Book review: Guidance and the Voice of God
Posted: 29 August 2016
Our lives are full of decisions. Who should I marry? What job should I take? What should I study? Where should I live? Should I ask someone out? Is it the right time to try to have children? Where should I give my money? Should I go to an overseas mission field? What should I do next?
These are just some of the decisions that each of us are facing right now. And while the Bible doesn’t seem to have specific instructions on how to choose your next job (for example), we get the sense that God should guide our decision-making process. But how exactly does that happen? If I pray, should I expect to hear an audible voice from God telling me what to do in every situation? Will he tell me: Take this job, not that one; marry this person, not that one; go to this party, not that one? I’ve heard of a young man who once thought that God spoke to him, saying that he would marry a particular young lady. But when he asked her out, she politely informed him that God had neglected to tell her of anything of the sort!
Yet the Bible claims to contain in it everything we need for life and godliness – and this is the premise of the book, Guidance and the Voice of God, by Phillip Jensen and Tony Payne. This book isn’t packed full of stories, but it is fairly easy to read, and it’s not too long. It’s a modern classic, still selling fresh copies thirty years on from when it was first published. It’s a book that points us back to the Bible, again and again, calling us to let it guide our thinking and behaviour.
One of the central arguments of the book is that the Bible tells us what matters matter. We come to the Bible with all our questions about jobs and relationships and places to live. But the Bible comes back at us with God’s agenda, telling us that God isn’t as interested in those questions as we are. God is more interested that you are honest than that you find the most fulfilling job – that’s a modern privilege that isn’t assumed in the Bible. God is more interested in you reflecting his character of humility than he is in which specific person you think you should marry. God is more interested in your life of faith than he is in getting you a house in Surry Hills.
The real strength of Guidance and the Voice of God is this call, consistently applied, to let the Bible reshape the things that matter to us, and so take the stress out of deciding between things that are of lesser importance. If you’ve never read it, I recommend it to you. Get it for just $15 from our book stall after church services, or from a Christian bookstore (hard copy or ebook)