Welcome to The Bible: So Much to Confuse and So Little to Understand — Wait a Minute. Strike That. Reverse It. — See the Big Picture to Increase Understanding and Reverse Confusion
Welcome to the Bible Tour — And Willy Wonka
I’m starting the New Year with a Bible Tour blog series: The Welcome to the Bible series. And naturally, I’m introducing the series with Willy Wonka.
Ok, maybe not so naturally. In fact, this may be the first article you’ve ever read about the Bible and Willy Wonka.
In case you’re not familiar with Willy Wonka, he’s a crazy character in a book and two movies, which tell about his bizarre search for a new owner of his chocolate factory. He gives out golden tickets to lucky winners to tour his factory where they meet Oompa Loompas, geese that lay golden eggs, and other oddities.
Fans of the original Willy Wonka movie may recognize this Wonka line that inspired today’s title:
Willy Wonka: We have so much time and so little to see. Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it. Thank you.
The Bible can often make us feel like we’re on a Willy Wonka tour — overwhelmed and confused.
A burning bush? A talking donkey? A crucified Savior? (How can a dead Savior save?)
The book of Revelation alone will leave you wide-eyed and scratching your head.
It can be confusing and surreal. Until we see the Big Picture.
The Big Picture reverses our confusion, turns it into clarity, and leaves us amazed at God and His unfathomable ways.
What’s the Big Picture?
The Big Picture is both a Who and a what.
God reveals the Big Picture throughout the Bible, but most famously in John 3:16:
For God so loved the world,
that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him
shall not perish, but have eternal life.
The Big Picture is that God created man so we may come to know and enjoy Him forever, which was only made possible through the death and life of His Son Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.
In short, the Big Picture is Jesus Christ, who is our salvation.
Enoch Walked With God & Had a Methuselah Moment — You Can, Too! (Part 2)
My Methuselah Moment
Ever had a Magic Moment, the kind that the Drifters sing about?
I have. But even better than a Magic Moment is aMethuselah Moment— a moment in time when your walk with God changes forever.
By that I mean, you walk with God. If you walk away from God, that moment would more likely be considered a Gomer Moment. I’ll have to write about that another time.
My first Methuselah Momentcame when I first heard the Gospel message. I’d grown up hearing about Jesus. I celebrated His birthday every December and His resurrection every spring. I loved Him because every time we celebrated something for Him, I was the one who got presents.
Finally, in 1973, God drew me to Himself and led me to a summer youth camp where I heard the Gospel for the first time. I embraced it and began walking with God.
My next Methuselah Moment came when I sawThe Red Thread— the presence of Jesus and/or His Work woven from eternity past into eternity future.
The moment I saw a timeline showing Jesus woven through God’s Word from Genesis to Revelation, I was stunned. It was like I’d found the missing piece of Christianity that made Christianity stop seeming so hard. It changed my walk with God. Forever.
I saw God in a new light. Actually, in more light — as if a veil had lifted. I saw His heartbeat — Jesus.
I saw that Christianity isn’t about living a certain way and then going to heaven. It’s about Jesus. Everything from eternity past into eternity future is about Jesus Christ and His amazing love for the Father and the world. It all starts and ends with Jesus.
When I say it’s all about Jesus, don’t think I’m leaving out God or the Holy Spirit. They’re the inseparable three-in-one.
From first to last, it’s all about Christ, who lives to glorify God and is revealed by the Spirit.
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. ~ Revelation 22:13
Enoch’s Methuselah Moment
We don’t know what God said to Enoch, but I wonder if his Methuselah Moment came when he saw The Red Thread. There’s no written record that he “saw Jesus threaded through God’s plan for the world,” but we know from Jude 14-15 that he prophesized about Jesus’ Second Coming. And we know Enoch’s ancestors and descendants saw The Red Thread, even though the full reality of Jesus’ first coming remained a mystery.
Adam and Eve received the promise that Jesus would come to save the world from sin (Genesis 3:15).
Abel discovered the importance of the right sacrifice, which points to Jesus, the perfect and final sacrifice (Genesis 4:3-7; Hebrews 11:4).
After Enoch, his grandson Noah experienced the joy of being saved due to being counted as righteous through faith (Genesis 7:1; Hebrews 11:7).
Surely, as Enoch walked with God for 300 years, he came to know God’s heartbeat — that God would bring everything into unity under Christ (Ephesians 1:9-10) and give Him first place in everything (Colossians 1:18).
Walk Like Enoch
Enoch had a unique relationship with God in those days, but we have something he didn’t. We have God’s Word in written form — God’s Word, the Bible.
If we dig into God’s Word — and let it dig into us — it will change us.
