Hearing the Written by Pastor Janna Plummer
I love texting. As a mom of 3 very energetic boys, I love being able to read a note someone sends me and respond when I have a second. Answering a phone, on the other hand, is nightmare. Did you know that children’s brains get remarkably clearer as soon as a phone rings? And at that moment, their desire to learn from your capable hands is overwhelming and therefore, they MUST ask every question that has ever entered their brain. Yep, phone calls are awful.
The down side to texting, though, is that you can’t hear tone. You have no idea what inflection the other person is using or how they meant to say what they were saying. It is a potential trap; hearing whatever we want to hear instead of the heart of the other person.
How many arguments have arisen out of a misunderstood text or email? How many hurts are buried in our hearts from a text or email that came out wrong?
The same is true for the Word of God. It is the WRITTEN word, open to interpretation with no tone or inflection. It can be read in any way that speaks to our hearts, which can be wonderful.
Unfortunately, that also means that when we read it, it can come out as harsh and unloving. We hear the tone we are expect to hear or the inflections we hear every day, or in ways we would expect.
You are to set up boundaries all around the mountain and tell the people, “Be careful that you do not cross the boundaries and go up on the mountain or even touch the edge of it. If anyone so much as touches the mountain, he should be put to death. 13 No one is to touch the person or animal who crosses the boundary; stone them or shoot them with arrows but do not touch them. It doesn’t matter whether it is a human or an animal, it must be put to death.” But when they hear the long blast of the ram’s horn, then they are permitted to make their way up on the mountain. Exodus 19:12-13 The Voice
At first, this sounded so harsh to me. Don’t do this or die!! It’s just touching a mountain!! What is the big deal?
But then the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to the loving statement this truly was. It wasn’t a task master commanding his people to obey every command, it was a loving Father warning his children against dangers.
The Israelites were new to this relationship with God and didn’t fully understand how it all worked. They didn’t understand that the God of Heaven was a God of mercy and JUSTICE.
This mountain was God’s dwelling place, holy and sacred. If anything touched it that was unclean, and as a Holy God, He HAD to deal with it. When we approach God, ALL of us is laid bare before Him. He must respond to what He sees. If our sins are not covered, God will give His judgement.
Approaching that mountain unclean is asking for it. But thanks to Jesus, He provided a way for all our sins to not only be covered but forgiven and removed so we can approach our Father in heaven.
So as parents, we want to warn our children not to run into the streets or play with sharp knives. We are not being unkind, we are trying to keep them safe. And the same way, it was a loving Father trying to teach His children. It wasn’t mean, it wasn’t controlling, it was help.
As you read the Bible, what are you hearing? Are you hearing a controlling voice that being sounds like it’s being overbearing? Or are you hearing your loving Father trying to help you from things you don’t see yet?
This week, I encourage you to seek out God’s heart for you so that you may hear how much He loves you!