Did God Offer a Book or a Walk?
When I got married, my lover, Patti, did not hand me a book of rules to keep to make her happy. She offered to walk and talk with me daily and desired that I would listen to her and honor and respect her by hearing and meeting the desires of her heart.
Likewise, my divine lover didn't offer me a book of rules either. He offered the same thing Patti offered, His voice: My sheep hear My voice (Jn. 10:27). God's desire was for us to have a walk in His garden where we would commune (Gen. 3:8). As I hear and honor His voice, I receive His wisdom, healing, and strength.
However, for years I was taught and believed that He was no longer speaking and I was to live out of a book, the Bible. What a tragedy, to reduce a relationship with Almighty God to a set of rules which I codified from a book, which I would then strive hard to keep. This constituted the first ten years of my Christian life.
God confronted the Israelites about living from rules rather than living from His voice
The Israelites were caught up in offering sacrifices and meticulous obedience to endless rules, and God says, that’s not what I instructed you to do. I told you to obey My voice.
I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices. "But this is what I commanded them, saying, 'Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you will be My people; and you will walk in all the way which I command you, that it may be well with you' (Jer. 7:21-23).
Jesus confronted the Israelites about living from rules rather than living from God's voice
In Matthew 23 Jesus describes the Pharisees as being focused on laws and outer things, but inwardly they are messed up.
Jesus declares: "He who is of God hears the words (rhemas = spoken words) of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God" (Jn. 8:47). Young's Literal Translation replaces "words" with the clearest meaning, "sayings." So this verse is specifically referring to the spoken words from God, His voice in our hearts.
Do you think Jesus still stands behind John 8:47 today?
Jesus, our perfect example, modeled living out of the VOICE of His Father
"I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge ... I seek ... the will of Him who sent Me" (Jn. 5:30).
"But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God" (Jn. 8:40).
"The Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you" (Jn. 14:17).
"When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me" (Jn. 15:26).