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Devotionals

Bible Mining 101

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828ministries.com H3'ed 8/27/12
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My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.   - Proverbs 4: 1-5 (NIV)

 

David asked the men standing near him, "What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?" -- 1Samuel 17: 26 (NIV)

 

I often hear the lament from Christians about not hearing from God or being unable to discern His will in their lives. This is particularly unsettling during times of great trial when the enemy is attacking and we are more challenged to be able to separate out his lies from God's promises. We often remember the direction of pastors and fellow Christians to read our Bibles but so often I have spoken to people who feel equally left in the dark even when they do read. I am afraid sometimes that we approach the Word of God as an academic exercise instead of a Spiritual one. I want to liken this today to an earthly endeavor we should all be familiar with -- mining. There are essentially two types of mining -- surface and sub-surface. When we traditionally think about mining we probably envision the deep dark caverns and caves filled with men with pickaxes toiling away to find the precious gems and ores they are seeking. That is sub-surface; below the surface, mining. Surface mining however is conducted without having to excavate and dig deep down. When we think of people straining a river bed with tin pans, that is surface mining. It turns out that 85% of all minerals and 98% of all metallic ores are actually found through surface mining.

 

Hold onto those percentages as we turn to God's Word. The Bible is a mine filled with precious gems and valuable deposits from God Himself. The first set of key verses today from Proverbs is dealing with the words and commands of God. We see that God says we must turn our ears and hearts to wisdom and cry aloud for understanding. But in order to find the knowledge of God we must search for it as for silver and hidden treasure. The true depth of the knowledge of God requires sub-surface mining beloved. It requires that we dig a little. Unfortunately, I think that 85% of the time we read the Bible we do so in an academic or sub surface pursuit. Please, I am not suggesting that God is difficult to understand. I think that we make Him out to be more difficult than we need to most times. The Bible however is not a text book designed to impart knowledge as much as it is an insight into who God is, so he can impart His wisdom unto us. As I said, it is a Spiritual matter:

 

There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can't bear it now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, "The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.' -- John 16: 12-15 (NLT)

 

It is the Holy Spirit that guides us into all truth. He is the miner and we are the pickaxe! Too often however, we are merely scratching the surface of what God wants to say. Too often we are surface mining. I can read a passage ten different times and have God say something different to me each time if I am listening. I have done devotionals on the same verse but different subjects. God's Word is only limited by the boundaries we erect in our own minds. Also, I am not talking about trying to deplete the mine every time! I am talking about finding those nuggets from God that we can feast on in His Word. Nuggets that feed our soul and Spirit. Nuggets that help us through the hard times, remind us of who God is, and expose the lies of the enemy. They are there for the mining if we would dig a little bit and reflect to the Spirit of God who lives within us. You must realize today that the Bible says the things of God, including His Word, are utter foolishness to those in the world.

but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. -- 1Corinthians 2: 10-14 (NIV)

That is because the spirit of this world does not understand the Spirit of God. We however should understand the Spirit that is from God because He lives inside of us. Now, the world can read the Bible. They can appreciate the stories as being grand and the poetry as being beautiful. But they will not hear God speak to them through it because it is the Spirit that leads us into the deeper things of God. It is the Spirit that leads us to mine the nuggets. The second key verse contains one such example of a nugget God revealed to me one day.

Who is the uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God? This of course comes from the story of David and Goliath. I must have read this story ten different times before God isolated this nugget for me. The truth is that I initially heard the point while listening to a sermon at a Men's Convention. This is why you should always go to any church service expecting to hear from God. Expecting to meet God. The same goes for when you sit down to open His Word. It is not an academic exercise but a Spiritual one. There are 58 verses in the chapter that contains the story of David and Goliath but God boiled it down to one verse for me and even further -- to one word. One nugget. That word is "uncircumcised." Remember, God does not waste a single letter in His Word. The Apostle Paul says that all Scripture is useful for teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness. So why then does David refer to Goliath as uncircumcised? I always remember reading that verse and finding it odd that he would refer to him as such. In order to find the answer, we must go back to where circumcision was introduced in the Bible:

I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God. " Then God said to Abraham, "As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner--those who are not your offspring. Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. -- Genesis 17: 7-13 (NIV)

This was the Abrahamic Covenant. It was the covenant that established that the people of Israel were God's chosen people. Circumcision then, was the sign that the person belonged to God. Now fast forward to that day in the Valley of Elah. All of the fighting men of Israel were cowering in fear. Goliath was an imposing sight to behold:

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