God Speaks to Us Through His Word
When we sit in the first Disciple 1 class, we go around the room and tell about our first Bibles. My very first Bible was a white one with a zipper, some of you have heard about this Bible. I was probably about eight or nine when I got it, and if my memory is correct, my grandfather who was a pastor got it for me. I loved that Bible. Not because of who got it for me, or because I enjoyed reading the text. I loved it because of the zipper. I remember carrying it and playing with the zipper – until it was no more. To this day I have no idea what happened to that precious little Bible, but it has a special place in my heart. The next Bible I received was one my aunt gave me for high school graduation. It was a huge red study Bible, with the King James text. I treasured (and still treasure) that Bible as well. By that time, I knew it was precious because of what it contained. But it was special to me because of who gave it to me, not because I spent time reading it. It wasn’t until a couple years later that I bought my first Bible. Over the next few years that Bible became my constant companion. It became the most important Bible of all because I opened up the cover and started devouring the words of the scriptures. I read it morning and evening. I took it to work with me and would read during breaks – or spent time talking with some co-workers about what I was readying. When in college, I would take it with me and read between classes, so that I could be constantly reminded what was truth. In the scriptures I found life, because scripture points to Jesus Christ and the offer of a new relationship with God the Father. I found that the words were more than just ink on a page. They have the God given power and authority to interact with my Spirit. At that time I began memorizing scripture. Psalm 119 calls memorizing scripture hiding God’s word in your heart. Over the years, His word has been what shaped my understanding of God, human beings, the world around us – everything. Spending time in His word both in reading and memorizing has been absolutely irreplaceable. Maybe you’ve experienced the same thing.
There are several places in the Bible where the scripture actually talks about itself. In Hebrews 4: 12 (ESV) we read “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” I’ve experienced God’s word cutting deep, revealing to me places where I stumble or rebel. In scripture I have experienced what 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV) tells us. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” I have experienced the scripture teaching me, training me. I’ve experienced the scripture speak to my heart as it brought reproof and correction. Not that I always headed what it was saying, but I knew scripture was teaching and correcting me. I completely believe that scripture is God breathed, it is His word. And when we spend time soaking in God’s word – allowing it to take its place in our hearts and minds God uses it to speak to us.
I think most of us want to hear God speak. But we don’t always know how to listen. I don’t know all the ways he speaks, but I do know one way he speaks and it’s through His word – especially his word that I’ve hidden in my heart. There have been many times I’ve woke up hearing a verse or passage. Sometimes it’s been for little things, sometimes for big. This past winter was one such time. It was right before I had the diagnostic procedure that would determine if I had cancer or not. I woke up a couple of mornings hearing the 23 Psalm in my head. Because I knew that was one way God spoke to me, I listened. I opened my Bible and spent time reading and re-reading the Psalm. When waiting for the diagnostic procedure to begin I was able to meditate on the Psalm. All through the morning I was kept in God’s peace. When the diagnoses came back – that there was cancer, God’s peace continued to carry me. The day of the surgery I was sitting in a very familiar waiting room. It’s the Kettering Medical Center waiting room, one that I’ve sat in with many of you over the years. The same waiting room that I sat in with my own husband as we waited for him to have procedures. But on this particular morning I was looking around and there on the wall – the same wall I have walked past hundreds of times when going back to the post operative area, was a piece of art work. It was of Jesus the Shepherd. Now, I am sure it was there all along, but I had never paid attention to it. So – in peace, I walked through the doors, because I knew God was my Shepherd and He was leading.
God speaks to us through His word, when we open it, when we memorize it, when we meditate on it. I cannot encourage all of us enough to spend time in the scriptures. For through them He is able to draw us close and speak.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell[f] in the house of the Lord forever.