August 22, 2012

God Said: Then, Now and Forever...

God speaks. God does not usually sustain a monologue unless it is specifically directed at humanity telling them how "things" are gonna be.  Because of the nature of the Trinity the words of God are always dialogue within the Godhead Themselves (Psalm 2). They are council (Acts 4:23,28; 1 Corinthians 2:7-8, Ephesians 1:11-14) . God spoke things into creation. Faith comes by hearing the Word (Romans 10:17). Intelligible verbalization is a characteristic unique to God…and man. The relationship between man and God is maintained through speaking…through prayer (Acts 1:14, 2:42, Colossians 4:2). Spoken words are waveform or sound waves. The very nature of matter and creation is waveform. Matter is made of energy as all matter is essentially compressed energy or compressed light-a light which is both particle and wave. God is light (1 John 1:5). God is the light of the world (John 8:12).

Words are a means of relational communication and social exchange or interaction. Speaking allows the inner person to be revealed. The words that emanate from the mouth find their source in the heart or the core of one's being. What a person speaks comes from the seat of their conscience. What God speaks comes from the mind and seat of God’s being, His pathos and His ethos. God speaks things into creation. God speaks righteousness. God speaks holiness. God speaks perfection. God’s Word is eternal since the Word is God (John 1). Therefore, to reciprocate and use speech properly is to speak properly of God and His Word. To praise Him, to worship Him, to put Him first in everything. To speak properly of God in His being and speak of His Son, His Spirit, and to speak of the work of God which is to speak of the Cross. To speak of the Cross is to speak the Gospel and to speak the Gospel is to evangelize and fulfill the Great Commission which Jesus commanded…verbally with words.

Jesus prayed to the Father, and at times the Father responded in action or sometimes...verbally. We pray to the Father like Jesus did and the Father responds to us also in like manner. When we pray to the Son, God responds. When we pray to the Spirit or through the Spirit, God responds. When we cannot even speak, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with groaning and murmurings too deep for words. When we ask with faith God answers. Perhaps not the way we expect but He responds in kind to our communication to Him.

As with love we see the relational attributes of the Godhead when we view that God speaks. Just like love requires another or others, so too does the act of communication. Speech and love are intrinsic to one another. Again we see one of the deeper true essences of God and the relational aspects He has with humanity. Not only can we share words and communication with Him, so too we share the very attribute with God that allows the reciprocal action or relational action to take place with one another at the horizontal human-to-human level. Love and communication through speech, specifically speech that conveys emotion or ideas seems to be part of the Imago Dei or Image of God that God bestowed on man in Genesis.

It is clearly Jesus’ chosen method to convey His message - vocally and often quoting profusely from a worded source (Old Testament) but sometimes on His own authority (You've heard it said to you, but I say to you...). Jesus’ life, deeds and words are then documented first vocally through an aural/oral Jewish tradition and then through writing (New Testament).

Philippians interestingly tells us something else:

Philippians 2:9-11 ~ “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Why is Christ given a name, a name for what? I posit it is for verbally identifying Jesus to others (through evangelism-which we are commanded as true believers to do). In this case man identifying God. Once identified every one that has acknowledged or identified Jesus as Lord will then verbally confess that Jesus is Lord. Why? What did I say earlier? The words that emanate from the mouth find their source in the heart or the core of being. What man speaks comes from the seat of conscience. To speak the intent of the heart is to verbally articulate exactly what is in a person. Out of the wellspring of the heart [conscience] the mouth speaks. It is the same reason we are to confess our sins. If God knows what’s in a person’s heart why will people need to speak the truth?  So that other’s bear witness. Thereby they bear witness to a person’s conversion and salvation or admittance of their sinfulness and depravity and possibly a failure to repent and be saved.

The words or conversation also reinforce the relational aspects of the relationship which invariably and inevitably reinforce the idea and the intent of the Kingdom. There can be no Kingdom without interaction and interdependence of people under a King. Kingdom is where the King is but without willing inhabitants in the Kingdom…there is only the King and a Kingdom in rebellion. Perhaps this is also why lying and being deceitful in our conversations and interactions is such an evil thing. In communicating lies and deceit we are destroying the very relationship that our communication is meant to strengthen and build. Lying and a lack of truth lead to devastated relationships. In particular it destroys relationships totally dependent on trust like families - families which form small church units - small church units that form large church units and Christian societies – Christian societies that form the Kingdom of God. So by something as simple as deception at the individual level or division in small churches, the Devil can disrupt the trusting and communal nature needed to create the Kingdom of God. Speaking the Truth by Christ, through Christ starts with the individual.

So why are love and speech so integral to the Godhead? I suppose it is because love drives the speech. When you love someone…you wish to communicate with them, or there is no relationship…therefore there is no love. So is the Godhead, so is the relationship between God and man…and man and man. It is why we are called so vehemently to love God with all our hearts, souls and minds and to love our neighbor as ourselves. They are all inter-relational…just like the Trinity.

When we visit the Shema of Deuteronomy 6 which contains the command to love the Lord our God with all our strength, we see even more of the same. Deuteronomy 6:3-9 tells us to hear and obey spoken words, from God through Moses based in a promise given verbally to ancestors such as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob:

Deuteronomy 6:3 ~ “Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you.

This is reinforced again and is further compounded by the plural version of God- אֱלֹהֵ֖ינוּ Elohim indicating a plurality in the Godhead which we have already said dialogues with one another in love. Love which is exactly what is being commanded of humanity.

Deuteronomy 6:4-7 ~ “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Man is further told to impress, speak words or talk about God’s commands with their children when they sit at home and in the course of ordinary life and even when the go to sleep and arise in the morning.

So as a man thinks, so is he…for out of the abundance of the heart a person’s mouth speaks. So if God is love, what God has spoken into existence is an outpouring of God’s love. The Heaven’s, the Earth, our families, our mothers and fathers, our sons and daughters, our friends…and yes, even those we perceive as our enemies.

Now you know why you are told to love your enemies.

“…and God said” and continues to say things as He continues to uphold and hold together all He has created in love. (Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26, 28, 29)

Hebrews 1:1-3 ~ “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.”

The above verse from Hebrews even tells us that God even spoke dramatically and at times harshly through the Prophets of the Old Testament...because man refused to listen. Finally, we learn that at the end of time God will summarize the end of all things in speech also...

Revelation 21:5-8 ~ He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars —they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” 

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