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God continues to speak but are we listening?

I have been wrestling with the fact that considering we live in a so-called enlightened and liberated period that the Church (or maybe in this case it needs to be referred to as the church) has removed itself so far from God's truth, allowing the wisdom and truth of God to be replaced by a flawed and corrupt logic and the folly of man.

For hundreds of years, people may have been excused for their ignorance as they did not have the scriptures available to them in their language to lead and guide them. I must however be noted that in spite of this there has always been a remnant who have sought to know God and His truth and have endeavoured to serve Him with the same passion and after the same manner as the true Early Church. These movements grew and were strongest when these faithful few were able to gain access to and read and study Scripture. The action that set them fundamentally apart was their application of "Sola Scriptura" i.e. they took direction from none other than the Word.

When considering the stories of those faithful to our Lord in Foxe's Book of Martyrs and the dark and dangerous times that they lived in, the following quote serves as a powerful testimony to the power of God's word.

(1525-1689) "The Lollard movement was outwardly suppressed, but there were always remains of it, and from time to time persons were punished for meeting together to read the Scriptures. The New Learning and the Reformation quickened interest in the Word, and it was a fresh translation of the Bible which was the most powerful means of bringing widespread revival among the people" (The Pilgrim Church, Being some account of the continuance Through succeeding centuries Of churches practicing the Principles taught and Exemplified in the New testament,E. H. Broadbent, 1931)

The ability of the Word however to impact on peoples' lives was dependent on them first seeking of God and then studying His word. 

So what's gone wrong? Today we have the Scripture not only in our own language but in a host of different versions. Not only that but it is available on tap in printed form or electronically via a multitude of devices. Have we like the Israelites (who got so used to Manna from Heaven that they ultimately began to despise it) begun to hold the Word of God in contempt? When I consider my life and then read testimonies of people like John Hooper (see The Martyrdom of John Hooper) I have to ask the following questions:, 

  • Do I love the Lord? ("If you love me, keep my commandments," John 14:15)
  • Am I prepared to follow Him no matter what i.e. do I have the heart of Shadrach Meshach and Abednego, "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto you, O king, that we will not serve your gods, nor worship the golden image which you have set up. (Daniel 3:17-18)"
  • Am I willing to die to self? ("If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me," Luke 9:23)
  • Where is my treasure or heart? ("where your treasure is, there will your heart be also," )
  • And the questions go on, "Am I dead to self?","Am I risen with Christ?","Is my focus on Glory?" etc. 
In short: "If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with him in glory." (Colossians 3:1-4).

The conclusion of the initial question is this; God's word is still as quick and powerful (Hebrews 4:12) as it has always been. And the problem is not that His Word is not freely available but rather that we don't take the time to study It or allow it to be the standard for our lives. We simply do not seek after those things which are above.

As I continue to meditate on these things, my prayer is threefold:

  • Help me oh Lord to hide your word in my heart that I might not sin against you (Ps 119:11)
  • Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Ps 139:23-24) 
  • May we all as God's people, humble ourselves, and pray, and seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways (2 Chronicles 7:14)