by Calven Celliers
“Don’t say God is silent when your Bible is closed.”
These ten words speak directly to the heart of any believer who fears that God might be inactive or uncaring in the brokenness and messiness of our lives, and reminds us that He cares, He sees, and He speaks. But too often, we’re just not listening.
God is always ready to speak into our lives. We simply need to listen, tuning our ears and hearts to what He is saying in the book He inspired. When we open the Bible, we find more than 780,000 words (783 ,137 to be exact – well according to Google that is) breathed by God himself for us.
In his second letter to young Timothy, the apostle Paul wrote that “16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16 & 17NIV)
As part of his teaching at New Harvest last Sunday, guest preacher Arnold Groenewald (Open Doors Organisation) shared how a young man of the world confronted Christian missionary brother Andrew, and mockingly suggested that the Bible was outdated, and insignificant in todays world. Arnold shared the story about how this young man told brother Andrew that it was ‘an ancient book with little or no relevance for his life today.’ In my forty-four years, and more specifically my thirty-two years as a born-again believer, I have consistently experienced the Bible’s ability to speak the right word, at the right time. In fact, I fully relate to Charles Spurgeon’s words when he says that “No one ever outgrows the Scriptures. The Book just widens and deepens with our years.”
God is always speaking to us through His Word. But numerous times in the Bible it makes reference to the fact that we need ‘ears to hear’ Him. “He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit is saying” is one of Jesus’ favourite expressions. It’s the punch line to each of the letters to the seven churches in Revelation, as well as several of His parables. In other words, He’s saying, “Don’t just hear my words; receive the Spirit of revelation.” What does that mean? It would seem that it’s possible to hear the words of Jesus and not hear what the Holy Spirit is saying. Some hear the Word, yet they do not allow it to take root; they do not open themselves to understand and accept it so that it transforms them. Those who have ‘ears to hear’ allow the Word to bear fruit in their lives for the glory of God.
It’s no use complaining about God being silent when your Bible is closed. It’s like grumbling about not getting text messages or WhatsApp’s when your phone is turned off. Whilst God can, and does, speak into our lives through other people – this is the value of surrounding yourself with godly people who will speak into your life and build you up – the most common way you are going to hear from Him is through His written and established Word. The Bible is the best place to turn when you need to hear from Him, and it’s the best place to go even when you don’t, so that when you do, you have it hidden away in your heart to draw from in times of need. It’s where you begin to learn what God sounds like.
Spiritual mentor and pastor, A.W. Tozer once said, “The Bible is not only a book which was once spoken, but a book which is now speaking.” God wants to speak to us today, and every day, through His Word. God’s word is not simply ‘once spoken’; God’s word is always ‘now speaking’. May we never lose sight of the privilege that is ours to have the Word of God so freely available to us, and may we have ears that truly hear Him as we allow His living Word to transform us step by step along the way we go.