What I’m aiming at:
The lightbulbs in the header are symbolic. It’s my goal to serve others by making the truths of God’s Word plain— turning on the lights and untangling the cords so that what might have felt complicated now seems clear.
Many people secretly feel ashamed, embarrassed, or intimidated because they experience the Bible as hard to connect with.
A lot of us don’t exactly know what we should be getting from it. “Is this supposed to make me feel good? Is it supposed to tell me what to do with my life? Why don’t I enjoy reading this?” We want to hear God’s voice so badly, but sometimes we’re overwhelmed by the complexity.
I’m going to venture to guess that much of the anxiety we feel doesn’t come from the hard press of surrendering to God’s call by faith (which is real)—it’s that we aren’t really sure how to apply what we’ve just read or maybe we’re missing a bit of information that could help us see the point better.
The Bible is an enormous ancient book written from within cultures that were very different than ours. The style isn’t like other books we read most of the time, the customs are unfamiliar.
I remember a friend once saying, “The Bible is just such a weird book.” What she meant was there are bizarre things in it. But, what if some of those things turned out to not be “weirdness” at all, but were just elements of a way of life (a culture) we no longer live?
I’ll give you an example that used to be pretty weird to me:
John the Baptist.
Be honest. Has it ever been a little off-putting to you that he’s eating bugs and wearing bizarre clothes? Are we supposed to be excited about that? (Or worse, emulating it?)
Here’s what we need to know to turn a couple more lights on:
John’s clothes are actually a critical signal of his role in the story!! He was called by God to be the front-runner, preparing the way for Jesus. The Lord made John to be the new “Elijah” who He’d promised would come before God’s Messiah (the Rescuing King). Elijah had been a very important Old Testament prophet who wore . . . wait for it. . . a hair coat and a leather belt around his waist. (2 Kings 1:8)
John isn’t CRAZY at all! And his clothes matter! People in his day would have seen clearly that he was a prophet— probably the first in several hundred years! They’d been waiting for this! And what about the locusts?? They mark his seriousness about following the dietary laws of the Old Testament. He was a man committed to faithfulness. He wasn’t calling them to a repentance (return to God) that he wasn’t practicing.
If you were there, as a First-Century Jewish person, it’s likely that everything I just said would have been second nature to you! Nobody would have had to explain it. It’s like how no one needs to tell you that a swoosh means Nike or the Golden Arches mean McDonalds. It’s just something in our cultural fabric.
Knowing just a couple of big picture things suddenly clears up the murk! That’s just the tip of the iceberg for who John is, let alone who the Messiah will turn out to be!! There’s so much we could go digging in!
I’ll say this before I get anymore wound up about that: we can rest knowing that what’s most important in the Bible is actually vividly clear– there’s a BIG spotlight on Jesus. So, even if you never delved into any deeper study, the way to reconciliation to God and the total forgiveness of our sins would still powerfully visible.
But . . . oh, my. A wealth [WEALTH] of adventures awaits the one who’s willing to keep pressing in. The Biblical story gets richer, deeper, wider, more beautiful, more mind-blowingly ordered, and thrilling the farther you go in. The Holy Spirit means to take you on a journey for the rest of your life. He’s walking from room to room, switching on the lights of the story– and of YOUR story. Will you let Him?
I’d love for you to come with me as we trace Biblical themes, spot the big story of the Bible on every page, learn about resources that will help, get acquainted with wise voices, and discover background details that will bring God’s Word into greater focus. There’s joy in loving the Lord with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength.
Next: work I do.