God’s word is applicable to our lives, but this cannot be where we start. We must begin by acknowledging the true Hero of the story.
I grew up in a family that attended church every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. I heard a lot of preaching. But, it was only until college I began to systematically study the scriptures for myself. It was stunning, what I began to discover. Well-meaning teachers had added information to the Biblical stories. I am not sure of their motives but I want to believe they were wanting to motivate a desire to make the Bible interesting or to promote a character trait they were hoping to emphasize. The hard truth was they made up details.
The one that was perhaps the most shocking to me was the story of Noah. I had heard over and over again about Noah’s impassioned plea to his neighbors to repent and believe and come on the ark. Over and over Noah’s neighbors laughed at him and denied that the rain was coming. Or so I was told. But, that’s not really how the story goes.
And those that entered male and female of all flesh went in as God had commanded him. And the Lord shut him in.
Noah did not try to convince his neighbors. He did not try to defend God or discuss the coming rain. He built the ark and gathered his family and the animals and he waited for God to close the door.
That’s a pretty big difference.
The Main Character…
And there were lots of other stories just like that. In fact, I even have had a bent for adding emphasis to certain details from the Bible and leaving other details out. My biggest problem however was even more subtle. I was reading the Bible always looking for application. How would this affect me? How would this scripture influence my life? What was God telling me to do and how could I be like the human character mentioned in this story?
While these are all good goals to wrestle with as we study God’s word, if it’s where we start, it’s pretty flawed. Just like those Sunday school teachers I had 30 years ago. The emphasis of every story is a hero. And that hero is God. He begins in the beginning and creates. He comes in the form of Jesus to be crucified and resurrected. And He returns again to come take his bride. Every story is whispering his name. Every story is declaring his glory. This is not new news to us. If we have spent any time in scripture, we know this. But we still don’t look for Him.
We look for us. And we come away from scripture more convinced that we don’t have what it takes (we don’t in the flesh), and we come away more discouraged and defeated. God’s word is active and living – a two edged sword. It is meant to divide us from our thoughts of lies and unbelief. Yet, we can’t be the hero. He has to be the hero of every page. He’s there. I will admit, I forget this. I forget this a lot. And when I remember who I am reading about and what He is capable of and whose I am… Well, I find my heart soaring and my lips praising and praying. I can’t help myself. As I meditate on his truths and on Him, I find peace, I find joy, I find hope. I can’t find hope in myself.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
If this has been an encouragement, please share the love with others…