By John J. Blanchard
December 21, 2002
Today we are going to have an introduction into a series on how God speaks to us. Our first subject that we are going to look at in this series is “Searching the Thoughts of God”.
How do we search the thoughts of God? I want to compare communication from God to the way we have to learn to communicate as human beings. During infancy a baby’s communication is very simple: laughing, crying, cooing, etc. They are different, very simplistic means of communicating, mostly to Mom then eventually to Dad and to the outside world as well.
As the baby grows and matures it learns to communicate more deeply. It learns a vocabulary, and it matures in its methods of trying to bring those words from its vocabulary to others in a form of communication. Those words have to have definitions. They have to have meanings behind them.
As a child grows it learns how to put its thoughts into words. At first, there is simple sentence structure and eventually that leads to more complex sentence structure because the thoughts become more complex. With maturity comes higher order thinking skills. As those higher order thinking skills develop, of course communication must keep pace. The vocabulary must grow. The list of definitions held within one’s mind has to grow. Others, of course, must understand what we are trying to communicate.
All of this process is encouraged and developed by the parents, by education, by the school systems and by society at large. Exercising mental power is what makes our intellect and our mind power grow.
As we exercise physically, our muscles become stronger. When we exercise our mind and our language skills, we become better communicators. Language, indeed, is what makes this possible. Poor language skills equal poor communication skills. We cannot communicate if we do not have good language skills.
Where is all of this leading? We need to understand when we read God’s word what He is getting at. Indeed, in Genesis 1:26-27 we are told that man is created in the image and the likeness of God. Let me read this for you. Genesis chapter 1, starting in verse 26: “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”
We are made in the image and the likeness of God. That means our thinking, reasoning and communication skills are similar to God’s! Our mind power, our intellect, is similar to God! Unlike the animals that roam the earth who can function basically only through instinct, mankind can think about the big questions, the big issues. Mankind can reason and grow in understanding and put forth ideas. These ideas often have tremendous consequences, good or bad. These ideas can lead to making lives better or worse, they can lead to peace or war. All of these deep thoughts we express through language.
Since we are built in the image and likeness of God, God also expresses His thoughts through language. He communicates to us in His language, in His way. We even look like God, according to the scriptures! That is how much we are like Him! If you were to study that subject, which is separate from what we are studying today, you could prove that mankind really does look like God. We are made much like Him. (You may want to read the Bible Study called “Who and What Is God” for further understanding of this subject.)
There is one big difference. We are physical and God is spiritual. Being physical, we have certain limitations that do not hinder God. We are limited by five senses. Through those five senses, all information must enter our brain. It must be processed, used in our minds and our intellects to form the thoughts and ideas that we want to communicate, learn and use for mankind. That is in our mind and limited there by receptive skills or receptive senses of sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. By those five senses we take in all of the information that our mind can process.
We also have, in addition to these tools, three dimensions to measure with and to visualize with: height, width and depth. So with these eight things, five senses and three dimensions, we can reason. We can use our intellect and we can do great things.
God is not limited by those. Of course, His thinking power is far beyond that of man. But since our human reason and intellect is what we are talking about here, by definition we can see that reason is the capacity to think logically. Intellect is the power of the mind to grasp ideas and relations and to exercise this passionate reason and rational judgment. That is what intellect means. Both of these definitions I looked up in Funk and Wagnalls. I am sure you would find it similar in Webster’s Dictionary or any other good dictionary.
These are the powers of our mind that we can use to put together our thoughts and then convey through language to others. Remember we are made in the image and the likeness of God. So God reasons, God has intellect, God understands and is able to grasp consequences. These would be consequences of His ideas and come up with rational judgment. The only difference is since He is spiritual, He can do this on a level and a plane much higher, much more complex, than anything mankind can put together.
What makes mankind different from animals? Why is it that our dogs, cats and fish and other animals cannot reason out complex ideas like we can? They cannot come up with inventions and concepts? They cannot understand things like freedom, honesty, integrity. These are thoughts that mankind can deduce and contemplate and see the benefits of. Animals cannot do this. Beyond their instinct they can reason very little. What makes us different than the animals?
