1 ¶ God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways,
2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.
These passages tell us that in days past God spoke in the prophets in many portions and in many ways. But now He has spoken to us in His Son. Jesus Christ becomes all that God will ever have to say to us. God is expressed through the revelation of the Son. There is no such thing as God “speaking” apart from Jesus Christ being revealed. This all goes to the heart of what it means for God to “speak.” Christians constantly use the phrase, “The Lord told me this, the Lord told me that.” God speaking is more than conveying information. If our experience of God speaking only consists of information conveyed, we still remain in the shallow end of the pool. As we shall see, this is not meant as a putdown, but as an encouragement. If we love the Lord at all, we are constantly wanting Him to speak. But the term “speak” needs to be thrown out, or at least redefined. When we go through times of blessing and revelation, or gaining some insight, we say God is speaking. But when there are periods of hardship or struggle, and we cannot sense the blessing, we tend to say God is silent. Many times Christians will even blame these times on Satan. They will say they are being battled, or that the devil is trying to rob them of their blessing. When we have periods where we feel deeply our need for more of God, that is God “speaking” too. When we feel as if God is millions of miles away, that too is God speaking. The Lord is ever attempting to draw us into a deeper involvement with Himself. Speaking must be defined as God revealing Himself, not conveying information.
3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
4 God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.
5 God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
According to these passages, and throughout the Scriptures, the Jewish day begins at sunset, not with the rising of the sun. A day runs from sunset to sunset. Christianity tends to have a half-day relationship with the Lord. What does this statement mean? Too many Christians relate to the Lord only in the daylight hours. It is perpetually preached in Christianity that God wants nothing more than to bless everyone and to make us feel as happy as possible. Christians are constantly told that if they are “right with God” they should be reaping constant blessings. In the daylight hours we perceive His blessings and rejoice in hearing God “speak.” But according to our passages in Genesis, the evening is the first part of the day. It is in the evening, or hours of darkness, that God does His work in us. We do not grow spiritually while basking in blessings; we grow when we are seemingly alone in the darkness and grappling with God. This concept is foreign to most of Christianity. When we feel deeply our own need it is God speaking. When we feel miserable and cry to the Lord for more of His life to be manifested in us, this too is God speaking in us. Can we understand this concept? God speaking is Him revealing Himself, not just conveying information. This is why it was stated that finding ourselves in the shallow end of the pool is not a putdown. The statement is an encouragement because it makes us realize God is speaking to us much more than we realize. The problem is not recognizing His voice because we have been taught only the daylight hours of a relationship with God. Feeling consternation is normal. Having times of despair is also normal. Wanting to rip our Adamic hearts out and throw them from us is normal. All of these things are normal when God is “speaking” in a full day relationship. These seemingly negative experiences are designed to drive us into a deeper appropriation of God. Our spirits do not appropriate in times of blessing, they appropriate in times of desperation and hunger. It is God’s way of driving us deeper into Himself. We have a perfect example of this in the story of Jacob wrestling with the angel of the Lord.
22 Now he arose that same night and took his two wives and his two maids and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok.
23 He took them and sent them across the stream. And he sent across whatever he had.
24 ¶ Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.
25 When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him.
26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” But he said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
27 So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.”
28 He said, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.”
29 Then Jacob asked him and said, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And he blessed him there.
30 So Jacob named the place Peniel, for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved.”
31 Now the sun rose upon him just as he crossed over Penuel, and he was limping on his thigh.
Notice verse 22. It begins “Now he arose that same night . . .” And then verse 24 says, “Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.” It was in the darkness that Jacob wrestled with the Lord. All through the night the wrestling match continued. The angel of the Lord told Jacob, “Let me go for the dawn is breaking.” But Jacob would not let go. It was then that the Lord told Jacob that he had prevailed with both God and man. The Lord then changed Jacob’s name to Israel. Israel means “God prevails.” The name change is symbolic of a change in nature. Jacob entered into the divine realm through his wrestling with the Lord. Verse 31 says it all. Now the sun rose upon him just as he crossed over Penuel, and he was limping on his thigh.
The metamorphosis from Jacob to Israel took place in the hours from sunset to sunrise. We too must learn to relate and wrestle with the Lord during the same hours. If we are only half-day Christians, we will never know the true blessings of sonship. Maturity only comes in the evening hours of the day. The dawning of the day is the time of revealing what God has wrought in us. But the work that He does in His sons is done in secret, in the darkness. We want to be full-day sons. To do so, we must throw off the false teachings of Christianity that tell us we are only hearing God “speak” when blessings are flowing. Instead of trying to figure out what is wrong with us when we don’t readily perceive God, we are to reach a little further and recognize that inability to perceive is actually God speaking as well. Christians have been bamboozled by false teachings until the capacity to really grow in God has been taken away. False teachers have made it seem that we must have displeased God in some way if we don’t always “feel blessed.” Too many Christians have been robbed of their true heritage in God. There cannot be day without there also being night. There cannot be victory without there first being conflict. The conflict is the struggle between Adam, the old nature, and Christ, the new nature, to be formed in us. The false teachings of religion tell us “Oh, we are already complete in Christ.” Yes, but only in provision, not experientially. Coming experientially into Christ’s nature involves conflict as evidenced by Jacob’s wrestle with the angel of the Lord. Peter tell us in 1st Pet. 4:
12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you;
13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.
The fiery ordeals of the Lord are strange fire in false Christianity. If we are yet unfamiliar with relating to the Lord in the dark half of the day, we should take courage and demand it from the Lord. But be prepared to wrestle! Only the darkness prepares us for the manifested victories to come our way at the rising of the sun.