I AM JUST A PLAIN MAN SEEKING GOD … Have you ever wondered what it would be like to read the Bible for the first time? Without knowing what you already know about God and the Bible? Just to open it up and begin reading to discover for the first time what the Bible reveals about God, about human history, about you?
I have. I wouldn’t trade what I have learned, gathered, and accrued over the years of continuously and consistently reading the Word of God – but I have also yearned at times to return to the sheer delight of making that first fresh discovery of God and His glory from reading something that comes to life in such a powerful way that it’s like I’m seeing this for the very first time!
I remember one season in my life in particular when this thought and desire first possessed me – or at least in this way I’m going to describe to you. I would like to share it with you in the hopes that it might inspire you to read the Word of God with this same fresh perspective and insight.
“I am just a plain man seeking God!”
I just know that I was deeply depressed during this particular season. I was questioning everything about the significance and effectiveness of my life for any good that I had contributed to the Kingdom of God or to other people. I was doubting the worth of everything about me: my meaning, my purpose, the direction I was heading in, the wake I had left behind me, the prospects of whatever was in front of me … everything!
I can’t pinpoint the year exactly, but I remember well where we were living, so it was sometime around 1984-85. I’ll run across the notes that I wrote to myself some day and pin down the precise time, but that’s not the important thing for here.
I know that I just needed to hear from God – from the Living God. I was beginning a new reading-through of the Word of God like I have done repeatedly for over 50 years. I was in a pastoral role, again just like I had been for the past 12 years previous to that time. I had been a Christian, a believer for 20 years at that time. I had been reared in the pastor’s home and in church all my life.
But, none of that background, experience, or familiarity with God and the Bible was feeding my soul. I needed something fresh from God! I wanted to know God and to hear from God in a personal way, in a soul-quickening and reviving correspondence with the Living God!
None of my background or past experience qualified me for any sort of special effects or encouragement to my soul. In other words, none of those long-practiced activities could speak life into my depressed and downcast spirit.
It’s not that reading the Bible ever becomes “old hat,” or that we become jaded to it – but sometimes we go through seasons when we have lost the passion, the verve, the thrill of life that we long to enjoy when we commune with God in His Word.
I am, after all, in my core being, just a plain man who is seeking God!
I want to know God! I want to hear from God! I must hear from God Himself! And, I knew that God speaks through His Word by the life and power of the Holy Spirit. And, I knew that God has given us His Word for the specific purpose of “outing” Himself to us – revealing Himself to us, telling us who He is, who we are, and what His will and purpose is to have a loving relationship with us.
So, the thought hit my mind one day: what if I didn’t have all this background and familiarity with God and the Bible? What if I didn’t already know everything I know about God and the Bible? What if I was opening up the Bible for the first time – with the desperate desire and hunger to discover who this God is and know Him? What if I didn’t know what to expect, didn’t already know what was going to come next – but just had the confidence that if I read this Book, the Bible, I would find God, meet God, and discover who God is? And, perchance have a personal encounter with Him?
What would I discover about God just from reading the Bible from this perspective and with this intention: I am just a plain man/woman who is seeking God!
So, I remember beginning to read where the Bible begins … in Genesis 1 and following. Here are the kinds of thought I began having as I started reading … and as I kept saying to myself: “I am just a plain man who is seeking God!”
God is a creating God! God makes matter and stuff out of nothing! “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” There was nothing there before God made it, but God created everything there is! So, He is an eternally-existing God, and He is a powerful God! Powerful enough to create everything that exists out of stuff that did not exist before! And, He is the Creator of everything that is in the world. I mean, that’s what that sentence says about God!
God’s Spirit and Presence in in His created world! “And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” I suppose His Spirit and His Presence is still ever-present everywhere in His physical creation. Like, right here with and around me!
God is a talking, speaking God! “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light…” and there was everything else that God just spoke and said “Let it be!” This God is not only a talking, speaking God, but He is doing His talking and speaking from His superior intelligence and intellect. He is talking and speaking as a Person – He is a Person-God and a personal God! And, I am convinced that just as this Bible that I am reading is telling me about this God talking and speaking like this … is also God speaking and talking with me! This is becoming more and more awesome – the more I read and the more I find out about this God!
God is a God who performs other activities of personal intelligence – and He also makes value judgments according to His own Personal values! “And God saw that the light was good…” So, this God is good, and He determines when other things are good, and He values good. “God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night.” God calls things what He wants them to be – and what He is pleased for them to be. God is a God of superior and ultimate authority. This God “makes the call” about everything. God assigns the definition, the purpose, and the evaluation of all things. Things are distinguished and differentiated according to His desires and pleasure – they serve His good purposes.
God creates all life – and all life comes from Him! “And God said, ‘Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures … God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves…” He continues creating all living creatures on the land, in the air, in the waters. All life is created by God! This God is not only alive and living Himself, but He is the One who makes everything live that is alive!
God created human beings! God blessed human beings to live in loving relationship with Himself! God created us … God created me … to know Him, to live in communion with Him, to enjoy sharing a loving relationship with Him! “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…’” And then, after creating this first man and woman, God continued to converse with them, to bless them with His company and Presence, and allow them to serve Him under His direction and pleasure! He continued to explain and demonstrate how He and they would have this loving and gracious relationship together under His sovereignty, Lordship, and provision!
Are you getting the idea? Bear down, bore down on the words to read them with as fresh a mind as you can muster – and open up your understanding to the Holy Spirit to reveal God to you in all His holiness, majesty, greatness, and glory!
And, then, you just keep reading on through the rest of the Bible with this thirst and quest in mind: “I am just a plain man/woman seeking God!”
If one of the first and primary reasons we read the Word of God to begin with is to know God and find our joy and delight in Him, then make that your goal and quest – and He promises to “out” Himself to you and say, “Here I am!” [Isaiah 58.9]
“When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you” [Proverbs 6.22] … because it is, after all, the Word. of. God!