What is Mr. C? (btw: Mr. C is my co-leader this year). He is a man. He is a BSF leader. He is a father. He is a follower of Christ. All of these are true, but they don’t paint a very clear or complete portrait of Mr C. To really get to know him, you would want a lot more information. You would want to go all the way back to his childhood, to the very beginning. You would want to know stories about his friendships and about the times and people who hurt him or let him down. You would want to have some genealogy about his family, like what they did, how they lived, what they felt and believed. You might want to hear songs that he liked, poetry. You might want to hear his own words.
You see, that is what the bible is. You can say it is a book or collection of books, because it is. You could say it contains laws and direction. But it is so much more. The bible is the way that God has chosen to reveal himself to mankind. It is the actual inspired word of God, told through the writing of humans, because that is how we can commune with God. As God is eternal, so is His word. It is stories about God, just as we would tell stories to learn about anyone else. It is a tale of joy and a tale of sadness. It is a book of poetry, history, prophecy, parable, law and above all, it is a book of grace. It is a book with amazing joy, sadness and then redemption fulfilled at great cost.
The bible is God’s word. God didn’t recite it word for word, but don’t mistake that they are His words. In spirit He guided and inspired the authors to record, without error, these words so that we can become closer to God. The written word is on the same level or authority as if God had spoken it (in a loud booming God voice) to you or me directly. It deserves the same reverence, not in a lock it in a glass case and worship the ink and page, but in a way that requires our time and attention and effort to commune with. The bible contains the knowledge we need to walk the path we are to take in our lives. You can call it an instruction manual, a light, but most importantly, it is a gift.
God desires to commune and communicate with His people. Did you realize that christianity is the only world religion that doesn’t have a “divine” language? You don’t have to speak hebrew to read about God. You don’t have to read ancient arabic. The bible has been translated into over 2,530 different languages – almost every written language in the word so that every person can read, study and get to know the word of God and thus, know God.
How are you showing respect for the word of God in your daily life? How are you showing just how thankful you are that God chose to let us get to know Him, that he cared that much? Are you hungy and thirsty for the word? Me, too!
Not only is this God’s word, but it is also how God reveals His divine purpose and plan. So, since there is a master plan for how everything and everybody and all time is going to be and work and do, wouldn’t you want to know about it? You see, God isn’t just a creator and builder, who designed and created everything, put it in motion and then just sat back and let it go. He is a God of action. That is one of the reasons we pray. God is alive and listening. He is active and moving. He wants us to see Him, understand Him and, in reflection, understand His plan for our lives.
It is said that God’s main purpose is to glorify Himself. Sometimes this is mis-understood and people think God needs us to tell Him how great He is. Like we have something that God needs. But it doesn’t mean that. Think of it this way, a lightbulb’s main purpose is to show how bright it shines. Glory is what God is, just as light is what a lightbulb is – OK, on a much bigger scale, but you get the point.
Do you believe that God has a purpose and a plan? Do you believe that He has a will? Do you believe that the God who created everything, knows everything, knows every blade of grass, every molecule, a God who is alive and active and listening and participating and communing… Do you believe He just might have a thought or two in the fashion of a plan for your life? Do ya’ think, then, that it might be a good idea to read and study the book where He wrote that down? Just saying!
We start our study this year in the same book that God chose to start, Genesis, a book of beginnings. Genesis tells us about the beginning of everything: at a universally large scale, as in, the universe, and on a subatomic scale as in the time that he spoke mass and matter into being (the heavens and the earth). God could have chosen to reveal all kinds of details about timelines, and specifics about the way that He created, but He chooses to tell us the story in the matter that means the most to us, in a very human and personal way. He spoke. He saw. These are human actions and God wants to reveal Himself to us in the language we all can see and speak. Genesis tells about how we began with God and how we were given choice and made the wrong one (sound familiar to your own life?) Genesis tells about things like rebellion, judgment, justice and, right from the very start, it begins the promise of redemption and reconciliation. God tells us about Himself through the stories and interactions of His friends and the people He calls family, His peeps (as in they will be my people and I will be their God).
At some point in your life you will ask the question: How did I get here? It may be at a time of incredible high, where you want to reflect on all the blessings. It may be at a terrible low point. It may be at a time that you just feel last or lonely or one where you are thankful and joyful. Here is what I can tell you. I know where the answer to that question is. It is right here, in these words. You see, everything we need to know about how we got here, physically, mentally, metaphysically, chronologically, spiritually, legally, purposefully, economically and redemptively – it is all here. Where should we start? How about: In the beginning God…