To walk with God like Enoch, we must walk with the Word.
One of the best ways I’ve found to walk with the Word is The Red Thread Way.
I’ll post about that next, so please check back.
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Enoch Walked With God and Had a Methuselah Moment — You Can Too (Part 1)
Enoch Walked with God
I’m so glad Enoch walked with God instead of ran. I don’t run.
Unless someone is chasing me or there’s only one serving left of the Mint Moose Tracks ice cream. Or Hurricane Irma comes knocking on our door. I’m running then! Otherwise, I’ll stick to walking.
Besides, walking is biblical.
“Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.” (Genesis 5:24 NASB)
Enoch walked with God, and then God just took him away. He didn’t have to experience death like the rest of us. Of course it took him 300 years of walking to get there. I wonder how many miles he racked up.
Enoch “obtained the witness” that he was “pleasing to God.” (Hebrews 11:5 NASB)
Enoch walked with God and made it into the Hall of Faith chapter of Hebrews.
There you have it. Walking is biblical.
Yes, I know the Bible tells us to “run the race.” But I don’t want to talk about that now. Let’s learn to walk first.
Let’s discover the secret to how a Methuselah Moment led Enoch to such a close walk with God that, after 300 years, God said, “Enoch, We’re closer to My home now than we are to yours. Let’s just walk on home to Mine.”
Ok, God didn’t really say that. (At least it’s not recorded anywhere.)
But Enoch did walk with God in such a remarkable way, God made sure we noticed.
Who is this Enoch?
Enoch first appears in Genesis 5 in “the book of the generations of Adam” (Genesis 5:1-7).
As we read through the generations, a pattern emerges:
“When so-and-so had lived blank years, he fathered blah blah blah.So-and-so lived after he fathered blah blah blah, blankyearsand had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of so-and-so were blankyears, and he died.”
The pattern repeats itself until we get to verses 21-24.
“When Enoch had lived 65years, he fathered Methuselah. Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah, 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. Enoch walked with God,and he was not, for God took him.”
Now you see him, now you don’t because Enoch walked with God.
Enoch lived 365 years — a year of years — but he walked with God for 300 of them.
What happened during those other 65 years?
Who was Enoch walking with then? Did he walk alone? Or with his dog?
All we know is when Enoch was 65 years old he became the father of Methuselah, and it was at that point he began to walk with God.
Enoch had aMethuselah Moment. He had — a moment in time that marked his life between when he walked without God and when he walked with God.
What was so special about Methuselah?
Most people who know Methuselah, know one thing. He lived longer than any other human — 969 years.
Few of us probably know the meaning of his name, though.
Biblical scholars of old say Methuselah’s name most likely comes from the Hebrew word meaning “man of the dart” or “man of the sword.” Its full meaning might be, “When he dies, it will come.”
Sort of the original Field of Dreams except this dream would be a nightmare because the year Methuselah died, God sent the Flood.
Not every Bible scholar is as quick to connect Methuselah’s name to a prophecy of the flood. But honestly, it doesn’t matter.
What matters is that after Methuselah was born, Enoch walked with God. Not before, but after.
Something changed in Enoch’s heart after Methuselah was born. Something so big he had a Methuselah Moment.
Enoch’s Methuselah Moment set him off on a journey with the Lord — a journey he never left. And one we should take.
What happened in that moment?
What did Enoch learn as he walked with God that we need to know?
And how can we have our own Methuselah Moment?
We’ll look at these questions in tomorrow’s post.
Until then, read more about Enoch in Genesis 5, Hebrews 11, and Jude 14-15.
Share this post and check back for tomorrow’s look at Enoch’s Walk with God & Methuselah Moment.
There’s much I don’t understand. You’re shocked, right?
For instance, I’ll never understand how I can sit on my porch in South Carolina and talk into a small handheld box filled with pieces of metal that transmit a living image of me to a satellite in space which shoots that image to my daughter’s phone in a taro field in Hawaii that sends her image back to the satellite and into my phone so we can casually, instantly, seamlessly chat for an hour.
I don’t understand any of that — except the part where she’s sitting in a taro field in Hawaii and I’m on my back porch in South Carolina. And I barely understand that. Especially the taro field part.
Oh, and the talking part. I get that, too, sort of. Ok, not really. How do our brains tell our vocal chords what vibrations to make? And how do our bodies turn them into words other people understand?
If I can’t understand all the wonders of the world God created, how do I begin to understand Him?
Incomprehensible — the inability to be understood.
We, women, get accused of being incomprehensible all the time, but we understand each other just fine. God, on the other hand, is beyond our ability to understand fully.
We can understand much of God, but not all of Him.
