One of the most important things we can do to combat the coming apostasy, as we have shared before, is to develop an intimate relationship with both God and His Word. In essence, to have an experience with Him through His Word. And we do this by slowing down and asking questions of the text, just like we would if we experienced it, first-person. As if we were actually there. Today, being close to Christmas, we will briefly look at the birth account of Jesus through Luke’s eyes and see if some questions arise when we read Luke’s words. Maybe some questions we would want to ask Joseph about the trip to Bethlehem.
And why is that so important?
To begin with, the first step in learning how to experience God through His Word is to slow down and take your time. In essence, give God time to speak to you. Remember the points we discussed earlier?
• Take your time. After all, this ain’t no race, and the prize doesn’t go to the one who finished first. The winner is the one who hears from God.
• Therefore, you must wait for God to speak to you wherever you are reading. Slow down and take your time. Remove the yoke of bondage you have placed on yourself with your agenda or Bible reading plan that is more important than experiencing God in His Word.
• Again, slow down and take your time.
• Wherever you are at in His Word, read the passage over and over again, out loud. Emphasize each word or phrase. Let your ears hear what your lips are reading. Use dramatic effect in your voice if necessary. Become the characters. Feel what they feel. And think what they must have been thinking.
• Then ask the obvious questions or wait for questions to arise. They will if you don’t rush your time with Him. And when they do, watch what happens.
As an example, today we will look at Luke 2:1-21 and see if we can experience God in this account of Jesus’ birth by waiting for our questions to arise.
Can you think of any questions you would ask Joseph if he were sitting with you at a small cafe telling you the story you have heard every Christmas? What would you ask him?
How far along was Mary? Was she in much pain during the trip? And how many days did it take? Where did you sleep at night?
Why did you take her with you in the first place? Couldn’t you have made the trip faster alone and returned quicker if she stayed with her parents in Nazareth?
Did her birth pains come on suddenly, like a surprise, totally unexpected? Or did you have some warning her time was coming close?
Where did she give birth? Was it in a barn or stable? Or maybe in a cave where animals sheltered at night? Was it in an open field? Where did His birth take place?
How did you feel when the shepherds came to visit you that night? Did you immediately believe their story? Or did it take some time for it to sink in?
After the birth of Jesus, why did you not return to Nazareth? Why did you stay in Bethlehem? And what did you do to support your new family in Bethlehem?
And the list of questions could go on. The point is, none of these are specifically answered in Matthew’s or Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth. But they are questions we would ask of Joseph, nonetheless. And by asking these questions, the Scriptures become more alive to us as we begin to experience God, through His Word, like never before.