December 3, 2012

Better than a novel

Writing a novel is no easy matter. The production of varied and interesting characters requires skill. Readers look for a well-rounded cast in the story, not flat, one-dimensional people who seem plastic and unreal. This means the good guys will have some quirks and foibles, and the villains will have a warmer slice inside them. The characters will have hopes and dreams, idiosyncrasies and endearing qualities. Their language will be varied and interesting. In short, they will be complex since no human being is as simple as they might appear, yet tug at our hearts for we also are like them. 

Another book, not a novel but true, has been critiqued and doubted as valid by some who think see too much contradiction in its characters. Abraham tells lies, yet is called the father of faith. David blatantly sins, but is called a man after God’s own heart. God is presented as wrathful in the Old Testament and the Lamb in the New Testament. The writers of the four gospels don’t have exactly the same perspective of things. And on it goes. 

However, this compilation of sixty-six books by several authors was motivated by the only One who can describes history’s characters better than any novelist …

For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:21)

God understands humanity. The Bible says He does not look at our outward appearance (making us one-dimensional) but at the heart (1 Samuel 16:17). Scripture also says that Jesus did not entrust himself to men, because he knew all people (John 2:24). 

It seems fair to say that those who criticize the Bible for the way it depicts people and also God is not about the writing or the writers, but that this is God’s Word, and if God wrote it, then what am I going to do about it? I may not like what it says, but to dismiss it on the basis of its writing style is a cop-out. 

Today’s devotional is by Charles Spurgeon. The language is somewhat dated, but his thoughts are my thoughts.

The Bible is the writing of the living God. Each letter was penned with an almighty finger. Each word in it dropped from the everlasting lips. Each sentence was dictated by the Holy Spirit. Albeit that Moses was employed to write his histories with his fiery pen, God guided that pen. It may be that David touched his harp, and let sweet psalms of melody drop from his fingers; but God moved his hands over the living strings of his golden harp. Solomon sang canticles of love and gave forth words of consummate wisdom; but God directed his lips, and made the preacher eloquent. If I follow the thundering Nahum, when his horses plough the waters; or Habakkuk, when he sees the tents of Cushan in affliction; if I read Malachi, when the earth is burning like an oven; if I turn to the smooth page of John, who tells of love; or the rugged chapters of Peter, who speaks of fire devouring God’s enemies; if I turn aside to Jude, who launches forth anathemas upon the foes of God everywhere I find God speaking; it is God’s voice, not man’s; the words are God’s words; the words of the Eternal, the Invisible, the Almighty, the Jehovah of ages. This Bible is God’s Bible; and when I see it, I seem to hear a voice springing up from it, saying, “I am the Book of God. Read me. I am God’s writing. Study my page, for I was penned by God. Love me, for He is my Author, and you will see Him visible and manifest everywhere.”

For those who do not agree, my best suggestion is hinted in the last few words; read it, study it, appreciate it, and let it speak for itself.

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