Be Still Know
Matthew 1:22 NLT
‘All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet…’
Learning to understand the place and role of scripture in our individual, and our corporate life, remains something of a mystery. Here the angel quotes the prophet Isaiah to Joseph to underline God’s message that Mary’s impregnation is a supernatural event, dispensing with any human agent in her fertilisation; something of a mountain for Joseph to climb, both in comprehending what’s been said and then trusting the substance to the degree that he carries no suspicion towards his betrothed.
In my early days of ministry, my engagement with scripture was very optimistic, reflecting my own very positive experiences of life. Little had penetrated my safe and secure world, and I was naïve about the pain many experienced. I’d worked on issues of famine with Oxfam as a volunteer since age 13, and campaigned for many global justice issues. Yet, most of that campaigning was the product of an intellectual exercise and my political stance. I’m not sure if I really understood, let alone ever experienced, the realities of injustice personally.
So when my optimistic world view was burst with unanticipated pain, disappointment and acute distress, I found that my reading of scripture was of no great value to my experience. I also found I could no longer digest the weekly preached diet of triumphal Christian living. If this was the living bread Jesus spoke of, I was suffering from an allergic reaction.
Scripture is impregnated with the life of God, yet not that we might cut and paste random stories or verses to bolster our current world view or preferred faith perspective. This is the living word of God and applicable to context. How long had this prophetic word lain dormant until coming to life in a conversation between an angel and Joseph? Suddenly its relevance was revealed. Joseph, for all the confusion within, listened and found faith in his time-space world.
QUESTION: How do you read God’s word so that it changes how you live and think?
PRAYER: Lord, help me to listen to your living word and, in humility, submit to its authority.