Thursday, August 30, 2012

Instruction Manual

I had a boss once who was very unapproachable.  Part of the problem was that she wasn't around 75% of the time.  Another part of the problem was that if we had any problems, issues, or suggestions, we usually let them go by the wayside because we were afraid we would get in trouble just for mentioning it.  Once, we got in trouble for some things that we hadn't even done.  And as soon as she was done reprimanding us (and not very politely I might add) she smiled real big and said, "If you ever need anything, don't be afraid to talk to me.  I'm always here if you need anything."  My thoughts, "Yeah, right..."

Deuteronomy 30:14 - But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it.

Fortunately, unlike my boss, God's Word is completely, 100% accessible for us.  This verse is basically referring to the law (all that God has lain out in Deuteronomy).  Now, "the law was plain and easy, but the gospel much more so" (Wesley).  If we can apply these words to the Law, imagine how much more so we can apply them to the Gospel!?!

The Hebrew word for "very" is actually defined as "exceedingly" (Strong's H3966).  The modern definition of "exceedingly" is "to a very great or unusual degree" (  Not only is it very close, the Word is exceedingly close, so close, it is almost unusual!  Doesn't that just give you chills?  The Word of God could not be any closer, any more accessible than what it is to Americans today.

When I read that the Word is in my mouth, I go, "What?"  But look at it this way, it is something we can talk about, discuss, become familiar with.  My dad and I often discuss the Word.  If I learn something new, he is usually the first person I call and tell because I know he will be excited too!  And then I tell everyone else I'm close to.  The things we are familiar with, are the things we talk about!  And the Word is in our hearts because it is something we can understand and believe - "it is not wrapped up in obscure phrases or figures to puzzle and amuse thee, or in is delivered in such a manner as that it is level to thy capacity, even to the capacity of the meanest" (Henry). Even if my heart is made of stone, The Word is at a level where I can understand it...where it can break apart my heart of stone and reach to my inner most being.

But why is it so accessible?  Why is it near, in our mouths and in our hearts?  ...that you may observe it.  The Hebrew for "observe" here is asah meaning "to do...accomplish" (Strong's H6213).  We are given The Word so that we may "do" it.  It is familiar, understandable, discussed all so that we can do what it says!  

A long time ago at one of my first youth conventions, the speaker referred to the B.I.B.L.E. as Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.  It has stuck with me.  That's what it is - the Bible is our instruction manual. It was written and given to us so that we may learn and know what is right, what our responsibilities are.  But being the stubborn people that we are, like any other instruction manual, the Bible often gets tossed to the side because we think we can do without it.  Have you ever tried to build furniture this way?  Usually it isn't very pretty.  Just like our lives without the instruction manual we have been given...  

I challenge you today to take some time and read that instruction manual.  We need to take advantage of the fact that we are given direct access.  The word is near so that we may do as it says.

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