The cold of the morning crept in under the front door and breathed across the clean concrete floor as the man picked up his little, curly headed son and wrapped him up, head to toe, in the blue and white tallis, the Jewish prayer shawl. The man  carried his son then, out the door and down the hill to the school. It was his son’s first day of school, a significant day in Jewish culture. The little boy was placed on the knee of the Rabbi and a new writing slate was brought inscribed with the 10 commandments of Moses. A drop of honey was placed next to each letter of the alphabet written on the slate. The Rabbi began to read one letter at a time and the boy repeated it and licked the honey and the Rabbi said, “How sweet are His words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103) This was the tradition practiced for hundreds of years as Jewish children were taught that the Word of God is meant to be sweeter than honey to our hearts and lives. The Word of God is still the same today as it was back then. It is still the primary vehicle that the Holy Spirit uses to reveal the beauty of Jesus. It is the written revelation of who He is and it’s not just a telling of Him but a revealing, a showing of who He is through a story. In writing school we were told again and again to show not tell in our creative writing. We were taught that we needed to show who our characters were not just tell our readers about them. An example of this is shown below.

Character description: Danny was angry.

Question: How did Danny feel?

Answer: Danny felt angry.

This is telling.

Now to show.

Character description: Danny kicked and screamed and threw the book across the room.

Question: How did Danny feel?

Answer: Danny felt angry.

In both examples, it’s the same person feeling the same emotion yet it is an entirely different way to discover a person. It’s actually the way we develop friendships with one another. We learn about each other and come to trust one another by observing the consistency of how another person acts through all the events of life. In our hour God is once again calling His church to return to the ancient path, the old way of finding delight in the discovery of God through the story of His unveiling through history.

However, finding delight in the Bible is not only about intellectually knowing God’s story. There is also a supernatural element to the delight that God wants us to find in His word. The Holy Spirit that dwells inside of a Christian is the same Holy Spirit that was present at the creation of the world, the same Holy Spirit that saw David write Psalm 27:4, the same Holy Spirit that witnessed Jesus die on the cross, the same Holy Spirit that today searches the deep things of God in order to make them known to us. There are things about God through the Word that the Spirit wants to reveal to us that we could never find out only by an intellectual knowledge of the Bible. Yes, an intellectual knowledge by reading and study is where we need to start but there is more. This is where the word truly becomes sweeter than honey. When the Holy Spirit does what the Holy Spirit loves to do and touches our hearts with God’s word it is then that we catch a glimpse of His beauty. There is no other experience sweeter to the human heart in the whole created order than this. This is still available!

Jonathan Edwards, the great puritan revivalist, preacher and theologian of the 1700s wrote,

“…God glorifies himself towards the creatures [us] also [in] two ways: (1) by appearing to them, being manifested to their understanding; (2) in communicating himself to their hearts, and in their rejoicing and delighting in, and enjoying the manifestations which he makes of himself. . . . God is glorified not only by his glory’s being seen, but by its being rejoiced in. . . .” (Edwards, The “Miscellanies,” The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 13, [Yale University Press, 1994], 495)

In other words, we are meant not only to know and understand God intellectually but we are meant to find delight and joy through our understanding. To know about God intellectually is only half of the Christian experience. God’s word is meant to move our hearts! So how do we come to a place where we find delight in His word? I’ll go into the practicals with examples over the next few weeks.

[Photo credit: Nathan Lam @ thegloryofgodismanfullyalive.wordpress.com]

Joel Ratcliffe

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