(By Crystal Holmes)
How does God lead His people? Is it laying something on their hearts? Is it by speaking to them directly? Is it by some other method?
You might think you are pleasing to God because He frequently “lays things on your heart” (a concept not even in the Bible) or because you have daily conversations with Him. But how do you KNOW it is really the Lord God speaking to you – and NOT your own thoughts or even the thoughts of Satan? In short, how do you TRY the spirits?
1 John 4:1. Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
John instructs his readers to try the spirits and doctrines coming into the church. Why? Because MANY FALSE PROPHETS are gone out into the world – and into the church! Paul echoes John’s thoughts in
1 Thessalonians 5:21. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
Prove ALL things. Prove what the “good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” is (Romans 12:2). If what you hear or think you are being led to do is contrary to the law of God, then what you’re hearing is not from God.
Isaiah 8:20. To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
God LOOKS on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7), but does He LAY things on the heart? A thorough study indicates that He DOES NOT LAY things on people’s hearts – at least not in the sense that most mainstream “Christians” mean. Most “Christians” will claim that when, for example, they come to a crossroads in life and have to make a decision, that God “laid it on their heart” to choose the path they did, when in reality they just chose the path that suited their own carnal desires. While this is talked about in much of mainstream Christianity, God does not lead people this way. However, God does command YOU to lay things to heart:
Deuteronomy 11:18. Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.
God commands man to “lay up” His words in his heart. What does it mean to lay something to heart? Note what God says about His people:
Isaiah 42:20, 24-25. Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he heareth not…. Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers? did not the LORD, he against whom we have sinned? for they would not walk in his ways, neither were they obedient unto his law. Therefore he hath poured upon him the fury of his anger, and the strength of battle: and it hath set him on fire round about, yet he knew not; and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart.
God said they were seeing many things, but observing NOTHING! They were hearing, but they weren’t LISTENING! So God gave them as a prey to their enemies. Evil befell them. Israel was on fire, but didn’t know he was being burned. And being burned, he didn’t CONSIDER WHY. From this example, you should be able to see that laying something to heart simply means to THINK about it, to CONSIDER it, and to REMEMBER it.
Not only does God command you to keep His law in your heart and in your mind, He sends a curse on you if you don’t!
Malachi 2:2. If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the LORD of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart.
If you are not keeping God’s commandments – as outlined in the Old Testament – then no matter what you think God has laid on your heart, God is NOT speaking to you, and He is actually cursing you!
While God commands you on pain of a curse to consider and observe His commandments, He also PUTS (not LAYS) some things in the hearts of those who do His commandments. Note a few examples to illustrate just WHAT God puts in the hearts of men:
God puts it into the heart of wise, obedient, knowledgeable men to teach their manner of workmanship:
Exodus 35:30-31, 34. And Moses said unto the children of Israel, See, the LORD hath called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship; …And he [God] hath put in his [Bezaleel’s] heart that he may teach, both he, and Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan.
God also puts wisdom into the hearts of men. However, remember that “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10). This means that if you are not keeping the commandments (fearing the Lord), then you CANNOT have God’s wisdom in your heart, and you CANNOT have knowledge of the holy! For examples of where God put wisdom into the hearts of those that feared and sought Him, see Exodus 36:1-2 (Bezaleel, Aholiab, et al.), 1 Kings 10:24 and 2 Chronicles 9:23 (Solomon).
God has put it into the hearts of kings and prophets following Him to rebuild Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:12) and beautify the house of the Lord there (Ezra 7:27).
Before all is said and done, God will put a new heart into men, whereupon He will write His laws. He will put His fear in them, and they will have a new spirit – one that delights in following Him by keeping His laws.
Jeremiah 31:33, 32:40. But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people…. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.
So, if you’re not keeping God’s laws, God is not leading you. But if you are keeping God’s laws, then what He lays on your heart will be His laws – with a deeper understanding of what they mean in His plan.
Not keeping God’s laws means that you have SEPARATED yourself from God, and you are serving an IDOL! Not only is God NOT leading you, He is not even LISTENING TO YOU!
Ezekiel 14:3, 7. Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquired of at all by them? For every one of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel, which separateth himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet to enquire of him concerning me; I the LORD will answer him by myself:
God does not lead people by laying things on their hearts. You are to lay His commandments on your own heart, and if you are not keeping His commandments, then when you say something is coming from God, you are a LIAR and a FALSE PROPHET!
Jeremiah 23:16, 26.Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD.How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart;
The ultimate test of a false prophet was to wait and see if the prophecy came to pass. If it didn’t, then the people could be certain that that prophet was not sent by God.
Deuteronomy 18:22. When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.
This type of test allows NO ROOM for things like, “Well, the Lord laid it on my heart (or told me this), and I guess He changed His mind.” NO! When you speak contrary to the law of God, the Lord has not spoken by you!
Jeremiah 9:3. And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the LORD.
You would rather have smooth, deceitful things. Things that “lift people up.” Things that “bless others.” But things that contradict the very God you claim to be serving!
Isaiah 30:10. Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:
God will not always say good things to you. In fact, most of His speaking in the Bible is NEGATIVE!! And its purpose is to “discover your iniquity and turn away your captivity” to sin (Lamentation 2:14). Yet false prophets will speak well of you and try to speak “words of encouragement” or something that will “lift you up.”
Luke 6:26. Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.
If you are not keeping God’s commandments, then God CANNOT be leading you, and He CANNOT be “laying things on your heart” because what He lays there is His law. He CANNOT speak to you directly because He DOESN’T LIKE YOU! Your sins have separated between you and Him (Isaiah 59:2). God HATES sin! So He will not be enquired of by you. Speaking when the Lord has not spoken is doing the work of the Lord deceitfully and earns you a curse:
Jeremiah 48:10. Cursed be he that doeth the work of the LORD deceitfully….
Further, if you are to be part of the remnant of God, you cannot do ANY iniquity (Zephaniah 3:13). No speaking lies and no deceit in your tongue. You can’t say, “The Lord said” when the Lord has not said. You can’t assume He’s leading you just because you want to continue in your sin and PRETEND you’re doing what God wants. God will have none of that!
Only when you KNOW the law of the Lord and KEEP IT can God speak to you and lead you.