For the week of September 4, 2010 / 25 Elul 5770
Torah: Devarim / Deuteronomy 29:9 - 31:30
Haftarah: Isaiah 61:10 - 63:9
The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law. (Devarim / Deuteronomy 29:29; ESV)
I love the Bible! It's hard to believe that this week marks 34 years since I first came to know Yeshua as Messiah. Perhaps my love for the Scriptures has been at least partly fueled by how God used them to bring me to himself. I remember like yesterday how even though I knew little about the Bible at the time, and I wasn't religious in any way, I wouldn't let my eyes be cast upon the New Testament. Whatever was my understanding of Judaism then, I knew that anything to do with Jesus was taboo.
I was overwhelmed by being shown for the first time the messianic prophecies in the Tenach (Hebrew Scriptures / Old Testament). Some examples: Zechariah 12 and Psalm 22 foretold his suffering on the cross; Micah 5 predicted that Bethlehem would be his birthplace; Daniel 9 set the Messiah's coming before the destruction of the second Temple (which happened almost two thousand years ago); and Isaiah 53 is a play-by-play description of his rejection, sinlessness, sacrifice, and resurrection predicted hundreds of years before Yeshua came.
So from day one of my following Yeshua, the Scriptures have been foundational to my life. I am so grateful to have been influenced by others who were firmly committed to the complete trustworthiness of the whole Bible. Whatever struggles I have faced throughout all these years, God's written Word has proven to be an anchor that has stabilized me, a compass to give me direction, treasure that has enriched me, and a light to keep me from stumbling.
Some people think I enjoy debating God's Word, but debating is formulating argument to prove one's point. I am not interested in being right, for I know that only God is right. While some may regard me as argumentative, that's just my way of grappling with Truth. If my understanding of something in the Bible is correct, it will stand up to scrutiny and challenge. The Scriptures are likened to a sharp double-edged sword that effectively cuts through to our hearts. By grappling with the Scriptures, we have the opportunity to more clearly understand what God is saying to us.
To understand the Bible's teachings it is essential to not only better understand what God is saying, but also what he is not saying. God has purposely revealed what he has intended to reveal. As for what he has not revealed, that too is purposeful. As we contemplate the revealed things, it is so easy to speculate over what he has not revealed. But God's secrets cannot be known, no matter how hard we try. As we read from the Torah at the beginning, we are responsible to live out all of what God has told us to do. But as for God's secrets - those things which he has kept to himself - they belong to him and he is not sharing.
The Bible is not a text book with neat subject categories. It sufficiently deals with a wide range of subjects, covering every area of life. It is not missing a single essential ingredient for successful godly living. Yet the truth of Scripture often leads us to ask questions to which there are no intellectually satisfying answers. And yet how much division has been caused among God's people over areas that God has not made clear? Instead of being satisfied with what God has revealed, we fight over conclusions established by speculation over what God has kept secret. That doesn't mean we shouldn't ask hard questions or seriously contemplate the implications of the Bible's teachings. But as we do, we also need to take care that we don't create conclusions over things which God has kept secret.
I am aware that we don't always know when we are doing that. But the only way we will discover that we are, is by humbly submitting our understanding of the Scriptures to the Scriptures themselves. We need to be willing to give up convictions that have no basis in what God has truly revealed. As we do, the Scriptures will begin to speak to us with a clarity like never before.
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