(adapted from Listen & Obey: Hearing God’s Voice)
The greatest movies, stories, and books all begin with a dramatic, attention-getting introduction, drawing you in from the very first scene. There is something so finely crafted, so confounding, so beautiful, so emotional, that you must find out what happens in the rest of the story. You are hooked.
The Bible begins with this kind of introduction. Perhaps you have heard or read it so many times that its dramatic effect seems to have been lost. But try to imagine the impact of reading those opening lines for the first time. The story of the Bible starts like this:
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
The Bible opens with God Almighty presiding over his formless and empty creation. There is darkness. There is the dreadful and mysterious waters. And there is a dramatic silence.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
Out of the darkness and deafening silence God speaks. By his spoken word there is light, and not only light, but in the following verses the sun and stars, land and sea, even plants and animals of every kind come into existence by the word spoken from God. He commands that they exist, and they exist. The entire universe is created out of nothing by the voice of God.
One of the most important truths we learn in the opening verses of the Bible is that God is all-powerful and all-knowing beyond comprehension — and yet is knowable. In both the method and result of his creative work, the Father establishes a pattern of revelation: he speaks so that his creation might hear; he creates light so that his creation might see. He desires for us to know him and have a relationship with him. Imagine that. The Almighty Creator who spoke the universe into existence is not only actively involved in the affairs of creation but also personally involved with the people he created. He not only knows you but has made himself known to you.
When we find ourselves in a season where darkness and silence abound, we can be encouraged to know that the voice of God breaks through and brings light to our world.
Sometimes we so desperately want God to speak to us. The good news is he has…and he does. If you want to hear God’s voice, you must open God’s word.
The Bible itself is God’s word throughout history recorded for us in various forms. In the Old Testament, God spoke to his people by inspiring human spokesmen or prophets who would speak and write what God wanted said. God used a variety of people to speak in a variety of ways. He used narrative, law, poetry, prophesy, and wisdom. Some parts are easier to understand than others, but the point is this: God speaks. The Bible is the story of how by his Word he created the world, and by his Word he will redeem and restore the world.
If you’ve never read the Bible before or it has been a while, now is the best time to start. A great place to start is the Gospel of John, where you’ll read about the life and ministry Jesus. For additional aids, check out the resources at the Bible Project.
When you open the Bible, God opens his mouth.