Thoughts to Ponder

Love of God's word.

I think many Christians feel that they should read God's word but they really don't want to. They are busy and, well, it is kind of boring. I think that is one of Satan's favorite tactics with believers; convince them that reading God's word is a chore. Unfortunately, I think he is successful many times.

What these believers don't understand is that reading God's word isn't just something they should do, it is vital to their spiritual life. If they don't know God's word for themselves then they are susceptible to any fad or false teaching that comes alone.

Paul told us that there would be wolves among us dressed in sheep's clothing. What he meant was that there would be false teachers who appear to be good teachers, but who will lead people astray. The only way to protect yourself is to know God's word so that you don't have to depend on someone else's understanding of it.

The other thing they miss is the intimacy that comes from reading God's word. You can't truly know who God is without reading His word. I love God's word, and it helps me understand who He is much better.

I have found that He has a great sense of humor. He can be sarcastic when it is needed. I have found many hidden treasures in His word. Things that the Holy Spirit reveals to me when I read something that I have read dozens of times before, but never noticed the significance.

Let me give you a couple of examples of the things I am talking about. Things I hope will spark your interest in God's word.

First let me show you God's sense of humor.

Jonah 4:5-8 Then Jonah went out from the city and sat east of it. There he made a shelter for himself and sat under it in the shade until he could see what would happen in the city. [6] So the Lord God appointed a plant and it grew up over Jonah to be a shade over his head to deliver him from his discomfort. And Jonah was extremely happy about the plant. [7] But God appointed a worm when dawn came the next day and it attacked the plant and it withered. [8] When the sun came up God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah's head so that he became faint and begged with all his soul to die, saying, "Death is better to me than life."

Now God was making a point to Jonah, but the way He went about it is hilarious. I also find many other funny parts in God's word, for example:

Exodus 32:22-24 Aaron said, "Do not let the anger of my lord burn; you know the people yourself, that they are prone to evil. [23] "For they said to me, 'Make a god for us who will go before us; for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.' [24] "I said to them, 'Whoever has any gold, let them tear it off.' So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf."

I wonder if Aaron really thought that Moses would believe that he just threw the gold into the fire and out popped this golden calf?

Job was suffering and he kept saying that he wanted to confront God and give his defense. Well God gave him the change and I want to quote just a little bit of it here:

Job 38:1-5
    Then the Lord answered Job out of the storm. He said:
 
    [2] "Who is this that darkens my counsel
        with words without knowledge?
    [3] Brace yourself like a man;
        I will question you,
        and you shall answer me.
 
    [4] "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation?
        Tell me, if you understand.
    [5] Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
        Who stretched a measuring line across it?

Job 38:19-21
    "What is the way to the abode of light?
        And where does darkness reside?
    [20] Can you take them to their places?
        Do you know the paths to their dwellings?
    [21] Surely you know, for you were already born!
        You have lived so many years!
 
I am personally a fan of sarcasm when it is done correctly, and I will tell you that neither House M.D. nor Ann Coulter can do it any better than God did in this chapter of Job.

Now let me show you an example of something I have read many times, but just this last weekend, during our family's Bible study, God revealed a part to this that we had never noticed before. Below is the passage which is the story of Jesus' first miracle.

John 2:1-10 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; [2] and both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. [3] When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, "They have no wine."
[4] And Jesus said to her, "Woman, what does that have to do with us? My hour has not yet come."
[5] His mother said to the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do it."
[6] Now there were six stone waterpots set there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing twenty or thirty gallons each.
[7] Jesus said to them, "Fill the waterpots with water." So they filled them up to the brim.
[8] And He said to them, "Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter."
So they took it to him. [9] When the headwaiter tasted the water which had become wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom, [10] and said to him, "Every man serves the good wine first, and when the people have drunk freely, then he serves the poorer wine; but you have kept the good wine until now."

Pretty simple story, they ran out of wine and Jesus made water into wine. Well at least that is all I had gotten out of the story until this past weekend. While we were studying this, the thought occurred to me, why did Jesus use the stone waterpots? It is obvious when you really look at the story that this isn't where the original wine was stored. So why didn't He tell them to fill the original containers with water? Whether that was stone containers, or wine skins, they would have been right there and easily used, but instead Jesus told them to fill the stone waterpots.

The answer is very plainly there, once the Holy Spirit showed it to me. John tells us that these stone waterpots were used by the Jews for purification. God had commanded the Jews to do ritual washings under many circumstances, but they all point to God washing away our sins. Now in hindsight we know what the ritual washing was to represent the blood of Jesus which washes us clean as snow.

Now think about what Jesus said at the Last Supper:

Luke 22:20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

What was in the cup? Wine, of course! So Jesus told the servants to fill the waterpots, that were used for ritual washing, with water that He then turned into wine. So even though no one understood it at the time, Jesus was showing that it was His blood that would cleanse them from their sins. Not only were the waterpots those used for washing, but they then drank the wine from them. Now look at this passage:

John 6:54-55 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. [55] For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.

I had never connected the dots, I just read that He had them fill the stone waterpots. So what? It didn't mean anything to me. Now that I see the significance of what He did and why He did it, I marvel at it. How could I have missed this?

God's word is an adventure each and every time I read it. He shows me things that I have never seen and gives me understanding that I didn't even know I lacked. Now to many people what I have shown you might not mean anything, but it sure does to me. God opened my heart and my mind to see that He is always showing us things, we just seldom take the time to contemplate what it is that He is telling us.

Next time you feel that it is a chore to read God's word remember that the devil doesn't want you to read it, he doesn't want you to know God better or to see a side of God that you have never seen before. He doesn't want you to dig out treasures from God's word, so he will try to convince you that it is a chore. Don't miss out on what God has for you. Take time and read even when you don't feel like it. The blessings are well worth the effort.

These devotionals are written by Ralph Dettwiler, and reflects his views.

E-Mail Ralph

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September 2006