God Speaks His Purpose into Being


In my last post I mentioned that spiritual growth needs both the dew and the downpour.

Well, it turns out that the Word of God is actually said to be both dew and the downpour, and we just as much need it to grow (Deut. 32:2).

Not only does our growth depend on God’s speaking, but He Himself accomplishes His purpose by speaking.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been noticing that God’s work is accomplished by His word, His speaking.

Both in our church ministry and in my personal reading of the Bible it has been made clear that God speaks His purpose into being. A few related posts on lifeandbuilding.com neatly develop this point and are worth reading:


Here’s an excerpt from “Working with God by Speaking”:

“God created the universe by speaking. Once He had created man, He continued to speak to him. God did not just utter one thunderous sentence at the beginning of time and then silently govern things from afar. He spoke many times and in many portions. If we were God we may have composed one all-encompassing, enigmatic, and profound statement and then left it at that for man to eternally marvel at the wisdom of that one sentence. But God did not behave this way. It seems that He never finishes His speaking, that speaking is part of His disposition.”

 

I’d like to give you some Scriptural examples of how God speaks His purpose into being:

  • God’s re-creation account in Genesis 1 involved His speaking:

“And God said, Let there be light,” is one of the most memorable passages in the Bible because it combines the most ineffable creation with the most facile device – speaking. Light, day, dry land, all the plants and animals, and all of creation came into being through His word.

  • God’s speaking in many portions and ways in the prophets comprises the Old Testament (Heb. 1:1):

When He wanted to find Adam and Eve in the garden, He called for them. When He wanted to give the Israelites a covenant He spoke it to Moses. He spoke to Samuel as a youth, calling Him by name. He spoke to the Israelites through Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel and other prophets. “God, having spoken of old in many portions and in many ways to the fathers in the prophets” (Hebrews 1:1).

  • The incarnation in John’s gospel is of the Word (John 1:1, 14):

A word defines, expresses, and conveys something. The birth, living, and work of Jesus Christ explained and expressed God to those who were with Him. Years later, after the Lord was taken up into heaven, the apostle John said of Him that he had heard, beheld, and handled the Word of life (1 John 1:1). He was visible, audible, tangible, and yet He was the Word. Who He was and Who He was not and what He did and did not do all spoke to John. As the attendants of the Pharisees confessed, “Never has a man spoken as this man has.” (John 7:46).

  • The Word is Spirit and life (John 6:63):

In resurrection the Lord Himself and His word are Spirit and life. That very Spirit and that very life entered his disciples and inspired them to write the gospels, the epistles, and revelation. Thus the One who told Peter (Matt 16:18) that Peter was a stone for building the church years later through Peter told us that we are stones for God’s house (1 Pet. 2:5). This is related to the next point.

  • The Scripture has been Divinely inspired:

All the apostles upheld that the Scriptures were of divine authorship. Paul told Timothy that all Scripture is God-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16). Peter pointed to Paul’s writings as Scriptures, and instructed us to heed them as to a lamp shining in a dark place, reiterating that no prophecy of Scripture is of one’s own interpretation, but is of one borne by the Holy Spirit (2 Pet. 1:19-21, 3:15-16). John simply told us exactly when and what the Spirit instructed him to write (Rev. 1:10-11, 2:19; cf. 10:4)

I appreciate that God didn’t merely thunder one terse statement from heaven to men. His speaking is rich and varied. I also am thankful that the Bible isn’t merely a Judeo-Christian manual or workbook. Rather it is a story that, in the course of the people’s lives it describes, unfolds God’s purpose for their time and ours.

I recently finished a study of Exodus, and in it there’s this picture presented of a priest’s garments being a woven work of gold and linen thread. In this picture the gold thread signifies Divinity and the linen thread signifies humanity. That exemplifies how the Bible speaks God. Woven throughout it are both the human and divine; it truly manifests His wisdom and design.

To develop this line further, can we see God’s speaking being His work elsewhere in the Bible or in church history?

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