Instruction Manual or Personal Journal?
June 15, 2018
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I have piles of instruction manuals for everything from our lawnmower to our printer. I usually don’t need instruction manuals to fix things (my wife thinks I do). Okay, sometimes I consult one, if none of my male friends are around to see me in such a moment of desperation. Consulting instruction manuals is not something a guy likes to own up to doing. I can also assure you that I don’t pull them out in pursuit of an enjoyable read!
I’ve heard it said that the Bible is God’s instruction manual for life. That would make it a boring read! True, it contains some instructions, but the Book is so much more! It has history, poetry, fiction (they’re called parables), in-your-face prophetic words, and picturesque descriptions of an astonishing future. I’d say that the Bible is more like God’s personal journal that chronicles His relationship and interaction with the most precious part of His creation, people.
Personal journals contain historical details, personal reflections, opinions, maybe even some poetry, and perhaps thoughts about the future. That’s what the Bible is, God’s personal journal for you and me to read and respond to. (This is the same God who keeps 100 billion stars in 100 billion galaxies going and every sub-atomic particle in the cosmos doing its thing, so He has no trouble making His journal personally applicable for each one of us.)
This journal of God’s was written over many centuries, God using the unique personalities and specific circumstances of dozens of co-writers who He made certain wrote exactly what He wanted them to write (He controls the universe, He certainly could carefully guide the compositions of a few dozen writers).
If we came across a journal of a person close to us or of a famous person we admire we’d be anxious to read it. We would especially want to read it if we knew the author intended for us to read it. That’s what the Bible can be for us! It’s less a cold and detached description of how to do this or that and more a passionate expression of God’s love for us and a record of His unfolding plans and purposes for us. It’s God’s story and we humans are the main characters in that story with God being our Hero. This is why I pick it up virtually every day to read. It’s the greatest story ever told!
“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.” Psalm 130:5