If we combined all the brilliant minds in history into one super brain, it wouldn’t be enough to comprehend all God is.
For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.
~ I Corinthians 2:11
God is unique unto Himself. No one and nothing is like Him.
Consider the Trinity. Who can fully understand a God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — 3 Who’s in 1 What? God said, “Let us make man in our image.”
When God said, “Let us make man in our image” He was referring to the Trinity.
Yes, He made us in His image, but He didn’t make us exactly like Him. He didn’t create man and become “the Cube.” He remains the Trinity.
We’re not exactly like God, and we’re not God — no matter what some of us like to think.
When we try to explain what He’s like, we have to grab images we can understand to explain the God we never can.
But beware. Many try to reduce God to an image they not only can understand but also one they think they can control.
Words like “appearance” and “like” pop up whenever we try to explain God. Even in the Bible.
God is like the sun in all its glory, except more. Much more.
As the appearanceof the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day,so was the appearanceof the surrounding radiance. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face and heard a voice speaking.
~ Ezekiel 1:28
If We Can’t Comprehend God, Should We Even Try?
Absolutely, we should try.
The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever.
God only keeps some things secret.
We should seek to understand God as much as He’ll reveal Himself to us and then accept the rest as “the secret things” that “belong to the Lord.”
God wants us to know Him. He even gave us a thick Book to teach us about Him.
Understanding God is Incomprehensible Makes a Difference in Our Lives Today
Like all of God’s character traits, understanding that He can’t be understood makes a difference in our lives today. For some, it’s a stumbling block. For others, it’s a path to peace.
Stumbling Block or Springboard?
Some people refuse to believe what they can’t understand. That was my husband at first.
When friends first introduced Larry to Christ, he battled trusting in Him because too much of the Bible seemed incomprehensible. He refused to trust what he couldn’t understand. For years.
Then one of those friends, Karen, shared a verse with him:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
~ Proverbs 3:5-6
This verse helped Larry realize that his finite ability to understand an infinite God would always be limited.
He recognized that if God were small enough to be understood, He wouldn’t be big enough to be God.
After thinking on Proverbs 3:5-6, Larry knelt down on his knees in his bedroom and placed his faith in Jesus Christ.
He’d found a God he couldn’t comprehend but could fully trust.
Don’t let God’s incomprehensibility be a stumbling block. Let it be a springboard to a life of faith.
When we rest in what we know and don’t fight over what we don’t, we can experience peace in normal everyday life as well as in the midst of heart-wrenching trials.
I don’t have to understand why God has allowed my friend’s child to suffer unrelieved pain for months. I only have to trust Him.
He knows what’s wrong and how to heal him.
He knows the desperate desire my friend feels every moment to see her son enjoy life again. And He cares.
And He knows how all this fits into His bigger picture for our good and His glory — even if they don’t.
God gives us what we need to know when we need to know it.
Let’s not confuse wants and needs.
We want all the answers, but we don’t need them.
We need to trust in the One who understands all.
God’s Word on His Incomprehensibleness
All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. ~ Matthew 11:27 NASB
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! ~ Romans 11:33 NASB
Great is the LORD, and highly to be praised, And His greatness is unsearchable. ~ Psalm 145:3 NASB
“Can you discover the depths of God? Can you [by searching] discover the limits of the Almighty [ascend to His heights, extend to His widths, and comprehend His infinite perfection]? “His wisdom is as high as the heights of heaven. What can you do? It is deeper than Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead). What can you know? “It is longer in measure [and scope] than the earth, And broader than the sea. ~ Job 11:7-9 AMP
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.
~ Isaiah 55:9 NASB
God may be incomprehensible, but He’s not unapproachable.
Seek God with all your heart. When you come to know Him as He reveals Himself in each of His character traits, He’ll make your life more than you could’ve hoped it to be.
Only God knows what that will look like, but you can trust Him, even if you can’t comprehend Him.
Listen to the following song, “Who” by the Newsboys. It’s one of their crazy, fun songs that has a powerful message about this God we can’t contain or comprehend.
Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, Or as His counselor has informed Him? With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding? And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge And informed Him of the way of understanding?”
(Isaiah 40:13-14 NASB).
“Great is our Lord and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite.”
(Psalm 147:5 NASB).
“…God is greater than our heart and knows all things.”
(I John 3:20 NASB).
“Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all.”
(Psalm 139:4 NASB).
“Would not God find this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart”
(Psalm 44:21 NASB).
“As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever”
(I Chronicles 28:9 NASB).
I’ve only shared a few ways that understanding God is All-knowing makes a difference in our lives today. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Know any other ways? Share in the comments.