And God Said
God had spoken. The one who speaks expects to be heard. And God was heard. Speaking is the first active verb of the universe. The only verb that existed before creation was the “is-ness” of God. There can be no speech without a speaker.
Speaking is how God created the universe. This is the metaphor of creation rather than the metaphor of hands which we might expect of humans. God spoke into nothing and creation came into being. The nothing heard and obeyed the voice of God and came into being. The universe did not create itself. It was created by the word of God.
The Holy Trinity is seen in the creation. The Father willed creation, the Son spoke by the breath of the Spirit, without which no speech can happen. By speech, the matter of the universe was created and then formed according to its Author. In six days, God spoke creation into being and at the end of the day spoke its benediction. The sixth day was extra special in that this is the day that God created man and woman in His likeness. To this act of speech, God had to respond with the double benediction “Good, good”.
Who is this human race that God spoke into existence in His image? And just what is this image? We can see that He created us to speak and to listen. We were made to understand God and each other, to hear His voice and to respond with our own benedictions to God. This is also told us in the 8th Psalm in which it says that He made us a little less than Himself. When one sees the vastness of the universe which God spoke into existence, it should make us wonder with King David why God was so mindful of us. In terms of the universe seen scientifically, we are but a speck of dust among billions of specks of dust, which live on a planet that is a speck of dust in a solar system which is a speck of dust in a Galaxy which is but a speck of dust. We were made from dust, but we were created to soar upward, and not just remain dust.
Solomon, who assumes a persona of an earthbound philosopher to provoke our thought, looked at all of God’s work in creation and called it all dust (hevel). But it is not dust. God speaks otherwise. And when God speaks, we need to listen.
Because Adam and Eve misused the gifts of speech and hearing when they listened to Satan instead, the mouth of man which was made to rule the earth and speak its meaning by naming the animals as a steward of creation for the glory of God as well as using the mouth for the praise of the creator and ears to hear His voice, Adam and Eve instead listened to the creature, the serpent. When we think that Adam’s responsibility was to name and therefore assume authority over all other creatures, it was he who named the serpent. He then was to have authority over it. But instead, he turned the speech around and listened and spoke to the serpent as though the serpent was His master. He wished to worship the creation more than the Creator who is blessed for ever and ever (Romans 1). So man fell and would have to return to the dust. The curse then was that instead of soaring to God that man would return to the same nothing from which he came. This curse also came upon everything that man made with his hands. All of his cities and all the idols of his hands would also be eventually rendered into dust.
We who are but dust who for a short period under the sun rises to make what appears to be a beautiful flower which attracts admiration. But the heat and dryness of the day shows how short the glory of man is in the sands of eternity. But in spite of our sin, God did not render the punishment of dust immediately. The One who spoke creation into existence is said to maintain it through the Word as well (see Hebrews 1:1-3 and Colossians 1). He, for His purposes allows humankind its short glory in the sun, its fifteen minutes of fame in the eons of eternity.
We can only be thankful that the God who speaks is also the God who seeks. Man had turned his back upon God and turned his ears to hear from below. He no longer wanted to hear the voice of God. Instead, he shrank from God in fear and hid himself in the garden. Fallen man always shrinks away from the voice of God. He tries to flee from it. He tries to drown it out in the sound of creation. But just like the noisy apartment neighbor who turns up his loud music at 2AM while you are trying to sleep, no amount of pillows or playing of your own noise can drown out the voice of God. Sooner or later, God will confront you with His voice. Even if you drown it out for your entire life, you will still hear His voice at the Last Judgment. The unbeliever wants someone to soothe and tickle his ear to silence this voice and will heap upon themselves teachers who will scratch the itch.
But no one can silence the voice of God. Even the militant Atheists cannot silence the voice of God, not even in themselves. Their very denials of God’s voice only affirm that God is indeed speaking to them and seeking them out. Why are these Atheists so militant if they truly believe that God does not exist? It is because they know that God exists and wished he did not.
The God who seeks came into the world. The Son who is called “the Word” by John became flesh and dwelt among us. He came not to seek for our judgment but out salvation. This same John says that He did not come into the world to condemn the world, but that the world thought Him might be saved (John 3:17). The one that rebellious sinners shrink from in fear came in love and bore the sins of the creature on Calvary. Paul tells us in Romans 5 that while we were yet sinners and the enemies of God that Christ died for us. Whosoever believes on Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.
Paul goes on in Romans 5 and waxes eloquent. Where sin abounded, grace was even more abundant. Christ came not just to restore us to a garden and give us another chance at Satan. He became the new Adam. He stood up to Satan in the desert and later on in another garden. And we are in Him. So the security of our salvation is not in us but in Jesus who made the right choices for us in our behalf. We are saved by this faith.
