by Kevin Burton
If you go on You Tube and read listener comments under Paul Simon’s song “Slip Sliding Away” you get comments such as, “So true it hurts.”
I mostly agree with that, as we discussed Friday on Page 7 (Of Lyrics, Destinations And Old Friends, April 17).
The song’s chorus repeats “Slip sliding away, slip sliding away, you know the nearer your destination the more you’re slip sliding away.”
The verses illustrate the point. As a songwriter, Simon has few peers. This song is among his best. But it holds together only if your worldview goes no higher than the clouds, if you make no room for the living God.
Near the end of Slip Sliding Away, Simon includes the lyric, “God only knows. God makes his plan. The information’s unavailable to the mortal man.”
It’s dangerous to let those words stand unchallenged, because your eternal destiny is at stake. God makes his plan abundantly available.
A.W. Tozer, in his 1948 book The Pursuit of God, devotes a chapter to God’s manner of communication with humans. He begins by quoting John 1.1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
You will note the capital W in Word. That refers to Jesus as “the Word of God.”
Tozer writes “An intelligent plain man, untaught in the truths of Christianity, coming upon this text, would likely conclude that John meant to teach that it is the nature of God to speak, to communicate his thoughts to others. And he would be right,”
Tozer describes God as “continuously articulate.”
“God’s word in the Bible can have power only because it corresponds to God’s Word in the universe,” Tozer wrote. “It is the present Voice which makes the written word all-powerful. Otherwise it would lie locked in slumber within the covers of a book.”
The Bible and the guidance of the Holy Spirit are the main ways but not the only ways God Speaks. I will not try here to cover them all. But God speaks through our conscience, through nature, sometimes through circumstances and other people.
“If you’re ever in a conversation with a friend and they say something that is consistent with scripture and speaks directly to a situation you’re in or something you’ve been wrestling through, that’s the voice of God. You are hearing him speak through your friend,” Perry Noble, pastor of NewSpring Church in Anderson, SC told The Christian Post.
Pastor and Author Ben Godwin in a 2018 article for The Mountain Eagle newspaper, wrote of the many ways besides the Bible that God speaks to men.
Godwin points to Psalm 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows his handiwork.”
“The vastness of space and the complexity of nature testify to God’s intelligent design. You can hear the Creator’s voice in a bubbling brook, in the song of a bird, in the wind whistling through the trees and in a baby’s cry.” Godwin said.
Scripture has a warning for those who reject God’s words and ignore the evidence found in nature and elsewhere.
Romans 1:18-20 states, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness. Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shown it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.”
Tozer said, “Even those persons who have never heard of the Bible have still been preached to with sufficient clarity to remove every excuse from their hearts forever.”
The reason one might have that empty slip sliding away feeling was explained in the 1600s by Blaise Pascal. He was a French mathematician, inventor, physicist, writer and theologian.
Pascal wrote “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of each man which cannot be satisfied by any created thing but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ.”