None of us escapes being immersed in words. From the time your ears hear their first sounds until the final syllables you think, words are building blocks or stumbling blocks in your life. They articulate your happiness and define your chagrin. Words overlap all around you, a cacophony of personal shouts and whispers mingled with voices of loved ones, strangers, neighbors, and God.
Sometimes you’re so overwhelmed by verbiage, you seek silence, but even in secluded places with only the songs of birds and squirrels for company, language intrudes before you notice. Your mind starts a conversation that trips you up or directs you into new knowledge. Vocabulary is friend and foe, but always words are present. They’re the essence of your humanity. Almost without willing it to happen, human beings express themselves.
Not all the words in your life can be your own. Others have words you need to hear. What’s said may or may not be to your liking, and how the thoughts of others are couched may not suit your taste. You’d speak the thoughts differently, with less vehemence or more compassion. You’d stress different points, but regardless of how or why or where or when someone else’s words are delivered to you, an overarching obligation presses on you—the need to listen.
Words are spoken for a purpose. The speaker wishes to communicate with you. The information might be important, exciting, life-changing, hateful or boring. Yet you should listen. Words are the stuff of human existence. From the words that bubble around you comes the focus of your daily activities. Thus you must listen.
Those who don’t hear are soon devoid of friends or isolated from meaningful encounters. Life becomes humdrum, and the non-listening person slips into a mental, emotional, or spiritual coma. Words swim around, but they don’t make sense. They float in a rolling, dark emptiness. The person being addressed isn’t listening, isn’t awake.
Where’s this rambling headed? To the word of God. The Bible. If it should happen to be true that the words of scripture are God’s words to humanity, shouldn’t you and I listen carefully?
Below the surface of my Christian faith, the word of God rests as a major stone in the foundation. Without its presence the whole structure of my life would be immeasurably weakened. Through long experience reading, studying, and wrestling with the Bible, I’ve seen how precious its pages are. The words pouring from scripture immerse my mind and heart in God’s thoughts. He speaks to me! He doesn’t speak to me because I’m a saint or even a good person. God speaks to me through his word because he loves me.
His conversation is intended to be heard by everybody. He loves each human who reads his message. He loves those who ignore a holy book with ancient names they find hard to pronounce and so refuse to read. At the root of all the words God utters to humanity is his love for each person.
God wants us to know what’s in his mind and heart as well as our own. So he immersed us in words.