“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread." But He answered and said, "It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’"” (Mt 4:1-4 NKJV)
"You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. "But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” (Joh 5:39-40 NKJV)
How does God speak to man? He has given us His Word. But here is a mystery: The religious leaders of Jesus' day probably knew their Bible far better than most Christians today. Yet Jesus is standing right next to them, and they don't know who He is. Why? God is Spirit, and those who would know God must seek Him in Spirit and in Truth. Our mind can capture an image, a snapshot if you will, of who God was to the saints at a specific time by reading the Word. Yet if we would know who God IS, right now, for our time, and our specific situation, we must consume the word:
"Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.” (Jer 15:16 AV
By way of testimony, I suppose I might have read the Book of Romans many times in my walk with God. But when I was in a hard spot, pressed up against the reality of my need, I picked up a commentary on Romans entitled, "The Normal Christian Life". Suddenly, the entire message of the gospel had changed for me. It was as if I had never read Romans at all. Out of the desperation of my situation, God had reached my heart through the ministry of His Spirit. Now I could see what had been hidden right in front of my eyes. As Paul tells Timothy, scripture is God's breath. The word for breath is the same as the word for Spirit in the Greek. If we read the Word with our minds, we can get a sense of who God is, but until our reading is mixed with faith, in the spirit, we will not meet God. The difference for me was desparation: I knew I would not be able to go on, so God met me, unveiling His Word, which became alive. Those who hunger and thirst for God shall be filled. The self-righteous know the words on a page, but not the God they purport to represent. Lord, I pray that we be not satisfied just knowing about you. May we press on to know you, and not let you go until we do. May our time in your Word be fruitful as we freely acknowledge that apart from a revelation, we can not possibly understand what we are reading. Amen.