Thursday, May 7, 2015
God's Word is Not a Oui-ja Board
"She Said Yes!"
It's happened a thousand times in my house if it's happened once. Children are so cute and innocent and willing to hear what their hearts desire to hear. Their minds are so fixed upon what they desire that they see answers and resolutions where ever they look, even when there is no answer given to them.
There have been times when I've been speaking to someone on the phone and one of my little ones will run up to me and ask something simple such as, "Mama, can we have a treat?". Then in my conversation with the person who called me, I might say something like, "Sure" or "Yes". My children, in hearing my answer to the person on the phone then turn around with great excitement and yell,
"She said yes!"
Without a doubt I said yes. But my answer was to the caller, not to the child pulling on my leg. But that child, hearing my answer to another, took that answer for him/herself and not only that, shared it with the rest of his siblings, who rejoiced to hear it. It creates quite a messy situation at times.
When it comes to my kids, this scenario seems precious and cute, albeit frustrating. But even though I love their innocence, I've had to teach my children the dangers of doing such things. And I hope they keep this wisdom close to their hearts as they grow into adult children of God, because the same lesson must be learned for each one of us who believe.
To many times young and old believers have shared with me stories that mirror my children's so closely that I'm left utterly amazed at the folly. They tell me of their prayers and their search for the answers from God and how they read the bible and found a verse or two or several that God spoke to an ancient nation thousands of years ago. Then, adopting the recorded words as their own, they excitedly proclaim, "He said yes!". How can we continue to make the same mistake that small children make? How can we not see the folly in this?
The answer to that question is less condemning than a person might understand, but it boils down to simple ignorance. But when we consider the concept of doing this as we first did regarding my own children, we can see the folly of it. Anytime someone asks a question and adopts an answer not directly given to him, the answer the person believes to be for him is a mistake. It's kinda cute when it's a four year old asking for a treat. But it's not so cute when it's a believer who mistakenly believes that the Bible is a magical mystical book of answers randomly applicable to any plea he might have. This is not the function of the bible.
God teaches us through His word. We learn who He is and how He operates. We learn about sin, human nature, the world, God's will and many other things. But it's not a Oui-ja Board. We can't ask it a question and then point, expecting the words to be God's answer. Are their times when the adopted promises line up with God's will for a person's life? Sure. But it's a dangerous game to play and many an ignorant believer has suffered from failed expectations because of his misunderstanding about the role of God's Word in his life. Simply put, there are times when the words a person adopts as his answer don't line up with God's will for his life. Believers innumerable have suffered for making the mistake of thinking that every word in the Bible is a personal word randomly applicable to their lives however it is desired.
Rather than looking mystically at the words printed upon the pages of our Bibles, we need to look truthfully a them. God's recorded words are about Him and for His glory for our edification and education. It is living an active and sharper than a two-edged sword able to divide between soul and spirit. Are some of God's promises recorded in the Bible for us personally? Absolutely! Can we claim the promises God made to a different nation? Sometimes....but it greatly depends upon the promise.
Knowing that God Is, and that the Word He's spoken for us is living and active should definitely give us hope and comfort, but it shouldn't bring confusion or disillusionment, or even disappointment. If confusion and disillusionment are the results of having taken God's word out of context, we must never shake our fists at God as though He's failed us. Rather, we should consider that we've misapplied His word and created a god or the will of a god to suit our own desires, and then we should repent.
I've had many conversations with people who've said, "I used to be a Christian, but..." and then they go on to list some failed expectation they had as the result of misapplying God's word. But most of these people fail to acknowledge that the god they've worshiped and the words they've applied to their lives as "God's broken promises" are actually no different than a child misapplying his mother's answer to his own situation and claiming it as a "personal truth". God does speak to us and reveal things to us through His word. But His word is to magnify Him and His will, not our own. And therein lies the problem. You see, when a person engages in scripture mining, what he does is fashion an answer according to his own will.
God speaks to us and teaches us many things through His word. But we must always, always, always be mindful that it is Him and His will that is magnified through His word, not our own. It is His testimony, not ours. His word creates what He wants it to create, not what we desire to create by adopting signs and coincidental phrases as confirmation of the leadings of our own hearts. The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked above all else. Do not follow your heart! Seek first the Kingdom of God and the rest will follow.
God's word is not a Oui-ja board. It glorifies and exalts Him and His will alone.