfish, rebellious heart might not want to
          clearly understand God’s will? I think that is
          Isaiah’s point.)

    6. Read John 12:37-40. How had sin blocked the communication
      between Jesus and the Jewish leaders? Was Jesus unwilling
      to communicate? Had God blinded and deafened them? (Jesus
      performed miracles in their presence! It was their
      decision not to understand the communication.)

  2. Prophets

    1. In the Garden of Eden we saw that God directly
      communicated with humans. When Jesus came to this earth,
      God again directly communicated with humans. What do you
      think is the reason why God does not still communicate
      with us face to face? (It seems, based on the texts we
      have studied, that our sins and our attitudes have
      something to do with this.)

    2. Read Amos 3:7. Why would God talk to His prophets and not
      to the population generally? (The prophets must have been
      special people, although stories (like that of Jonah) make
      us wonder about how special some of them were.)

    3. Read Joel 2:28-29. Is our sin the only cause of the
      limitations on God’s conversations with humans? (In the
      end times, the Holy Spirit is going to be poured out so
      that God will again directly communicate with His people
      on a grand scale. That suggests that it is not just our
      sins that are at issue, it is God’s timing that is also at

      1. Would you expect that there would be a difference
        between the type of people spoken of in Amos 3:7 and
        those spoken of in Joel 2:28-29? (I would expect that
        the standard for being a prophet would be much higher
        in Amos’ time – unless the implication of Joel 2 is
        that the percentage of “prophet quality” people goes
        way up in the end times. In the end times, the people
        have the Bible, thus the concerns about accuracy that
        you would have if you had only a single source for
        determining God’s would be diminished.)

    4. Read 2 Peter 1:20-21. How is God’s word revealed through
      the words of the prophets recorded in the Bible? (The Holy
      Spirit leads humans to record (reveal)the will of God and
      not their own will.)

      1. Does this suggest that prophets have their writings
        dictated to them, word for word, by God? (No. The
        phrase “carried along” seems to be a cooperative
        effort between humans and the Holy Spirit to record
        the will of God.)

  3. Jesus

    1. Read Hebrews 1:1-3. In what ways has God spoken to us
      through Jesus? (Jesus’ teachings are recorded in the New
      Testament. The fact that God became man and lived with us,
      and died for us, speaks volumes about God. Jesus is the
      ultimate revelation of God.)

      1. What do you think the text means when it says that
        Jesus is “the exact representation of [God’s] being?”
        (He shows us what God is like. Jesus is a
        conversation about God.)

      2. When Hebrews 1:3 says that Jesus sustains all things
        by “his powerful word,” what does that teach us about
        God? (Only a word from God is necessary to accomplish
        the most difficult feat.)

        1. Does this suggest a serious imbalance in that
          conversation you want to have with God?

    2. Read John 14:6-8. Was Philip satisfied with Jesus’
      statement that if you knew Jesus, you would know God the
      Father? (No. He says, “Show us the Father.”)

      1. If one of Jesus’ disciples questions Jesus’
        revelation of the Father, what should we conclude on
        the issue of whether God is revealed through Jesus?
        (Read John 14:9-10. Jesus tells Philip that he should
        be paying closer attention! God the Father speaks and
        works through Jesus.)

      2. We have previously discussed how God wants to talk to
        us, but our sins and our attitudes cause us not to
        listen. What else does Philip teach us can keep us
        from having a conversation with God? (Not paying

  4. The Bible

    1. If the Bible records God’s conversations with humans, and
      you would like to talk with God, what does that suggest
      about you and the Bible? (That you should read it!)

    2. Read 2 Peter 1:19. What kind of attitude does this text
      suggest we should have towards the recorded words of the
      prophets? (Like Jesus’ statement to Philip, this tells us
      to pay attention.)

      1. When this text says the inspired words of prophets
        are like the dawn, what kind of attention does this
        suggest we should give to the Bible? (First, dawn is
        special. If we want to really see it, we watch
        carefully as it slowly becomes day. Second, at dawn
        the light becomes steadily brighter. This is a
        general principle of Bible study – by studying the
        inspired words, more and more you understand the
        truth. The light of truth is more clearly seen. If
        you keep digging, you find more treasures.)

    3. Friend, God’s words are available to you. If you want to
      hear the words of God, you need to read your Bible.
      “Reading” is more than a casual activity. The Bible tells
      us paying attention while we read, digging to understand
      God’s will, will give us greater and greater light about
      God. Today, will you start to read and dig?

  5. Next week: The Final Word.