I’m on sabbatical (translation: I’m resting),
so this is a pre-scheduled post for your encouragement, education and enjoyment!
I’ve been doing some thinking about the role the Word of God plays in our relationship with Him… and I’ve found some very important parallels with the normal relationships we have with other people.
We get to know another individual, primarily through words. People have to express how they feel, what they think, the convictions they hold, the things they hate. We don’t pick these up intuitively. We can get “ideas” about people through what they do… but how often have you been wrong about an “idea” you had about someone? Me too…
Words are perhaps THE foundational element upon which relationship is built. Whether in spoken form (conversation) or written form (like love letters), we learn to know a person… REALLY KNOW THEM… through what they communicate to us verbally. It’s really the only way.
It’s also the only way we build TRUST between individuals. Through communication we come to know a person’s heart, their motives, and see them expressed in life, which builds trust.
But all of this assumes a certain KIND of communication is happening. It’s got to be genuine, truthful communication. And that’s where communication on a human level often begins to break down… healthy communication will not happen if there is…
- An absence of words (people are not talking to each other at all)
- Deceitful or misleading words (someone is not telling the truth – which is a perversion of true communication)
- Misinterpretation or misunderstanding of what has been said
The point is that words alone are not the “be all, end all” of relationships. Words are necessary, but words must also be true and clearly understood.
Let’s make the switch to relationship with God…
God’s words (as recorded in scripture) are the ONLY way we can really know what He is like. It’s in scripture that He reveals Himself to us (isn’t that an amazingly gracious thing of Him to do?) Of course, Romans 1:18-20 tells us that there are certain things about God we can surmise from creation itself… but what we glean there is a far cry from truly, really knowing Him. In order for us to know God, to have relationship with Him, He must reveal Himself to us… just like in a human relationship. He has done that in the scriptures. In the scriptures we find Him to be truthful, in-the-know about everything, full of grace and mercy, and overflowing with love. We find Him to be brimming over with justice and purity, no wrong motives and no missed information. In short, we find that He is trustworthy.
Where there appears to be contradiction, inconsistency, or confusion regarding what He says to us in His word – we tend toward accusing Him, saying that He’s done something wrong or made promises that are not being fulfilled. But go back to the bullet points above… 1) Is the problem that He has not spoken to us? NO – God speaks to us, and has spoken in the scriptures and in His Son Jesus. 2) Is the problem that what He is telling us is deceitful or misleading? NO – He is absolutely true and upright in all His ways, including what He says. 3) Is the problem that what He is saying is being misinterpreted or misunderstood – BINGO – that has to be the problem.
Often, like a 6-year old child who does not grasp what their parent has said, we misunderstand what God has said. There is no mistake or deception in what He has spoken, there is a lack of comprehension, or ability to comprehend, on our part. We should expect that we spiritual babes would mistakenly or not at all understand many things that our infinite God says to us. Yet, as we grow by His grace, He enables us to grasp His word more and more.
1) We should not be viewing our “time in the word” as a duty, but as a beautiful opportunity to spend time with the most glorious one in the universe. We get to find out more about Him, to know Him better – and to know what He desires to do in and through our lives.
2) We should not look for other “words from God” outside the scriptures. Yes, the Spirit of God can lead, guide, and direct us internally – but NEVER apart from or different than what is revealed in the Word of God. All such leadings should be confirmed by seeking their truth in scripture.