A few weeks ago, we discussed the concept of losing God, and, when we lose things, we tend to search for them until we find them. In Matthew 7, Jesus admonishes that we will find what we are looking for is we keep asking, seeking, and knocking. This also applies to our searching the scriptures. What are we looking for? How are we looking, and why are we looking?
For What Are We Looking?
Are we looking for loopholes? In Judges 21, during the aftermath of a small civil war against Benjamin in Israel, the people swore to never help Benjamin rebuild and repopulate. In verses 20-21, however, the people destroy Jabesh-Gilead to undo their harm, and they even go so far as exploiting a loophole in their customs to rescind the oath they have already made to God. In Joshua 24, Balaam cannot curse God’s people. Instead, he teaches Balak how to lead them into disfavor with God. He simply searches for a loophole.
We may study with the intent of disproving another. At the well in John 4, the woman Jesus meets looks for an answer from Him to resolve a technical dispute on the location of worship. In John 5:39, Jesus criticizes the Pharisees for not seeing what the scriptures point to, looking for their own justification more than God’s. John 12:47-48, John 8:31-32, Hebrews 4:12 – these verses point to the power the scriptures should be having in our lives.
How Are We Looking?
In Acts 24, Felix sends Paul away until a “more convenient time” that never comes. Contrast this with the Bereans of Acts 17 who search the scriptures with an open mind. The difference is between passive learners and active learners, and Hebrews 11:6 calls God a rewarder of those who seek Him diligently. There is nothing passive about diligence. In II Timothy 2:15, Paul encourages Timothy to be diligent in his preparation to work God’s word. Do we search God’s word diligently, or do we let ourselves passively be exposed to that word.
Why Are We Looking?
God’s word is the standard by which we will ultimately be judged. In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus pictures many who claim to have served God but have done so without knowledge of God’s word. Jesus goes on to compare those who build their lives upon God’s word with one who builds his home upon a firm foundation. We should want to be free from our sin, able to stand before God on the day of judgment, having lived by the statutes of God’s will. We need to know our Bibles so we may correct error. In Romans 10:1-4, Paul speaks of zealousness without knowledge. Without that knowledge, our efforts fall short.
As Peter says in John 6:68, it is in Jesus alone we find eternal life. We may not always like the answers we find. We may have to change when we search God’s word and learn of His will. We must overcome our fears or our indifference. Only then can we let God’s word make the changes in our lives we need.
lesson by Tim Smelser