God god in a box is too small to overcome the lies of this world. How do we remember God’s promises and understand His character? By reading, studying, and memorizing God’s Word.
Listening When God Speaks
I was struck by our forgetfulness, and lack of understanding of God’s Truth. Once again I was reminded of the importance of being in the Word daily, of reading it, studying it, and memorizing it – knowing it.
Don’t you remember?
Jesus was dead. The Sabbath was over, and a small group of women who loved Him went to the Tomb to be sure His body was properly prepared and cared for. They were upset when they found no body. The tomb was empty. Only the cloth Jesus had been wrapped in was left.
Two men who seemed to be clothed in light appeared, and the women were terrified.
Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” And they remembered His words.
Luke 24: 5b-8, NASB
When the women ran back and told Jesus’ other followers in the city, the men thought they were crazy and checked the tomb for themselves.
But they still couldn’t see the truth.
Don’t you understand?
Despite their amazement over the women’s news, two left Jerusalem to walk the seven miles to Emmaus. When a stranger appeared, they were surprised that He didn’t seem to know what had recently taken place in Jerusalem. They told Him about the mighty prophet who had been handed over for crucifixion by their own religious leaders. They were disappointed because they thought Jesus was the promised One who would redeem Israel.
And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.
Luke 24:25-27, NASB
The men did not want Jesus to keep walking when they reached Emmaus. Though they still did not recognize Him, they wanted to keep listening. It was not until He blessed and broke the bread that their eyes were opened to see who it was that reminded them of truth.
They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” And they got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem.
Luke 24:32-33a, NASB
Have you ever felt that burning? When you hear or read Gospel truth that resonates? In a sermon, or in the words of a fellow Bible study group member or a writer? The Holy Spirit sometimes speaks to us through others, as they speak God’s Word. I hope you’ve experienced a burning heart as you’ve read God’s Word for yourself, even as we read until God speaks and learn to listen.
Come and see
After the pair get back to Jerusalem, and as everyone was excitedly sharing how and when Jesus appeared to various of them, He appeared in their midst. They were so excited, they still had trouble believing. He showed them the scars in His hands and feet. I think it’s wonderful that He retained those scars, but that’s a subject for another blog post.
He asked for a piece of fish, and they watched Him eat it. A ghost couldn’t do that, could it? He left no room for doubt that He was alive, and He was Himself.
Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.
Luke 24:44-48, NASB
No one remembered what Jesus had told them would happen in Jerusalem. They hadn’t really believed it would happen. They knew He was there to redeem His people, but they didn’t understand it as spiritual redemption instead of freedom from Roman oppression. They had been afraid of what the religious leaders would do to Jesus if He went to Jerusalem, but they couldn’t really get away with it, could they? This Man could perform miracles, and had walked away from men who wanted to harm Him before.
A Long History of Forgetfulness
The Bible is full of examples of God’s people’s forgetfulness and misunderstanding. We forget He always does what He says He will. We misunderstand His character and His purpose. How do we remember and understand? By consistently reminding ourselves of Truth, and understanding Scripture.
When we fail to make learning God’s Word a priority, we hobble ourselves. We sentence ourselves to wandering in the desert of doubt and futility. We give depression an easier foothold when we’re not armed with truth.
Our God Doesn’t Fit in a Box
How big is your God? Is it God you worship, or a god of your own invention?
Though we can never comprehend Him completely, God invites us to witness His character and learn how to live in harmony with Him – and thereby ourselves and others – in His Word. That’s a big deal, but we treat it as small.
Remember God’s Promises
Although all the Promises of Scripture don’t apply to us, even those that were specific to Israel in the Old Testament give us better understanding of who God is, and the type of relationship He wants to have with His children.
No matter how life looks, or how we feel, God is in control and all that we endure as we follow Him will be worthwhile, and all we suffer will be made beautiful. Healing may not come in this lifetime, but, in Christ, we can live whole in our brokenness, and will be made spectacularly whole in the next.
How about you? Do you make reading and studying the Bible a priority? If so, how? Do you have a favorite method for Scripture memorization? Have you felt that burning in your heart when Truth cut through the lies?
If you are looking for a daily devotional Scripture reading and writing plan, check out Listen When He Speaks. New themed lists posted monthly.