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Monday, October 19, 2015

The Inside Scoop

Those in the news business are forever occupied with beating one another to a story. Old media or new, success is measured in the ability to get the inside scoop.

God, on the other hand, is not in the business of broadcasting his secrets. Communicating is something in which he takes great pleasure, but not something he does casually. His truth is for those who value it and understand its worth, not for those who dismiss or trivialize it.

The value of God’s word is one of its repeated themes.

Pearls Before Swine

The Lord taught his disciples “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces”. He was not suggesting that his disciples should be frugal about preaching the gospel; in fact he later sent them out to do it. But having preached the truth, if it was rejected, they were not to continue bending the ears of those who had no regard for it. In the case of those who “will not listen to your words”, the Lord said, leave them and “shake the dust off your feet”. His word is too precious to be wasted on the demonstrably dismissive or uncaring.

Paul and Barnabas similarly told the Jews in Pisidian Antioch, “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles”. They would go where the word of God would be valued, not waste their time pleading with those who had already shown that they despised it.

When asked why he spoke to “those outside” in parables, the Lord said, “... so that they may be ever hearing and never understanding”. They had rejected the word of God and were no longer to be given the opportunity to turn and be forgiven. God’s thoughts are too precious to waste on those who have no time for them.

The Value of the Word

A communication from God is a treasure to be prized. The longest psalm in the Bible is a non-stop paean to its value — a full 176 verses worth of Jewish enthusiasm for the law of God, his statutes, principles, precepts and his word in general.

If you value it, the Lord assures you that you will receive more of it. If you don’t, you lose even the bits you do comprehend.

Solomon tells us that those who value his word and characteristically obey it are taken into God’s most secret and intimate counsels. They get the “inside scoop”.
“... for the devious person is an abomination to the Lord, but the upright are in his confidence.”

Men On the Inside

We have numerous examples of this principle elsewhere in Scripture. Abraham was one of the early “upright” men that God considered worthy of his confidence. Looking down at Sodom, which he planned to destroy and in which lived Abraham’s relative Lot, God said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?” The answer was: Clearly not. And so we read the remarkable account of a man negotiating with his maker, interceding on behalf of Sodom by appealing to a God he knew to be righteous.

So Abraham became privy to a secret known by nobody else in his day. He was in God’s intimate confidence.

The Apostle Paul speaks about being caught up to to paradise — though he was never able to confirm whether he had experienced a dream, a vision, or was actually transported there — and hearing “inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell”.

These inexpressible things are not part of scripture. They were conveyed to no one else. They were between Paul and God alone. Remarkable.

John had a similar experience in Revelation. To a large extent, what he was told and what he saw were written down for the benefit of his fellow believers. But at one point he is told, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down”.

I must admit to a certain curiosity. Nobody on earth knew what the seven thunders said. Nobody has known since. But John did. He had the inside scoop.

What About Us?

In time, of course, it will all be revealed, and we may all know the sorts of inexpressible things that Paul heard, the message of the seven thunders, and many of the counsels of God that remain currently mysterious, for “nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light”.

I can’t promise you that if you revere God and obey him diligently, you will necessarily have things revealed to you of the magnitude or nature of those revealed to Abraham, Paul or John. But characteristically, when God has something important to say, he says it to those who value his word.

I’d like to be counted among those who do.

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