In our mind there is a spirit essence. This is not physical, but it uses our physical tools (those five senses we talked about and the three dimensions). This essence uses those physical tools to come up with ideas and imaginings that mankind can do far and above animals in the same way that God can do it far above human kind. What is this mind essence? It is called the spirit in man.
If you would please, turn to I Corinthians chapter 2. We can see this mentioned. There is a spirit in man that God puts there that gives mankind this reasoning ability. I Corinthians chapter 2, verse 11: “For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?” Let us read that again. “For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?” Knowledge that a man can possess comes through the spirit that God has placed within that person!
That spirit in man allows us higher level thinking skills than the animals. It empowers our mind, our brain, with the capacity to do marvelous things similar to God! Man likes to build and create things, but he must have the material substance to do it with. God can create things out of nothing! His mind power, His capacity to invent and create is far greater than man’s yet we are built by Him (created by Him) with very similar capacities. This is a marvelous thing to understand! We need to realize it is a gift from God.
When we read the scriptures, we want to understand what God’s concepts are. What is it He is trying to say to us? But we were not given this ability, this marvelous gift of the human spirit, to just have to do with whatever we want with no purpose. For then what would the lifespan of man be except useless! It would be useless to learn, to grow, to produce, to invent, to create things if indeed after seventy years (the common life span of man) we were to just die. What if there was no memory of what we did and there is no benefit to what we learned in life. It would be a waste. God does not waste. God wastes nothing.
God is a creative genius who has purposes that go far beyond the limited physical world we live in. He is trying to convey those purposes through His Bible. He is trying to convey them to mankind. He has first given us the human mind power to read His word, but He offers us more help than that so that we can deduce what it is that God is trying to tell us.
God has plans for mankind that are awesome. He has grand purposes for His creation. He wants us to be part of it. He wants to tell us about it. We have to put the work in and the effort to try to let Him do so. That shows Him we are interested. We are interested in learning from Him and growing and becoming something that He can use.
For a glimpse of these purposes I want you to turn to Isaiah chapter 9. Turn, if you would please, in your Bible to Isaiah chapter 9. We will start reading in verse 6. “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And his name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”
God says He has a plan here. He is going to perform it, and He will not fail. That plan involves a Child born of mankind who would eventually have the government upon His shoulder. That government would bring peace to the earth forever! We have a part to play in this!
Every government and every kingdom must have subjects. It must have ruling authorities. It must have an ultimate boss or ruler and that here is Jesus Christ. This is one of the purposes of mankind that God created us to fit into this government. What we learn in life is truly useful. It can be good or it can be bad if we waste our lives. God wants it to be good for every human being who has ever walked the face of this earth.
That gives us just a little glimpse of what God’s plan is. We know and can deduce that God has been working on this plan for a long, long time. We can say with a certainty He has been working on this plan for at least thirteen to fifteen billion years! How do we know that?
Scientists have proven that the earth and our solar system and the universe itself is at least thirteen to fifteen billion years old. God is the Creator of all things so, therefore, God must have been thinking about this before He created it. Therefore, His thoughts about man and His thoughts about creation are at least thirteen to fifteen billion years old!
The word that we have here before us, The Bible, tells us with a certainty that God has been thinking about these things and planning on them since before mankind existed! Let us turn, if you would, to Titus and we will see that written for ourselves. Titus chapter 1, verse 1: “Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began…”
God promised eternal life to mankind before time began. So that promise is at least thirteen to fifteen billion years old! For God to make a promise He must have thought of it, thought of the consequences, and thought of how to perform His will and keep His word far longer than that! So we do not know how long God has been preparing for the kingdom to come, but we know it has been a long, long time. We know that he is a perfectionist and everything will work. All will work to the good. He will not fail.
God’s word, as we saw here in the first verse of Titus 1, is the truth. He would not lie. He cannot lie. The truth is manifested in His word, which is the Bible. Therefore, the Bible does not lie. The Bible is a perfect book!
