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Weekly Word

Entries in God’s Word (1)


Hearing God’s Word

Have you ever been given something that was very important to the person who gave it to you?  When I was about 13 years old my grandmother let me borrow a book that was very important to her.  It was an historical look at Russia’s last Emperor, Nikolay, and the brutal murder of his family at the hands of the communist Bolsheviks when they took over.  She had wrapped it up in a small white garbage bag so that it wouldn’t get wet.  I took it to my house and began reading it.  However, one day it went missing.  I looked everywhere and could not find it.  At that point, I had that sinking feeling you get when you know you have to face the music.  I never knew what happened to that book.  But, I learned a lesson about how to take care of those things that are valuable to another. 

Two weeks ago we looked at the Parable of the Soils, which pointed out that we need to take care how we receive God’s Word.  God’s Word is precious to Him, not just because it is His, but also because of what it can do for us.  We can be guilty at times of flippantly receiving something that is incredible important to God.  In today’s passage we will see this again with another parable and a visit from the family of Jesus.  Let’s look at Luke 8:16-21.

Parable of the Lamp

In verses 16-18 Jesus tells a parable that is very simple.  It is a picture of what it is like to receive the Word of God.  In the previous parable God’s Word is likened to a seed being broadcast onto soil.  Here God’s Word is likened to the lighting of a lamp in a room.  Now the lamps of those days would be oil lamps that would have a hole or a narrowing on one side and they usually had a wick.  Thus, just as God casts out seed, so here, God is the one who lights the lamp.  He does this by giving Truth to us.

Now a lamp needs oil in it in order to sustain a flame.  Throughout Scripture oil is a type of the Holy Spirit.  Now God is always working through His Spirit to prepare hearts to receive the Truth of God. In this sense God is supplying oil.  However if we do not retain this supply it will never fill us up in order to sustain a light.  Thus we need the Truth of God and the help of the Holy Spirit to ignite a light within us.  This will enable us to “see” the reality of life all around us.

Once a flame has begun, the light will immediately fill the room.  Light by its nature spreads out as far as it can.  Thus our life and its sphere of influence is like the room that the lamp is in.  We will not only be able to see better for ourselves, but anyone who intersects our life can benefit from this Truth of God burning in our life.

Now Jesus points out that the light is not lit in order to be hidden.  God has a purpose in putting this light in our life.  It is meant to reveal and make things known to us and those who are around us.  It is revelation by nature.  It is not enough to have good feelings towards God inside us.  When His light is operating in us, it is intended to be acted upon and thus give light to others.  If we fail to express God’s Truth in our life then we are contending with the very purpose of God.  Thus Jesus warns in verse 17, “For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be know and come to light.”  What God gives to me in secret devotion should be revealed by me in my life.  But, if not, then the day will come when it will be revealed against me at the judgment seat of Christ.

In both parables we notice this; if the Word is not taken care of it will be squelched or lost.  Here we must keep the oil level high enough, monitor the wick, and protect the flame.  If we do this then we will bear fruit by patiently guarding and nurturing the light of God’s Word in our life.  However, if not, even what light we have received will be lost.  How do I receive God’s Word?  It is an extremely valuable thing.  Without proper value, we will find ourselves losing the light that God intends us to have.

My Relationship To Jesus…

Now at this point word comes to Jesus that His mother and brothers are outside.  Although this seems to be an interruption, it ends up emphasizing the point that Jesus is making about what He is teaching them.  Luke most likely shares this in order to strengthen the point of our need to properly hear the Word.  Family is one of the closest relationships we can have.  Yet, the brothers of Jesus did not believe in Him.  This lack of believe and the strange things that Jesus was doing no doubt enabled them to stir up maternal fears in Mary.  “He’s crazy.  He’s going to get himself killed.  Why doesn’t he settle down and marry a good Jewish woman and start a family?”  In another place we are told that his family tried to even make him come home at one point.  Now, the point of this story is not that Jesus wouldn’t see his family.  No doubt, he did after he made his point.  But it presented a perfect time to emphasize what he had just been teaching.

Jesus basically says that those who hear the Word of God and do it are his mother and brother, i.e. family.  Thus our closeness to Jesus first depends upon hearing the word of God.  To be close to Jesus is to first be close to the Word of God.  We cannot divide it into parts we like and parts we don’t.  Neither can we make distinctions like only reading the words of Jesus as opposed to the apostles.  Some even try to go through the words of Jesus and determine what they think he really said.  This is not being in relationship with Jesus.  This is trying to manipulate the Word of God to our own thinking.  If I want to be close to Jesus then I need to receive all of God’s Word.

Yet, I must also put it into practice.  How I receive the Word is just as important as having it, if not more.   When we act upon the Truth its power is unleashed in our life and makes a difference for us and for those around us.  Now it would be easy to make this about simple obedience.  However, the relationship of a mother and brother are not those who must obey us.  Rather, this is about love.  Even if I don’t love what Jesus is saying, my love for him can help me to do the right thing anyways.  “Nevertheless, because You ask us to, we will throw our nets out again.”

In 2 Thessalonians 2:10 we are told that people perish because they refused to receive a love of the Truth.  Everyday God is trying to give us Truth and a love for it.  The problem is not on His end.  It is on ours.  This is a difficult Truth that many who have been inundated with God’s Word have never truly known Him because they refused to embrace it in their life.  Yet, many who have had precious little Truth embraced it whole heartedly.  May God help us to be that light which he has made us to be in this nation and this generation.