Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Those Who Hear Are Friends of God

In order to teach how gossip works, one teacher gathered his students in a circle. He gave the first student a piece of paper with a phrase written on it. The student was to read it softly to the next student. This process was repeated student by student, until the paper reached the last student, whom then would read the phrase out loud. The students all said, but of course, all we did was read it from the paper. “The Teacher then said, “Well let’s do it without the written paper.” The Teacher spoke a phrase to the first student, who proceeded to repeat it to the next student, until it reached the last student whom would say out loud what he heard. All the students laughed out loud. They all said “It is not even close to what I heard.” Why the difference in outcome between the two exercises? The answer is that one was written and the other was not. Oral transmission of information is bound to be transformed as people do not hear well and/or reinterpret what is said.

Abraham lived long before the Bible was written. In fact the first writer in the Bible descended from Him. Moses was a Levite from the Tribe of Levi, one of Jacob’s sons. Jacob was Abraham’s grandchild. Abraham learned all things pertaining to salvation, from God’s mouth. God spoke to Abraham face to face. Abraham spoke directly to God. Abraham heard God’s audible voice, and kept it in his heart, as a treasure. The Bible says that “… Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness” (Galatians 3:6).

So, Abraham becomes the Father of the Faithful more than 400 years before there is a written record of the Word of God. If God and His salvation is the same today as yesterday, then, Abraham was saved without the Bible. So we must ask ourselves, why do we need the Bible? One thing to consider is that although Abraham did not have the Bible, he did have the Word of God. Now, if we disagree so much with something in writing, imagine then, how would it be with out any written record? The written word is something that we can refer back to, and confirm that what we thought it said was what was indeed said.

However, the Bible is more than just a confirmation tool. The Bible is the inspired - “Breathed” - Word of God. It is as if it came from His mouth. And, Jesus said, that we are ‘not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God' (Matthew 4:4.). God exhales His word, we in turn inhale. The Bible is an extension of God’s mouth, an interface. The Bible does not replace God. On the contrary it brings God closer to us.

Sister White addresses this issue, let us read

The Scriptures are to be received as God's word to us, not written merely, but spoken. … In them He is speaking to us individually, speaking as directly as if we could listen to His voice … Received, assimilated, they are to be the strength of the character, the inspiration and sustenance of the life. {Ministry of Healing 122 - 3}

It is no wonder that Paul says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). As we read the Word, it is as if we are Abraham, and what we read are the Words of God spoken to us. If as Abraham we believed the Words and treasure them in our hearts, our “belief” – just as Abraham’s - would be accounted for Righteousness. Also, we would be one of Abraham’s children of faith and one of God’s friends. There is no greater honor than that.

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