On Sunday mornings, I am beginning a new class series called “The Voice.” Yes, it is very much a play off of the hit singing competition show. But it’s all about 1) hearing God’s voice, and 2) finding your own voice.
I’ve been listening to a lot of messages recently about the history of the Restoration Movement, mainly through Patrick Mead and his podcast through the Eastside church of Christ. Patrick also has a blog on which he has been discussing the ins and outs of how we actually got the Bible. I’m also going to begin a Wednesday night series over Timothy Keller’s book “The Reason for God.” In preparing a little for that one, I watched on of his panel discussion with 6 atheists/agnostics. The topic was “Is the Bible a Myth?”
And boy, let me tell you. I am SO glad that the Bible doesn’t save me. Don’t get me wrong – I love the Bible. I love studying it, discussing it, wrestling with it, and teaching about it. But the Bible doesn’t love me back. It’s just some ink on paper encased in bonded leather.
Other religions place an exuberant amount of respect and adoration into their scriptures. The Muslims, for example, believe that the Qur’an was written by Allah before the creation of man, and that mankind’s highest goal is to follow the Qur’an. The Sikh religion (which has been in the news a lot recently, and my thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families) reveres their holy book as the last and greatest teacher. They believe that the spirit of their “founder” (for lack of a better word) physically embodies their holy book. All the emphasis is placed on the book.
At a Sikh Temple during a class trip in college, I was actually gotten onto by one of the men worshiping there because I was sitting with the bottoms of my feet towards the book.
We commonly refer to the Bible as “The Word of God” which it is in many ways. But it is also the words of man about God. I have a hard time believing that God himself wrote, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”. Those aren’t God’s words – those are David’s words. And I’m okay with that!
My faith does not stand or fall with the inerrancy of every word on every page of my NIV Study Bible.
Yes, the Bible contains the words of God – from Genesis to Isaiah to Acts to Revelation, God is speaking throughout the entire story. God spoke, men wrote. God told Moses to write down His words.
But as the inspired Psalmist said,
The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.
4 The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is majestic.
5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.<sup class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(J)”>(J)
6 He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,
Sirion like a young wild ox.
7 The voice of the Lord strikes
with flashes of lightning.
8 The voice of the Lord shakes the desert;
the Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the Lord twists the oaks
and strips the forests bare.
And in his temple all cry, “Glory!”
According to David in Psalm 29, the voice of the Lord is too big and powerful to be contained in the ink on the scrolls. God’s voice is over the waters. It’s ripping through forests and shaking deserts. God’s voice is all around us.
The greatest part of the story, and the part which separates Christianity from Judaism, Sikhism, Islam, and Hinduism, is that our Word did not stay as ink on the page. Our Word became flesh and lived among us. Jesus is the fullest revelation of God to the world. God’s voice is most clearly heard through the Red Letters.
You see, God’s voice is too living, too active, too powerful to remain an inanimate object.
I’m glad my faith is not in words on a page but in the Word made Flesh.
Are you hearing the Voice of God?