It’s been a few days, but here are the notes from the study on Monday night. I spent the evening giving an exhortation to a fresh attention to reading the word for the new year.
First, here’s the list of scriptures we read: Genesis 1:1-3; Genesis 2:15-17; Deuteronomy 6:1-9; Deuteronomy 32:46-47; Psalm 1; Psalm 119:1-16; Isaiah 66:2; Jeremiah 15:16; John 6:63; John 15:7; Revelation 1:17-19; Revelation 21:1-5; Revelation 22:6, 18-19
And here’s the bullet list of observations about these texts I made:
- The God who exists speaks.
- The way God has designed for us to know him is that he has made us able to understand his speech.
- So we know him primarily by hearing him speak.
- He can speak so we can hear it audibly.
- He can speak so that it can be written down.
- He directed some people to write some of his words down.
- When his words are written down, the written words become the way for us to know what he said in those instances.
- So, what is true of God’s speaking in general is true of the written record of his speaking, the bible.
- So, the bible becomes the way for us to hear him speaking.
- We come to know him and relate to him by knowing what he says to us.
- God has designed us to draw our life from our personal, relational connection to him.
- So, literally, reading the bible to hear God’s personal word to us is the source of our life.
Exhortation? Pursue the reading, understanding, memorization and living out of the Bible in order to know God, draw close to him, and to live.
Also, here’s the parable/story I read for non-believers to think about as I closed…
Imagine you had been lost in the woods for a long time, and finally you stumbled on a house in a clearing. You assume it’s abandoned, and when you go through the unlocked front door you see that there’s no one inside. You settle down, and find that it actually makes a good home. It has what you need, and so you decide to stay. But one morning you wake up and realize that some things have moved from where you placed them. And there are new smells too. You follow your nose to fresh cooked eggs and toast. Fresh juice in a glass. Someone has been here, you think. And then you notice a note, under the edge of the glass. It says, “Eat up, I’ll be back soon.” And it’s signed, “The Owner of the House.” You’re hungry, so you eat, even though you’re a little freaked out. You’re just finishing the last bite when, under the plate, you discover another note. This one’s longer—pages and pages of hand written words. It’s this “Owner” again (only now he’s calling himself “the Builder”), and in the letter he describes how he chose the plot of ground you’ve been staying on and built the house. He actually says he built it for you, and others just like you (he calls the others “the family”). He says that he’d actually been nearby when you moved in, and watched the whole thing. Not wanting to scare you, he waited for the right time and way to let you know that he was there, and that you were living under his protection. And so on this morning he cooked breakfast for you, and left you this letter. At the bottom of the last page, it’s signed, “Love you—Your Father.” Now you’re totally thrown off. You sit there, with the morning wearing on, and try to figure this out. Can you trust this letter? How do you know who wrote it? What if it’s a joke or a trick? What if it’s for someone else? Clearly this house has been empty and abandoned all this time…right? Clearly you’ve been alone…even lonely! Is it really reasonable to change the way you’ve been seeing this house, just because of a letter? And right in the middle of those thoughts, as you’re deciding whether to read over the pages again or throw them out, there’s a knock at the door.