A Word from God and Biddy Chambers

What does it mean to get a word from God?

The conventional idea behind a “word from God,” is that He gives you a passage of Scripture at a certain point that you grab hold of.

It needs to come from the Bible, otherwise you cannot be sure it really comes from God.

Biddy and Oswald ChambersWord from God, Biddy Chambers, Oswald Chambers' death, what is a word from God? What if a word from God doesn't come true? My Utmost for His Highest often saw in the Bible answers to questions they had prayed about.

Several times, they made a decision in faith and later, often that day, read a verse that confirmed God wanted them to do something.

How does a word from God work?

Generally, people seek such guidance when they’re troubled, curious or uncertain.

But, it can also turn up when you least expect it.

In my own case, I’ve been innocently reading my regularly scheduled Bible passages when something jumps out at me.

It speaks to a question I may have been considering before I sat down to read, whether I specifically sought an answer or not.

Sometimes a word from God illuminates a question someone else asked me. They weren’t sure what to do, we prayed together and a few days later I saw something in the Bible that applied to them.

I can then pass it along–and they can do whatever they like with it.

What is a common reaction to receiving a word from God?

In my case, it’s been relief. “I did hear God correctly!”

or, “that explains why I think I should do ______.”

A classic Oswald Chambers example came when he first arrived in Egypt to work at the YMCA camp at Zeitoun.

The circumstances in the middle of World War I didn’t make any sense to send for Biddy, their two-year old daughter Kathleen, and friend Mary Riley.

Word from God, Biddy Chambers, Oswald Chambers' death, what is a word from God? What if a word from God doesn't come true? My Utmost for His Highest

And yet, one day as he prayed, wrapped in a blanket and watching the sun rise over the desert, he felt certain he needed to send for the three loved ones.

He didn’t know why it needed to happen that day, but it did.

Oswald wired Biddy to buy tickets. He had no resources to build an adobe bungalow. He believed God would provide the funds, so he made the arrangements.

That night while reading The Daily Light, he saw this passage taken from 2 Chronicles 6:18:

“Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee: how much less this house that I have built.”

That confirmed, for Oswald, that he’d made the right decision.

Subsequent events showed that to be true.

Because Biddy bought her sailing tickets that very day, she, Kathleen and Mary were granted permission to enter Egypt.

The Army ceased allowing civilians to enter the country a few days later.

How do you know a word from God really comes from God?

As in any interpretation of a Bible passage, you compare it to other Scriptures.

If this “word” violates, say, the Ten Commandments, it does not come from God.

If it contradicts or calls into question the validity of other corresponding passages from the Bible, it doesn’t come from God.

God does not change. His word needs to be examined against itself and Him.

If you have a question, ask a learned Bible teacher.

What if a word from God doesn’t make sense?

You’re reading the Bible with a question in your heart.

You start with a Psalm, say, because the Psalms display emotion and often put into our hearts words we may not dare to say to God ourselves.

Some verse stands out to you because of your situation. You decide to “claim” that verse as the answer.

Biddy Chambers sat beside her husband’s hospital bed in November, 1917 with her Bible and The Daily Light on her lap.

She watched Oswald struggle to recover from complications from an emergency appendectomy.

Nurses told her he could not recover–he also had blood clots in his lungs.

Word from God, Biddy Chambers, Oswald Chambers' death, what is a word from God? What if a word from God doesn't come true? My Utmost for His Highest

But she emotionally and spiritually clung to a verse she felt God had given her.

It came from John 11:4 when Jesus spoke to Martha and Mary at Lazarus’ tomb.

“This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

The nurses shook their heads, but left her to believe what she wanted to believe.

What if a word from God doesn’t come to pass?

Oswald Chambers died a few days after Biddy “got” that word.

So what did it mean if it did not happen as she expected?

Seventeen years later, Biddy reflected on that passage in Oswald Chambers: His Life and Works.

During that time, she wrote:

“There were many experiences of the sufficiency of God’s grace. But chiefest of them all was the way God spoke some word to meet the needs as they arose. . .

“Through all the days of the illness and its crises, the word which held me was, “this sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God,” and there were times when it seemed that the promise was to have a literal fulfillment.

“But again God had a fuller meaning; and yet the sickness was not unto death, but for the glory of God, we believe.”

The word from God did not come to pass as Biddy expected. Oswald died.

But by 1934, Biddy knew the second half of the clause had occurred: God was glorified as a result of Oswald’s death.

We would not have My Utmost for His Highest if Oswald had lived.

God gave her that word to encourage her in a dark time. Biddy needed all the encouragement she could get, a penniless widow in the middle of a war in Egypt.

Looking back, she could see God was glorified and for that reason, Oswald’s sickness wasn’t unto death–in the spiritual sense.

Why do people get a word from God?

For encouragement, direction and out of love.

We may not, however, always understand they whys, whats, whens or who.

Thanks be to God.


What is a word from God and where can you find one? Click to Tweet

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Every month in 2017, I’ve been telling the stories about God’s leading and my blessed–and astonished–reactions while writing Mrs. Oswald Chambers

The next newsletter comes out December 15: In which I receive an unexpected blessing from Biddy Chambers

This story will complete the free giveaway: Writing about Biddy and Oswald Chambers: Stories and Serendipities!

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