Years ago, I was visiting my parents when my brother arrived with a metal detector. We all went out to the back yard, and he proceeded to show us how it worked. My brother would wave it along the ground, and when it detects something of medal, it would beep. When the beeping started, I would eagerly dig up a new treasure (if you call a pull ring from a soda can a treasure). Our Dad, warned us sternly, “don’t yall dig up my yard.” Well, it wasn’t but a few minutes later the metal detector was going off like an alarm clock. My Dad comes running from the porch and starts digging like a dog burying a bone. He just knew we had hit it big, and he suddenly didn’t care about the yard being dug up. We laughed about his excitement as he unburied a rusty nail.
I thought about how excited I can get when I find hidden treasures in the Bible. It’s as if I’ve been treasure hunting when I start making connections between the Old and New Testaments. And who doesn’t like a good treasure hunt? I love it when something is revealed to me in the Bible that makes His Word come alive.
But I do have one word of warning for you as you treasure hunt His Word. Understanding the message is stimulating, but the treasures you uncover will not strengthen or sustain you if you are just focused on the message and not the messenger. When discouragement and sadness strike as a result of our trials and heartaches, we need the hope and love of the Messenger, not the message itself. That, I believe, is how we occasionally go off the rails. We don’t take time to consider why Jesus said what He said. We believe it, but don’t know the heart and character behind it. When we do, the message will start being engraved on your heart, and you will be able to praise God even in the midst of the storms.
Look for the clues they have been planted through the stories and events, especially the Gospels, and see if your view of Jesus deepens and grows. As you read these familiar passages, ask yourself several variations of the question, “what is surprising”? By asking what is odd or strange, we begin to discover just how radical Jesus was, and why? And it all boils down to our rescue story and how much God loves us. When we accept His love, we live loved! In Chapter 4 of the Apostle John’s first epistle, he tells us, God is love! He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love; not that we loved God, but he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins…. We love because he first loved us.
Friends, The Christian message is good news. But it is the Messenger, the Messiah, who loves us unconditionally, and without limits. Because of Him there is a message!
This is what the Lord says:
“Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom, or the powerful boast in their power,
or the rich boast in their riches. 24 But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things.
I, the Lord, have spoken!