I have been blessed to have the opportunity to be a part of different Church services at times. I love attending other churches! It has been a blessing to experience how other cultures celebrate Christ. I do have to confess that are times it has been a challenge to be a part of these wonderful services. The challenge being I did not speak the language. Now, I am not suggesting or expecting that they should accommodate me but simply attempting to point of that understanding the language makes a huge difference.
We are currently in the middle of a sermon series, or more like a journey toward, “Knowing the Unknown!” It is a series to understand what God has revealed about his plan for our time. Our focus on understanding Biblical prophecy has lead us to revisiting how we interpret the Bible. This past week we looked at how to understand the figures of speech that fill the Word of God. What stood out to me is how these figures of speech, when properly understood, bring the Bible to life! Let’s look at a couple ways that figurative language makes God’s word exciting by speaking to us in a way that we can understand.
It adds color and vividness. The Bible could simply say to us, “You can trust God in all areas of your life.” This is true and there is nothing wrong with it. But reflect on what you see in your mind when we read these words, “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Psalm 18:2) The difference iis similar to the old Black and White television compared with a modern 4K display!
It attracts attention. The words that we use can make a point. The Bible could simply say, “An uncontrolled tongue can destroy things.’ Yes, that is true, but reflect on this next verse. What do you see? “And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.”(James 3:6) It might cause us to think about recent fires that have destroyed communities! Yes, our lack of self-control of our words can result in the same destruction.
It aids in retention. The words used can make them memorable. The Bible could say your resistance to God keeps Him from working in your life. But consider how these words make it more memorable. “Like a stubborn heifer, Israel is stubborn; can the Lord now feed them like a lamb in a broad pasture?” (Hosea 4:16) Now, for many of us, we miss the point, but for the farmer dealing with a stubborn untrained cow it is memorable. We might think about a child (or adult) throwing a temper tantrum.
God used figurative language to help us hear what he is saying. He has, from a human perspective, gone to great effort to communicate in a way that we can understand His message to us. Let me leave you with one of example. It encourages us to reflect upon our short lives. The Bible could say, “A person that invests in their relationship with God will experience God’s blessing in life.” Or consider the mental picture created for those living in a dry desert type of environment. “He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” (Psalm 1:3)
God wants you to be able to grasp the life changing truth of His Word. You are the only barrier to God’s working in your life!
-Pastor Joe Parkinson