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Language
Pastor Joe Giacometti ©2007

Language is an amazing thing. We’ve created all these sounds and expressions and figures on paper that have meaning, that make it possible for us to communicate with one another so we’re not just standing around making funny faces and grunting at one another all day! And there are different sets of languages for each country and region around the world. One of the weirdest things about it is that another country’s sounds, expressions and figures all fit together in a way their people understand, and they mean nothing to me. They might as well be making emphatic utterances like the Steve Carell news anchor character in the original “Bruce Almighty.”

Perhaps even more fascinating is the way in which we learn these languages. My son right now at thirteen months, is absorbing like a sponge everything my wife and I say, trying to process what it means, and offering his own utterances, quite frequently and with significant volume I might add, in an attempt to communicate with us. Currently it doesn’t mean a whole lot to us, other than being the cutest thing in the world, but I know inside his head he thinks he’s expressing extensive, meaningful thoughts and ideas through his mouth. We’re anxious for these sounds to develop into more than just “mama” and “dada” spread between the rest of his sounds. In watching friend’s children develop, it’s amazing the speech progress that takes place between the ages of one and three years old. That’s really not a lot of time when you think about it, but the development of speech and sentence structure is exponential and just continues through ages four and five.

During our summer trips and camps this year I studied Psalm 119 a bit. At 176 verses, it’s the longest chapter in the Bible. To not see that next chapter number for a couple turns of the page, I’d usually steer clear of reading it. But it happened to fall in my normal course of reading so I figured I wouldn’t skip it. I won’t lie; it took me a couple of days. Between being busy as the camp speaker that week and my other regular reading (trying to read through the gospels several times in the next year or two also) I decided to split it up into several chunks each time I read. What I found inspired me and as a result, a passage I normally skipped over has now turned in to one of my favorites.

As it turns out, Psalm 119 is largely about the word of God and how precious and valuable it is to his people. The play on words here, so-to-speak, is that the entire chapter is actually a poem based on each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Each eight verse stanza begins with the next respective letter of the Hebrew alphabet (this is obviously lost in our English translation). So, it’s a poem about words, specifically God’s words, based on the alphabet! I’ll tell you, so much of scripture was written in a way that is so fascinating and meaningful that much of the time we don’t even realize!

As we consider language and how we communicate with one another, the question is often asked “How does God communicate with us?” Or “Why doesn’t God speak to us more?” What reading through Psalm 119 reminded and encouraged me was…He does! God is always communicating to us through his creation, the situations and circumstances going on around us each day and perhaps most importantly, through his Word. God did an amazing thing through the Bible. He inspired a timeless, universal, living text that acts as his word and him speaking to everyone forever. That’s awesome! Through the stories, commandments, instructions and decrees found in the Bible, God communicates with us every day so long as we’re willing to open up our ears (or in this case, our eyes) to it.

Think about this; every day you choose to not read the Bible, is a day you’ve lost the chance to have the God of the universe speak to you! WHOA! That’s, uh…BIG!

And for those who have resorted to the excuse “the Bible is old and hard to understand and I don’t get anything from it, so why should I read it?” here’s the deal. Most of literature is! At least that’s how I felt through most of high school English classes, often being wrong when the teacher asked “what does this mean?” But the Psalms and the Proverbs I truly believe are two of the books God communicates to us most clearly through. In a modern translation, much of the writing is pure, simple and to the point, and has so much to reveal to us about the nature and character of God and how he designed us to live.

Like Psalm 119: 36, 37; “Give me an eagerness for your laws rather than a love for money! Turn my eyes from worthless things and give me life through your word!”

It doesn’t get much more straight forward than that. And this is the kind of writing we find all throughout these two books. It’s just hard! That’s the main issue people have. They don’t understand it or it makes them uncomfortable because we live a life that essentially teaches us to love money and worthless things!

Please take a moment to ponder Psalm 119:9; “How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word.” Can you honestly say this is difficult to understand or you can’t take something from it? This is so simple, and perhaps one of the most important statements in the entire Bible for a young person to take hold of.

Hebrews 4:12 is a verse I love that really encourages us about the nature of God’s word; “For the word of God is living and active.” Other translations say “…alive and powerful.” This description doesn’t sound like something that’s old or something we can’t get anything meaningful from. This encourages us that the Bible is for us. No matter where we are, what our age is or what time in history we exist.

Language and words are amazing. God knows this and has used his word to take advantage of this. God is communicating with you, are you ready to listen? Don’t miss an opportunity for him to speak to you today. Read his word and let it act in your life.