December 7, 2014

Being simple is a very good thing . . .

The Sunday Bible class at Grace church was huge. We were placed at round tables to discuss the Scripture lesson. Each table had an appointed facilitator and our table had several prominent leaders in the church. However, the person who rocked our group was an elderly Spanish lady. She didn’t say much, was not good with English, but when she opened her mouth, everyone listened. She obviously knew her Bible and had a deep relationship with Jesus Christ.

Knowing God is not about how smart you are. Some children have a deeper grasp of biblical truth than many adults. While I’m taking theology classes and being taught deep and powerful principles, I am positive that God is the teacher of Bible truth, and it does not matter what my IQ is, or how much information or studying I accomplish. He makes truth clear and real. It is not discovered by brain power or human ability.

The psalmist wrote: “Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them. The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple. I open my mouth and pant, because I long for your commandments. Turn to me and be gracious to me, as is your way with those who love your name. Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me. Redeem me from man’s oppression, that I may keep your precepts. Make your face shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes. My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law.” (Psalm 119:129–136)

The first sentence and the second are inseparable concepts. The person who loves and obeys God’s Word is the one to whom God unfolds truth. He imparts understanding, even to those who are simple. He is not referring to someone who is a simpleton, but a person who thinks with simplicity. Another word that might fit here is “child-like” (but not childish).

God gives truth, not to the brainy but to those who love Him. He opens up our minds to His Word. He also enables us to walk steadily with Him, giving us what we need to overcome sin. He protects us from oppression and teaches us His Law as well as His Word. We get it, not because we are smarter or quicker in mind, but because He has blessed us with a heart like a child. He has even blessed us with the mind of Christ.

A simple soul has other characteristics. They do not laugh at coarse jokes, mostly because they don’t get the joke. They have compassion toward those whom others reject or abandon – the hurting, homeless and down-trodden. They feel it when others hurt and will help them without thinking about any cost to themselves.

Another quality is a shiny face. This may seem odd, but when God’s face shines upon His child, that child shines too. Think of how a child lights up when his daddy walks into the room. So it happens when we see the face of our heavenly Father shining in our lives.

As the psalmist says, the simple soul also sheds tears because of the lawless. This distress is not “How dare they sin like that!” but a deep love for God’s laws which are being broken, and for the one doing the breaking. A simple soul knows the delight of obedience and the sorrow of disobedience. When others disobey, the heart of a simple person hurts for them and longs for them to know the light and the wonder of God’s truth, and the joy that comes with freedom from sin and from knowing the smile of God in their lives.

The next time someone calls me a simpleton (or anyone else for that matter), may God give me the presence of mind to tell them the difference between a simpleton and a simple soul. 

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