Part One Part Two.
For some, the idea of God not directly talking to them means that God doesn't speak to them at all, so they won't get the guidance in their Christian lives necessary for knowing the individual will of God. Since it seems like an attack on their Christian lives, they become defensive. They aren't happy with someone saying that God isn't still talking to them. In this case, that might be me. They reject the thought of God not talking to them in this direct manner and then relegate those who disagree to people who will cause them failure in their Christian lives.
I want to take one very normal situation from start to finish where people will say God talked to them to explain the wrong thing being said and then what people should really expect according to scripture. The situation I will explore on this subject is someone who says God told him to go to France as a missionary. Perhaps the terminology he uses is "God called me to France." He knows he is supposed to go to France as a missionary because "God called him to go there." Since the words "go to France" aren't in the Bible, the thought here is that God communicated that to him directly. In many, if not most, instances today, the thought of God speaking like that isn't questioned.
Related to the topic of where one goes as a missionary, I have seen this call to the field for church leaders to be the most important aspect for a missionary. I hear people say that this call is what will keep a person on the field and translate to successful missionary service on that particular mission field. On the other hand, if he doesn't have the call, he might fail, and if he does, it will be because he wasn't called. This is another example within the category of God speaking directly to someone. A person says that God told him where to go.
Very often people don't want their experienced questioned. They don't want someone rejecting their claim that God talked to them. It's very personal to them. They might be upset or angry, so others will not question it. The only proof that God spoke to them, however, is that they say that God spoke to them. No one else heard it or saw it. They expect you just to believe what they say that they experienced in their head.
In my hypothetical, I am saying that someone says that God told him to go to France. That's how he knows he is supposed to go there. If that isn't true for someone, how should it occur that someone would know he should go to France, if he's supposed to go there as a missionary?
It isn't wrong for someone to go to France as an evangelist or the more modern term, missionary. If someone wants to go there, that isn't wrong. Should he go just because he wants? Why is it that he wants to go evangelize France?
Here are biblical reasons why he could go. Every Word of God and All the Words of God are inspired. They are sufficient. France hasn't had the gospel preached to everyone. Not everyone is going to hear the gospel in France because there are not enough believers in France preaching the gospel to the French people. An evangelist can go to France. It's open to go there. He has learned French or he has learned enough French fast enough to show his commitment to learning it. He can preach the gospel to people in the French language. He doesn't have to explain why he wants to go there. He wants to go.
Does the desire to go to France proceed from the Holy Spirit talking to him? That shouldn't be the explanation. It's good enough that he wants to go. Someone should tell him all the negatives one has heard about France, and find out if he still wants to go. It's fine that he just wants to. Some people will apply a term to this. He is burdened to go to France. That's fine. He wants to see the French people saved. He wants to go to France to evangelize them. It bothers him there is so little evangelism there.
Consider 1 Corinthians 7:39 with me: "The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord." The verse doesn't say she marries someone who God tells her. She is "to be married to whom she will" -- "whom she will." She can marry whoever she wants, "only in the Lord." As this applies to the man who wants to go France, he can go to France if he wants to go to France with certain biblical parameters.
1 Corinthians 6-10 is a section in 1 Corinthians on Christian liberty. The woman has liberty to marry whom she will in the Lord. She is not regulated by any scripture from doing what she wants as long as it doesn't violate scripture. God gives us liberty. That is a blessing from God. Someone has the liberty to go to France if he wants, again, with some scriptural parameters.
Is the the Holy Spirit related to his wanting to go to France? It can be the Holy Spirit. The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God (Eph 6:17). The Holy Spirit speaks through the Word of God. The following are the Holy Spirit speaking. The Holy Spirit said to preach the gospel to everyone. The Holy Spirit said to enter doors of evangelism that are open. The Holy Spirit says to go to other nations. The Holy Spirit wants everyone to be saved, including French people.
If someone is to go to France as an evangelist, a church should send him. "How shall they preach unless they be sent?" If we are regulated by scriptural example, we see that men did not operate as free agents. They were sent by churches. A church should determine if he is qualified, lay hands on him, and send him. He knows he's supposed to go because a church sends him. How does the church know he should go? Many biblical factors come into the decision. The agreement of a church is an important facet of the "unity of the Spirit" (Eph 4:3). The church is the temple of God where the Holy Spirit dwells (1 Cor 3:16). The Holy Spirit leads through the authority of a church.
First, he should show biblical evidence that he is himself saved. The people of a church should witness his biblical lifestyle, which evinces true conversion. This would include being baptized into the membership of his church.
Second, he should show himself to be faithful in his church. He should be substantial and solid in biblical doctrine, knowing the teachings of scripture. He should manifest eagerness to serve the Lord in a number of different ways, including regular evangelism, following up with discipleship. If he can't or won't do it here, then he won't do it there. This would include fulfilling all scriptural qualifications. He should prove himself at this for a period of time.
Third, he has to be able to pay for it in some manner. Lots of references from the New Testament indicate some plan for living. If he has a family, that would include obeying all the passages on taking care of a family. If churches of like faith and practice want to take him on for support, that might be a way. If he has the capacity to "tent make," that's another way. Today we mainly see the former, but in the Bible, we mainly see the latter.
Once a man gets to France within all the scriptural parameters, as long as the biblical teachings and principles are followed, he should stay there until he has finished the work there. He has a biblical goal. He can express that goal. He should go about practicing it. He should continue with accountability to the church like we see evinced by the New Testament. He should come home only if his church wants him to come home. We have a basis in the Bible for not giving up once he has started there. However, that does not mean he will never leave France. Jesus went to certain Samaritan towns, which totally rejected His free offer of the gospel. He dusted His feet of them. Someone who goes to France might find himself doing the same. The Holy Spirit won't say that to him directly. He will be obeying the example of Jesus.
Much more could be written about this subject, but this is enough for now to bring biblical comprehension to the subject of God talking to someone as it pertains to this one situation. All like situations would be very, very similar to this one. God is not talking directly to someone. God speaks through scripture.