Amos – The Power of I don’t Know
I suppose I could choose to write about cultural issues impacting our lives today. I could keep the message of these devotional posts up to date and modern. You know, something relevant to us living in today’s tumultuous world. I could find a verse or two that supports what I want to say and avoid the tough stuff. I think I could justify writing like that, after all, I’m not a Pastor, or a commentator, or expositor. These are devotional posts. I could keep it light, encouraging, and contemporary, leaving the tough stuff to my Pastor to deal with from his pulpit.
I could eat cream puffs every day and for every meal too – it would taste good, but I’m not sure how healthy it would be to just keep it “light and fluffy”. I have discovered that I have little to nothing to say devotionally unless I am talking about the Word of God and His message contained within its pages. Don’t get me wrong, maybe there is nothing wrong with the occasional detour (like this post actually), but as a matter of practice, I’d like to stay in the Word of God.
What’s the problem then? The problem is I’ve chosen the more difficult path of Bible exposition for the devotional posts. The best encouragement I could give you is going to come straight from the Word of the living God, not any fluff I can scratch up. I’ve further complicated my writing life by committing to working all the way through the book of Amos from start to finish. This means I need to deal with the difficult passages. The last two chapters, eight and nine, are arguably more difficult to understand than the entire rest of the book.
I don’t know about you, but if I were reading through Amos in my devotional time when I got to chapters eight and nine, my tendency would be to resolve to the fact that I don’t understand what they are talking about and just push on. That way I could brag that I made it through, even though I didn’t get what the Author/author was communicating. On December 31st I can proclaim, “WOOOOHOOOOOO! I’ve read the entire Bible in a year! Again”! Doesn’t matter how much of it I understood, just that I read every word. I plodded through the genealogies (why do I care who begat who)? I successfully stayed awake reading through the law in Deuteronomy. What’s with all the sacrifices in Leviticus? Oh, well, doesn’t matter, I read it!
I don’t mean to offend, but I do intend to challenge. If you are one of the individuals in the minority of Christian believers that reads the Bible through yearly, that’s fantastic! How much time do you spend in personal study? My challenge to you is don’t let the “groove” of devotional Bible reading become a deep rut. Don’t just read the words you don’t understand. Carve out some additional time out of your busy schedule to dig a little, and do a little deeper study. Allow your encounters with the Word of God to create an appetite, an insatiable hunger in you for the Word of God.
Come to conclusions based on your study, but hold those conclusions loosely. Be willing to allow the Holy Spirit to redraw your conclusions as you learn more and more truth. Don’t be afraid of saying, “I don’t know”. Don’t use your “I don’t know” as an excuse to not learn, but don’t be afraid of not knowing something.
Even though it might be nice, you can’t know everything there is to know right now! Not everything needs to be understood in order for you to grow. Don’t be afraid to say I don’t know! Some genius level Bible scholar that speaks the original Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic fluently, has the whole Bible memorized, and has been studying the Bible for a hundred years makes a persuasive case for what he believes – don’t be afraid of saying, “I don’t know”. Allow the Holy Spirit to illuminate the Word of God to you.
The danger of not using “I don’t know”, is we can jump to a wrong conclusion, then hold tight to it, simply because we must know. Too often we broadcast what we think we know to others, which could cause them to stumble if our conclusions are incorrect. We don’t want to come to conclusions that are contrary to what God is saying. Use “I don’t know”, correctly and judiciously.
God was faithful to deliver His word! God continues to be faithful to preserve His word through the ages. God is faithful to illuminate His Word to man through the work of the Holy Spirit!
God is truly worthy of all Praise and Worship!
Thank you, Heavenly Father, for your Word and the Truth that it contains.