The title of this week”s study, “The Voice from Heaven,” might at first lead one to think about the heavenly voice that was heard at the baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3:17; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22). But as important as that event was in Christ”s ministry, the lesson has a much different reference in mind and one far more important to us as sinners. What voice is it? It is the voice of God, the voice that calls us to return to him. The voice that was first heard some 6,000 years ago in the Garden of Eden, shortly after Adam and Eve”s fatal decision to distrust God and to believe the voice of a serpent. Ever since that tragic day, God”s voice has gone forth announcing his great love for us, and urging us to no longer listen to the voice of the evil one. As we, like Adam and Eve, try to flee and hide from God”s presence, he pursues after us like a parent looking and calling after a missing child. This picture of God reminds me of the famous poem by Francis Thompson entitled, “The Hound of Heaven.”
“I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped;
And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
But with unhurrying chase
And unperturbed pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat and a Voice beat
More instant than the Feet
“All things betray thee, who betrayest Me.” 1
The lesson this week focuses on the ways in which God has been seeking to communicate with us through the course of human history.
In addition to the texts listed in the lesson, consider how the following passages are relevant to this week”s topic.
- Psalms 23
- Luke 15:3-7
- Job 38
- Psalms 19:1-4
- Romans 1:20
- Galatians 1:12
Questions for Discussion:
- Is it appropriate to liken God to a hound as Francis Thompson does in the title of his poem, “The Hound of Heaven”? Can you think of stories or verses in the Bible that might support your position?
- In the terms of human history, what, in your opinion, is the ultimate expression of God”s revelation? What has been the most powerful means through which God has spoken to you in your personal life?
- Christians believe that God has revealed himself in the Bible. How important is the Bible for helping us understand who God is? Could we get an accurate picture of God from anywhere else? How about nature?
- If the Bible is a revelation of God, what does it reveal? Does it consist primarily of information things we need to know? Or is God himself the content of the revelation? Additionally, does it really matter?
1 Francis Thompson, The Hound of Heaven (London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne Ltd., 1893), p. 9.