Do You Read Me?

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January 4, 2022

Matthew 7:24-27 (NIV)

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

CONSIDER THIS

Growing up on the farm in south Arkansas, in the Stone Age preceding cell phones, all our farm trucks had Motorola two-way radios. Each had a unit number. Peepaw was Unit 1, Uncle Martin—Unit 2, Dad—Unit 3, Mr. Eldon (the mechanic)—Unit 4, and the Crew—Unit 5. Unit 2 would say, “Come in Unit 3,” and with an affirmative response, Unit 2 would deliver his message. These radios were really just sophisticated walkie talkies. The lines were always squelchy and staticky. At least fifty times a day we would hear someone say, “Do you read me?” or “I can’t read you.” Then one or the other would drive a half mile to another vantage point and try it again. It could be a challenge to get the message across. 

everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice

In these closing words of the greatest sermon ever preached, Jesus is effectively asking us, “Do you read me?” Do you read me means more than just, “Can you hear me now?” It means not only, “Do you hear me?” but also, “Do you understand what I am saying?” To be sure, there is a way of reading that bypasses hearing. Similarly, there is a way of hearing that bypasses listening. It is why Jesus is ever saying things like, “Whoever has ears to hear let them hear.”

everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice

To “hear” in the way Jesus wants us to hear means to listen beyond mere comprehension. It means to press one’s comprehension into contemplation and yet it can’t stop there. Our reading, which is to say our deep hearing, must lead us from comprehension to contemplation and on to consecration—which is the offering up of our broken and incomplete selves in exchange for the wholeness and fullness of Jesus. It is how the Word becomes flesh in us.

This is what it means to read the Word of God in the power of the Spirit of God. It’s why we are developing this course on “How to Read the Bible Better.” I want you to consider it. We must learn to read in the way of Jesus, which is to say we must learn to read with Jesus in the power of the Spirit. It does not come naturally to us. It only comes supernaturally. 

That’s where we miss it. We think better must mean more. Our “natural” reflex is to think we need to read more of the Bible more of the time. What if that’s wrong? We need to learn to read it better, which means from a supernatural perspective. What if it actually means reading fewer verses with more depth over longer periods of time? What if it actually does begin with listening and “hearing” rather than reading and studying? What if it looks more like the one year chapter rather than the one year bible? 

Do you read me? 

So lets try this. Would you read this next sentence aloud, so your ears can hear it?

The grass withers, and the flower fades, but the Word of our God endures forever. Isaiah 40:8

Faith, after all, does not come by reading, but by hearing. Now do it again, and this time with feeling. ;0) 

THE PRAYER 

Yes, Lord, I want to read you in a deeper way than ever before in my life. I confess, my reading has been shallow and often superficial. I impose my own meanings and categories and I have a way of sifting out what challenges me deepest. Would you train me to read you, Jesus, and in reading the Word of God to learn to read you more deeply into and out of it. Grant me the gift of forgetting so much of what I think I already know that I may learn anew and afresh—this time from you. I pray in your name, Jesus, Amen.  

THE QUESTION

Do you ever read the Word of God aloud? If not, why not? Have you ever considered that the Word of God was written not to be read but to be heard? After all, for much of the history of the world, most people could not read. The printing press only came around about 500 years ago. There’s something about hearing. Will you try this practice more often? Do you read me? 

P.S.

I want you to consider this short course I am leading this month, How to Read the Bible Better. It’s 3 ninety minute sessions (Monday evenings beginning Jan 10) over 3 weeks with 3 super-star special guests. It’s Zoom-based but available on demand if schedules don’t allow. If you are looking for the training between Sunday School and Seminary, this is it. Scholarships available on request. Register Here Today. It will fill.  

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

1 COMMENT

  1. Yes, I read you well. For it is your heart that all would experience God, that we would KNOW him and his grace. Thank you for being such a great teacher, who seek his best for his students.

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