Month of Gratitude – Day 1: The Word of God & His Gospel

“But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” Genesis 3:9 NIV

 

The Bible.

A book that nearly every household in America has. Some where it has been left on a shelf, forgotten and collecting dust. Others where the pages and cover are so worn and filled with notes, you can’t help but question the life of the person whose hands have held it.

A book so powerful that lives have been changed.

A book that gives life; a book inspired by the very breath and mind of God.

The Living Word.

The Bible is dominated by story. From beginning to end, God’s redeeming story reveals the great lengths to which God has gone in order to rescue lost and hurting people. That’s what the Word is all about: God’s great love affair with humanity.

It begins with the story in Eden. Eden was full of God’s glory – breathtaking beauty with unbroken union and constant communion with God. But, as we know, something when awry, and Adam and Eve found themselves naked and ashamed. They hid.  

They hid from God.

I mentioned the verse earlier; the first question ever uttered in the Bible. Where are you? God, who is all-knowing, asked this of Adam; of Eve. Where are you?

The real tragedy of Adam and Eve’s disobedience was that the union between God and man was broken. Shattered. Destroyed.

But…what a joyous word!

But…the moment that Eve sank her teeth into the forbidden fruit, the shadow of the cross rose on the horizon, and God’s redemptive plan to restore all that we had lost was set in motion.

Throughout Scripture, He continues to ask the question.  Where are you?

All through the rest of the Old Testament, God calls humanity back to Himself.

Where are you?

We read cycles of humanity’s fellowship with God, followed by humanity’s rebellion against God, followed by God’s wooing humanity back in the midst of difficult circumstances, followed by humanity’s repentnece….cycle repeat. You get the picture.

Where are you?

Jesus asks the question in numerous ways. Do you love me? Who do you say I am? Will you leave now too?

Even though we are stubborn, He continues to ask: Where are you?

Even today, He’s asking.

Where are you?

That is the beauty of God’s Word. It’s a love story between God and humanity; a story about a God who loves us deeply; loves with no conditions; loves freely.

True story.

I enjoyed reading the Bible as a kid, particularly in the story format that was translated and re-written by modern authors in a way that child could understand it; grasp it. I looked forward to bedtime when my mother would read to my siblings and me from a most-beloved storybook containing Bible stories for children. During the time I attended a local Christian grade school, one of my favorite curriculums was the Bible class where we would study the word, memorize it and learn what God was teaching (not necessarily how to apply it to our own lives).

Sadly, my hunger seemed to fade after I switched schools and got caught up in the temptations of adolescence, being a teenager and the responsibilities that come with growing up. I didn’t realize that I had been shutting that hunger off, pushing it away rather, until I decided to make a public confirmation of my faith (my church’s version of adult baptism) and sat down with the pastor of my church at the time. In wanting to prove the legality of my community wrong, Jesus met me there and showed me grace and love instead, humbling my heart in the process. That moment wetted my appetite for more of Him and continued on through college and remains today. Granted, I’m human and I fall every day…it’s the choice to get back up and allow Him to pursue me that keeps me fed.

Unfortunately, we live in a biblically illiterate society. It’s important not only for Jesus’ followers to have God’s words written on our hearts, but to be able to share God’s love with others by retelling His story. Even when we think we know the ins and outs of the Bible, we must remember that we only know parts of it or isolated verses, and miss the larger context of what God is telling us. Sometimes we don’t really know God’s redeeming story because we lose sight of the big picture.

I’m thankful that I live in a country where I am to freely worship my Savior; where I’m free to read from His Word daily and pray for a deeper understanding so I can share His love with those around me. I’m not perfect…nor would I ever claim to be. God’s strength is made perfect in my weakness and, with His Spirit dwelling within me; He can love others through me…if only I would get out of the way.

God’s calling. This quest is His story and He’s inviting us to join Him.

Where are you?

Life tends to pull us down. Traffic gets in the way. Distractions and responsibilities call our attention. Details. Troubles. Drama.

Where are you?

He won’t force you to come to Him or answer. That’s the beauty of free will. We have a choice.

Where are you?

What will you choose?

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