DayBreaks for 08/13/12 – The Significance of Signs
Matthew 16:2-3 – “2 He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ 3 and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.”
“The common attribute of so many lives in the Bible is the ability to see signs. The simple word ‘sign’ gives us the word ‘significance’ and that is the quest I speak of, the discerning of significance in daily experience. Among the few expressions of exasperation we hear from our Lord are those in which he expresses regret at the inability of some to see signs of God’s activity in the things happening around them.
“…in journeying from Ur to Canaan Abraham knew himself as not merely moving from one context to another for his business enterprises. He answered a call that had consequence and meaning. For Noah the rising waters of his disintegrating world were not merely the result of ecological imbalance. He was aware that he had been called toward a future made possible only if men and women acted faithfully in apocalypse. To Jacob, as to many in the Bible, a dream was not merely a manifestation of overtiredness or hypertension. It was a message from heaven to earth, an angel of warning or encouragement or affirmation. For Moses a burning bush called for a turning aside. Bushes burn almost routinely for us all, yet it is our capacity to see faces in the flames and voices in the fire that makes the moment more than routine and therefore pregnant with possibility. For a fleeing people, survival in the mud flats and tidal reaches of a great river delta was more than a convenient environmental happenstance. It became a never-to-be-forgotten sign of a destiny given them by God. For Wise Men, a star was more than an item of astronomical data. It became a sign of birth and change and a new age. For Jesus, coins and sheep and fishes and weddings, seeds, a door, a tree, a widow, a conversation, a loaf of bread, a glass of wine, a candle, a presuming guest at a dinner party, a vial of ointment, even his own death; all were more than object, incident, event, experience. All were made into signs and parables and insights so vivid that for two millennia they became the outriders of a kingdom, the symbols enabling us to express the inexpressible, lights that guide us in our fearful voyaging across the terrible crystal seas of mystery that, as John tells us, lie between our earthbound humanity and the throne of God.
“Thus scripture became for me a womb of endless signs, an admonition to seek their meanings for myself. It was above all to me a finger pointing to the ordinary as a place of the divine dwelling, pointing to Bethlehem rather than to Rome or Athens, to a peasant girl rather than to a queen, to a child rather than an emperor. One might add in passing that, for those who perceive, Bethlehem becomes both Rome and Athens, the peasant girl is revealed as queen, and the child becomes king. The insignificant has assumed significance, the mundane become sign.” – A Doorway in Time, Herbert O’Driscoll
In our frantic, scientific age, it is easy to miss the signs that God sets in front of us. It is easy to explain things away on natural or scientific grounds. And we seldom even take time to think about the things around us and how they may be attempts by God to communicate to us some message – whether through something as simple as the barking of a dog or as sublime as the birth of a baby. The simple healing of human illness can be seen as a sign that God longs to heal us in all ways and can be taken as a guarantee of the fact that He is still involved and still cares about individuals as well as nations and galaxies. It was with stories about the simple things of life that Jesus spun his timeless parables and told stories that still captivate the human imagination 2000 years later.
When was the last time you stopped to see beyond the surface to ascertain the deeper truth of God’s existence, His nature and His indwelling? Slow down…take the time…and listen to His Spirit as He reveals truth to your inner person!
PRAYER: Lord, we are prone to seeking signs of Your Presence and Your will. Let us never let the search for signs take the place of the search for Jesus, but see Him and You in the greatness that surrounds us at every moment. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.
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