In Jesus Christ we begin to see the wonder of it all again. We who have been redeemed aren’t going back to a garden but to the City of God. Adam and Eve spoke to God in the cool of the day, but we will be with Him forever. Instead of a tree which brings death, there will be rows of living trees on the bank of the river for us to eat from. Adam and Eve were naked and vulnerable, but we are clothed in Jesus Christ, in the brilliant white and pure garments He has provided for us. There is no night there but one eternal day. God will wipe the tears from our eyes. We will no longer face the possibility of death. And there we will fulfill the original purpose for which God has created us, to praise and glorify Him and to hear His voice, willingly and obediently. Satan and all his cohorts will be excluded from this city.
In the meanwhile, we must as God told Isaiah, cry. Isaiah answered and said “What shall I cry?” God’s answer was “All flesh is as grass and its beauty as the flower of the field. The grass withers and the flower dries up, but the Word of the LORD endures forever (Isaiah 40:7-8). Isaiah also prophesies the cry of John the Baptist to prepare the way of the LORD (Isaiah 40:3). God spoke through the prophets of old at various times and ways as Hebrews 1:1-3 states. But now He perpetually speaks in the Son.
God calls His preachers to join in the proclamation of the Good News. These preachers are those like Ezekiel who speak to dead, dry, and dusty bones and brings them to life. We must think how awesome the responsibility it is to speak the words of God in His name. We look at our dusty sinfulness and wonder why God would call vessels of clay for this purpose. But God has not called exalted angels to proclaim the Gospel but reclaimed dust. The Word of God goes out through the voice of His preachers and new creation happens.
It behooves all those whom God has called to preach and teach the gospel to speak his words. The words of men may shine brilliantly for a season, but there is no life giving and sustaining power in them. We need to proclaim God’s message and not our own. The reason that the church is so powerless and dying in our day is because preachers are preaching dust rather than the life giving word.
The call to proclaim God’s news is just that. The word “call” indicates that God has spoken to this person to accomplish His purpose. He sends them out into the World to speak His words. We are called to speak and to seek in Christ’s name. We are not called to entertain people or speak swelling words, but the Word of God. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” But Paul goes on to say that how could anyone hear unless one preaches it? One cannot preach the gospel without words. God did not ordain our good works to proclaim the gospel. Good works are the fruit of faith and are important. However, it is when we are the voice of God that creation happens.
We must be bold, loud, and clear in our speaking. The world needs to be confronted by the God who seeks. God has chosen us to seek the lost by speaking to them. We must be heard over their wanting to hide and suppress the Word of God. The world tries to cover its own nakedness, but it cannot. The sinner who might be outwardly dressed in the finest clothes is still naked inside and knows it. He is dead and knows it. The Word of the one who speaks and seeks must be heard over the din of the temporary words of men. We dare not tone down our message to accommodate it to their fallen ears. God will hold us accountable, in fact even more accountable. This is why James says that there ought not to be many teachers. Even Jesus warns us in the Sermon on the Mount of our idle speech. Or perhaps I could say “idol speech.”
We might receive the same treatment as the disturber of our 2AM peach next door. When we are disturbed like that, we are tempted to call the landlord or police to silence our neighbor so we can sleep. But God cries through Paul to wake up the sleepers anyway. “Arise though that sleepest and rise from the dead. And Christ shall give thee life.” What good would it be to have a good sleep in this life and wake up at the judgment seat of Christ? Those who sleep through God’s Word will unfortunately find out. Everyone has heard God speak in Creation and conscience. Most have also heard God speak at various times through Scripture or heard his Word through the preacher. And all without exception will hear His voice at the Great White Throne. They will either hear “Well done. Enter into the joy of the Lord.” Or they will hear “Depart from me. I never knew you”. How horrible to think that the last words that you will ever hear from God might be these. Rather strive to hear “well done” as this is but the beginning of eternally hearing his voice.
I feel compelled that you listen carefully to these few words of instruction. If they are but the words of men, however inspiring or uninspiring they might be, it won’t matter in the long haul. But if you hear God speaking to you though them, then do not harden your hearts or try to drown out His voice. If you are not sure of this message, then go get the Bible and read God’s Word for yourself and pray that you might hear God’s voice in the Bible. By all means, hearken unto the voice of God. Pray for faith that you might believe in Jesus Christ. The Scripture says that if you “proclaim that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. This is truly God’s Word.
God has spoken. God is speaking. God will speak. Are you listening?