Have you ever read a book or heard someone speak and when they talked about the Scriptures they explained it in a way that you’d never thought about before? You heard them speak and thought, “How on earth did they get that from this passage? I’ve read this a thousand times and never noticed that!” That’s happened to me many times. The question is, How do we get that type of revelation?
I don’t claim to have exceptional revelation, but I do love it when a scripture or passage jumps off the page and I see it in a way that I’ve never seen it or heard about it before. Here are two of the biggest keys that I have discovered:
1. Ask (Jeremiah 33:3)
This may be the simplest and yet most profound truth about revelation. God promises when we ask, we will receive (Matt 7:8). He also tells us in James 4:2, “You do not have because you do not ask.”
God tells us in Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” Let’s break down this verse for a moment, because there is so much truth contained in it.
Firstly, the word call means to cry out! It’s not passive, but desperate and passionate. It’s also not begging God to give us revelation. He is more willing to give than we are capable of receiving. It’s an ardent and fervent request.
Secondly, the word mighty things can also be translated unsearchable things. The word means “inaccessible things or mysteries.” God tells us that if we call to Him, He won’t just reveal things that we don’t know, but things that we couldn’t know. The Holy Spirit reveals things to us that are hidden within the depths of God’s heart, places only the Holy Spirit can access. That’s revelation. Revelation is receiving insight and wisdom from God that is impossible to obtain by human intellect.
I want to make a point here that I think is important. I believe too many Christians attempt to get revelation from the Word simply by arduous and intense study, and instead of getting revelation they get dead theology. Now I want to be clear, I’m not a promoter of mindless Christianity… that’s just dumb, but I will say that I have received ten times more revelation from asking and listening than I have from simply studying. Which leads into my second point:
C.S. Lewis is one of those authors that when I read his books I think, “Where did he get that kind of insight!” I remember once reading about an interview where someone asked C.S. Lewis how he came up with all of the ideas for his books and where he got all of his wisdom and insight. I think many of us would have expected him to answer and say that it was the result of hours of intense study, research, and work, but he gave an answer that I have found to be profoundly true in my own life. He said, “I never exactly made a book… It’s rather like taking dictation. I was given things to say.” His revelation was the result of listening to the Holy Spirit.
When I read that quote for the first time, it so resonated with me, because whenever I write a blog post or an article, studying is rarely (if ever) my primary focus. I don’t think of a topic that would be good to talk about and then research it and write about it… that’s how you do school. Often, my blog posts begin with me sitting down and asking the Holy Spirit, “What do you want me to write about?” If He hasn’t already given me a topic earlier in the week, He gives me one when I ask and listen. Then I listen and—like C.S. Lewis said—I take dictation. I simply write down what He says.