Friday, December 5, 2014
God speaks through the people of the Bible
We get stuck into newspapers and magazines and other forms of ‘news’ which we readily discuss – but we sometimes fail to see the Bible as being an exciting part of God’s relationship with us, which guides our lives.
OUR second general guideline for hearing God and receiving guidance from Him is to see the Bible characters’ experience of this and ours as being the same. Potentially, anyway. The God who spoke then, is the God who speaks now. The people we read about who encountered God then, are people just like us – not special cases.
Why don’t we recognise this? Few of us study the Bible with the interest we give to a newspaper or magazine. We don’t think of it, or discuss it with others, or get excited about it in the same way. Maybe that’s because we haven’t been taught to understand the experience of biblical chapters in terms of our own experience. We may have even been warned that we shouldn’t.
Of course there are dangers. It is tempting to satisfy our desperate need for a word by picking a verse at random, or some other way of forcing a word from Him – which is where we are found creating our own version of a witch of Endor (1 Sam. 28:5-8).
However, the Bible itself teaches we are to understand it by our own experience. We discover Elijah, Paul, and Barnabas having the same human experiences as us. We learn that Jesus knows how we feel in our weakness, because “in every respect He has been tested as we are.” So we need to grasp that people who lived through experiences in the Bible felt much as we would in their place.
These people encountered God in various situations and we can encounter God as He quickens His word to us through those situations. Therefore the Bible is not just a book of doctrine or abstract truth — it is in itself an encounter with God. The word is a living Word.
We can avoid the mistake that Jesus pointed out to the scribes and Pharisees: Jesus told them “you do not have His word abiding in you” (John 5:38). We, like them, can know it intellectually, but be all too easily satisfied with not grasping it or experiencing God in it – especially if we see this artificial separation between the people and events we find there, and ourselves.
Now you know better. So ask God to speak to you as you read His word, to enable the records of events long ago to bring illumination to your life and circumstances. Expect Him to reveal Himself, and He will – and that is your guidance, right there.