In most of the world today, it is very easy to find God’s Word, which is where we find His will. Bibles are plentiful and produced in many different languages and formats. But what did people do to find God’s will before the Word was written down? The answers are found in the Bible itself.
God, who at sundry times [various times] and in divers manners [varied ways] spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets.
This verse tells us that in time past, God used varied ways to communicate His Word to people. Let’s start at the beginning.
And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
First, God had His Word written in the stars. The names of the celestial bodies and their positioning in the sky all have significance. They are for signs, marking someone significant to come, and for seasons, periods of time in God’s timetable. They declare the glory of God and show knowledge. God taught Adam the names of the stars and what they represented. Adam taught his children, who taught their children, and so on. For generations men and women passed down the knowledge of God, His love, and His plan of redemption through an understanding of the stars.
Another way that God communicated His Word to people before it was written down was by way of spirit upon certain individuals. Let’s look at this record of Moses to understand this concept better.
And the Lord said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee.
And I will come down and talk with thee there: and I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone.
God is Spirit, and for God to communicate with man, man needs God’s spirit (John 4:24, I Corinthians 2:10-16). God had placed spirit upon Moses to be able to tell him how to lead His people. Because Moses needed help, God took of the spirit that Moses had and put it upon the other leaders. That way, God could communicate with them also.
God placed spirit upon other people in the Old Testament as well for special missions at special times. The spirit that they had upon them was to a limited degree or upon a condition according to the need. The difference between then and now is that the gift of holy spirit that we receive when we are born again is within us, without measure, and cannot be removed or taken away! It is incorruptible seed (I Peter 1:23). Once we are born again by confessing Jesus as lord in our lives and believing that God raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9,10), we can have fellowship with God every day. We have a point of contact with God and can communicate directly with Him via the holy spirit within us. Nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38,39).
God has never left His people without a way to find answers and direction in life. Even before the Word was written down, God communicated His will to mankind through the stars in the sky and by way of spirit upon certain individuals. God provided His Word in varied ways throughout the ages because He is a loving, caring Father Who wants only the best for His people.