While Sarah Young describes her writings as “not inspired as Scripture is,” she does offer two Scripture verses as support for her method of listening for God to speak and writing down the messages she receives. First, she cites Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” Young says that this verse “is an exciting invitation from God to lay down our cares and seek His Presence.” But is this what the verse is actually teaching?
If we consider the context of Psalm 46, we find it to be a song of God’s exaltation throughout the whole earth, extolling his wonderful saving works on behalf of his people in the past, with the assurance of final salvation yet to come. The insights of Charles Spurgeon are especially helpful with regard to v.10:
Hold off your hands, ye enemies! Sit down and wait in patience, ye believers! Acknowledge that Jehovah is God, ye who feel the terrors of his wrath! Adore him, and him only, ye who partake in the protections of his grace….The boasts of the ungodly and the timorous forebodings of the saints should certainly be hushed by a sight of what the Lord has done in past ages….Either by terror or love God will subdue all hearts to himself. The whole round earth shall yet reflect the light of his majesty. All the more because of the sin, and obstinacy, and pride of man shall God be glorified when grace reigns unto eternal life in all corners of the world.
Clearly, this is an invitation to reflect in awe on the glorious work of God in the protection and deliverance of his people throughout history, and to yearn for the coming day when he will sit in judgment over the whole earth, receiving glory from all of creation. It is not, however, an invitation to sit quietly in God’s presence and listen for him speak personal messages softly and tenderly into our hearts.
The other verse that Young cites in support of her devotional method is John 10:27, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me,” and believes that Jesus still speaks to those who are willing to listen to him. But again we must ask, is that what Jesus was teaching his disciples in John 10? And the immediate context gives us a clear answer. In vv.25,26 Jesus responded to the charge of the unbelieving Jews who demanded that he declare whether he was the Messiah or not. He said to them, “I told you, and you do not believe….because you are not of My sheep.” In other words, being of Jesus’ sheep means believing that he is the Christ. He is distinguishing those who are true followers from those who are pretenders when he says, “My sheep hear My voice.” Jesus was not offering a promise to continually speak to those who are willing to listen to him. In fact, he was condemning the Jews because they had heard him speak and refused to believe him, but those who hear the words he has already spoken and believe will be saved. Neither of these verses supports Sarah Young’s mistaken belief that God is speaking to her as she sits quietly in what she believes is his presence. Frankly, I do not know where the messages she receives come from, but there is no Biblical warrant to believe that they are Jesus calling, any more than Joseph Smith had Biblical warrant to write The Book of Mormon.