Ever Changing...Always the Same
This year I cross the 20 year threshold of being a Christian. I can still remember when I first picked up the Bible and began reading. It was quite an intimidating period in my life. I became a Christian, started to read the Bible daily, give generously, and pray consistently.
I found myself intrigued by what I was reading and learning. Those days were filled with questions, conundrums, and what appeared to be paradoxes. At that time though all I wanted to do was read the Bible, connect with God, and share what was happening in me with other people.
Life, as I’m certain you are aware, has a way of crowding out what once produced significant joy for me. I’ll never forget when I realized this for the first time. I’d read through the Bible in the first few months of following Jesus and then something happened. I became familiar with the text. I started to skim across what was once breathtaking. I no longer lingered over the simple, yet complex, truths of Scripture. Unfortunately, I started assuming I knew more about the Scriptures than the Scriptures knew about me.
Oh the joy that is ours when God uses His word to pry our hands away from idols and self-righteousness. I’d love to tell you it only took once for my Father to gently (at times forcefully) pull me away from self-reliance and an odious pridefulness, but that wouldn’t be truthful.
Thankfully, the more I’ve come in contact with God’s Word the more I realize I need to come into contact with God’s Word.
What I’ve found (or should I say what’s found me) in the Bible is a well that never runs dry, a mine that only produces more and more gold, a source of life that brings me back from the land of the dead and dying. At times it just doesn’t seem to make sense. How can you read a book for 20+ years and still see it as new, still be stunned into silence, still be brought to tears? As you can imagine…the answer is in that this is no ordinary book. It has no ordinary author.
The Bible is more than just a collection of ancient wisdom literature, finely crafted historical narratives, personal letters, or instructions on how to live from day to day. Simply, the Bible is God’s Word. I can still remember early in those early days longing to know what God wanted from and for my life. I prayed and waited…even looked for signs and visions. Thankfully, through the teaching and instruction of those farther along in their journey with Jesus I began to value the Scriptures as more than a source for wisdom or a personal guide for living. I began to see God from cover to cover. In the words of Sally Lloyd-Jones I began to see the name of Jesus on every page. I heard every book of the Bible whisper the name of Jesus. Seeing Jesus in all of the Bible changed everything for me. I realized that all of Scripture fit together – Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Leah, Judah, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Caleb, Jael, Esther, Job, Naomi, Boaz, Ruth, David, Isaiah, Nahum, Malachi, and so many others were directing my eyes to Jesus. For a moment I was crushed under the weight of not seeing what was so clear for so many years of my life. I was longing to see God, to hear God, to know God and He was right there in the Scriptures patiently drawing me, speaking to me, loving me, correcting me, and leading me. I didn’t need a sign from God, I already had one…I had my Bible. I could hear God’s voice because I had God’s words.
Kevin DeYoung in Taking God at His Word states, "You do not need another special revelation from God outside the Bible. You can listen to the voice of God every day. Christ still speaks, because the Spirit has already spoken. If you want to hear from God, go to the book that records only what he has said. Immerse yourself in the word of God. You will not find anything more sure."
When I saw and felt this Bible reading transitioned from a quest to find God to a journey of knowing God and being known by him. John 1:1 states, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” It’s direct and straightforward yet at the same time so incredibly deep. The Word was God! The Bible doesn’t lead us to worship the Bible…the Bible leads us to Worship the Word – Jesus!
Maybe today you’re not sure every page of Scripture points to Jesus. Maybe you’re not sure that the Bible is relevant to everyday life for you. Personally, I wouldn’t be alarmed about what you say about the Bible, I’d be more concerned about what the Bible says about Jesus and how that radically alters what you say about the Bible…and what you believe about Him.
There are many arguments about the veracity and trustworthiness of the Bible. You could spend your life trying to prove the Bible to be God’s Word. The Bible, if it’s God’s Word, doesn’t need you to validate it.
Psalm 19 reveals, “The Law of the Lord is perfect…the precepts of the Lord are right…the commandment of the Lord is pure…the rules of the Lord are true.” I’m thankful for God’s grace and patience with me as I’ve grown in my love for my Bible. There have been seasons of wonder, worry, and waning. Through all my changes the Bible has stayed the same. But of course that’s consistent with the words contained within – Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Even though we are ever changing the Bible is always the same.
Why not jump in today and start reading the only book that never grows old or dull? Pick the book up carefully and watch God transform your life through the words within.