Monday, March 10, 2008

Don't Take My Word for It...Take His

I refer specifically to the Decalogue, the Second Commandment of which prohibits the Israelites from making concrete images of anything. "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water beneath the earth." I wondered then, as so many others have, as to why the God of these people would have included instructions on how they were to symbolize, or not symbolize, their experience...We may hazard a guess that a people who are being asked to embrace an abstract, universal deity would be rendered unfit to do so by the habit of drawing pictures or making statues or depicting their ideas in any concrete, iconographic forms. The God of the Jews was to exist in the Word and through the Word, an unprecedented conception requiring the highest order of abstract thinking. Iconography thus became blasphemy so that a new kind of God could enter a culture.

   Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business (ch. 1)


Everyone knows that young children are concrete thinkers. In fact, mine are so concrete that I can imagine my oldest (6) reading this and arguing that he only thinks about concrete sometimes and more often thinks about quicksand and force fields.


Still, I am struck by the fact that in my struggling to make the truths of Scripture more "concrete" for my children, I stand in danger of simplifying God to the point that I am no longer portraying God to them (and that is, in fact, portraying an idol). God has chosen to express Himself in His Word.


For who even of slight intelligence does not understand that as nurses commonly do with infants, God is wont in a measure to "lisp" in speaking to us?  Thus such forms of speaking do not so much express clearly what God is like as accommodate the knowledge of him to our slight capacity.  To do this he must descend far beneath his loftiness.

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (Book I:13:1)


So God has already chosen to "lisp" to us. We have His Word. Further, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14).


We have His Word, the Scriptures. His Word, the Son, dwelt among us. And, "In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory" (Ephesians 1:13-14).


We have His Word, the Scriptures. His Word, the Son, dwelt among us. And the Word of truth sealed His elect with the Holy Spirit.


What have I to add to this? Absolutely nothing.


I want to be clear here...I'm not advocating that it is my duty as a mother to do nothing. Deuteronomy 4:9 makes it clear that I am to teach my children the ways of the Lord. But I need to be sure that my "teaching" is clearly rooted in Scripture. There is no better source of truth than the Word.


What are the outward means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of his mediation? A. The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicates to his church the benefits of his mediation, are all his ordinances; especially the word, sacraments, and prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for their salvation.


Westminster Larger Catechism, Q&A 154


So what does this look like practically? Well, for starters, it means that my children hear the Word of God. They hear it in church, they hear it at home, they hear it when we sing, they hear it when we pray. I am so neglectful of this. There should not be a day that passes when my children do not hear the Word of God. That is one of the blessings of being a covenant child! Why would I withhold that from them? Because I think they can't handle it? HOGWASH! Who am I to judge how the Holy Spirit will move in their hearts? Do I truly believe that the Word of God is living and active (Hebrews 4:12)?


When my children ask me a question about God, or heaven, or the devil, where do I look for the answer? Do I give them some trite Veggie-Tale exploitation of truth in a sing-song fashion, or do they see me open my Bible for the answer? Do they hear me share their question sincerely, no (or at least muffled) giggles, with my husband?


As we leave the church service, do we talk about the things the pastor explained? When my husband and I take communion, do I explain the elements to my children? Do I prepare them for Sundays when there will be a baptism, and remind them of what their baptism means to us?


Do I read God's Word myself? (AAACCCCKKKK...I am so delinquent in this!!) Am I memorizing His Word that I might not sin against Him?


Do I pray? Without ceasing?


Do I remind them, after they have failed and been disciplined, that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1)?


As the Resurrection Day approaches, are my thoughts on Easter baskets and dresses and colored eggs, or am I pursuing the truth of the incarnation and death and resurrection of the Word? Do I seek to explain His coming to my children, or am I satisfied that they will "get it" in their Palm Sunday and Resurrection Day Sunday Schools?


Huh? My own weakness and unbelief hit me hard. "I believe; help my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24).


I desire for God to reveal Himself more clearly to me and through me. May I rest in the beauty and work and power of His Word.

For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" (Romans 10:13-15)



No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Protected by Copyscape Duplicate Content Detection Tool