The Bible is a magnificent book. It's timeless and accessible to all, and by that I mean it can be read or heard by the simplest of souls and they will find consolation in their pain and direction for their lives. Yet the Bible is also a complex book written over a few thousand years with many themes and concepts that only yield their light to those who devote time and effort to its study. When my children were learning to read, they could phonetically sound out many of the Bible's words, but they had to grow and mature to grasp the meaning. Peter wrote something of note about the Bible in his second epistle:
Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction (2 Peter 3:15-16).
In this passage, Peter acknowledged that he considered the things Paul was writing as Scripture. He further said Paul wrote things that were hard to understand and some had carelessly distorted what he wrote. That leads us to this week's lesson in PowerPoints for Living. Thanks for your patience through this longer-than-usual introduction. Now let's get into our lesson.
DAVID THE WRITER
In Romans 11, Paul was explaining the nature of God's relationship to Israel now that the gospel of Christ had been proclaimed. He wrote,
What then? What the people of Israel sought so earnestly they did not obtain. The elect among them did, but the others were hardened, as it is written: “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that could not see and ears that could not hear, to this very day.” And David says: “May their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them. May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs be bent forever" (Romans 11:7-10, emphasis added).
Where did Paul go for help explaining this difficult concept? He turned to Psalm 69, a psalm David had written 1,100 years before Paul. And how did Paul characterize what David said? He didn't write "David said or wrote," Paul indicated "David says" in the present tense. David didn't say things that were just for his generation; that would have warranted a "he said" label. Instead, David taught principles that were eternal, and therefore Paul wrote, "David says." David spoke and is still speaking to you and me 3,100 years later.
Most of us will never do something that's still "speaking" to people thousands of years after we're gone. However, we are speaking to our generation, both through who we are as well as what we say, produce, or write. Revelation addresses the war we are in when it states "They triumphed over him [the devil, the accuser of God's people] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death" (Revelation 12:11). If you want to be an overcomer, which you will have to be to live the abundant life, you must share your testimony—not just how you came to salvation but what God is showing and teaching you on an ongoing basis. You must accept the fact that your life speaks and as you speak God speaks through you. If you are silent, His witness is also silenced.
Do you accept the fact that you are a walking, talking billboard for the work of God in your life? Do you further accept that you gave your life to Him, and thus He can use it however He chooses? That means He can make you a household name, or give you a company with thousands of employees, or a ministry that touches the nations. If He does any of those things, you have one duty and one duty only: to speak about what He has done and what He is teaching and making you.
So as we close your PowerPoint for Living this week can be summarized as follows:
God wants to speak through you, so you have the mandate to facilitate that process by freely sharing who you are and what you are learning with as broad an audience as God chooses to give you. In other words, no more playing small.
Have a blessed week!