If you would now, turn to a short discussion of the truth (and God’s word is the truth) by going to John chapter 17. John 17, verse 17: “’Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.’” This is Jesus Christ speaking here. “’As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.’” We are sanctified by the truth, by Jesus Christ, who is the word and the word is truth.
Turn now to John 16, verse 13 just back a page. “’However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears he will speak; and he will tell you things to come.’” Jesus Christ talking about the Holy Spirit which would help our minds understand more of the truth. His word is the truth and He will guide us into the truth.
Turn back to John 8 and verse 31: “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’” His word was the truth and that truth can make us free! Knowledge is power. The truth is power. God wants to give us the power and the knowledge of the truth to understand what purposes He has for mankind and how we can fit into His plan.
Turn now, if you would, to John chapter 1. John 1 clearly says Jesus Christ is the Word. We saw the word is truth. John 1, starting in verse 1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” Jesus Christ is the Word. In the beginning He was with the Father who is also God. Jesus Christ being the Word is the truth. The Bible is His words, His communication to us. It is His language. His thinking and the Father’s thinking are embodied in this Book. He wants to share it with us.
If we obey Him, if we desire to know and we search the scriptures and pray for His help, He will lead us to that truth by the Spirit as we just read. We are going to study how to accomplish that. We will study how to allow Him to move in our minds and to teach us what He has to say in His word. That is what we want to do today. Eventually that is going to lead us through a fairly lengthy series of lessons to define God’s words and understand His language. We will be able to open up the Bible and see what He is talking about. We will comprehend it. We will comprehend the very thoughts of God! It is only possible with His help.
He will help us though because we are trying to please Him. Each and every one of us should get a good version of the Bible, (something accurate such as a King James or a New King James, not a paraphrase) and look up the scriptures. Get out the Book and blow the dust off it and see what God is trying to tell us. If we desire to know and we pray to Him, He will share His thoughts. How beautiful are the thoughts of God.
Turn, if you would, to II Timothy chapter 3. This confirms what I just told you about this Book, the Bible being His thoughts and His words. II Timothy chapter 3, starting in verse 14: “But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures.” Paul is telling Timothy here that you have known the holy scriptures since you were a child. “…which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
We can see that the scriptures are the inspiration of God. In another translation you will find that says “God breathed”. That is what that means! As I am speaking, air comes out of my mouth. I exhale breath. That is how I form words. That is how I use language. That is what God does! By His breath and by His spoken word He inspired men who wrote what He had to say! We hold it in our hands when we hold the Bible!
It is up to us to put in every effort to allow God to teach us from His word. Therefore, the word of God can be considered His communication to us. In its pages are written His thoughts, the product of His reason, the product of His intellect. Our dilemma is that for man those thoughts are so deep, so profound, so unfathomable that we need His help to comprehend them. To comprehend the full richness of His thoughts takes great effort and it takes God’s help.
We can comprehend the Bible on human level just like we could a text book. We do not need God’s help to open the Bible and see good things in there. Everyone can see good things in the Bible. But to understand the full depth of it, we need God’s help. What do I mean?
On the human level I can read the Bible as an historical record with interesting things from the past to learn from and to study. I can look at the Bible as being helpful in human relations. I can read it to learn about ethics and morals, how to be honest, how to work hard, how to take care of my family and how to get along with people. Those are all good things. Those are very good things. But in and of themselves they are not the full depth and the full richness of what God is trying to teach us.
God’s thoughts answer the deepest questions. His thoughts are so profound. He answers in His word questions like why were we born, what is creation here for, why does time exist? Why is there good and evil and what is God’s plan? These and many deep questions are answered in the pages of God’s Bible. That is what we want to understand. That is the part of the Bible that is incomprehensible to the human mind power without God giving it some additional help. His thoughts are just too high in their order of thinking for man. It would be just like if we were to try to talk to a dog, a fish or a bird. For God to talk to us, He is that much higher once again! He needs to give us help. Can we prove this from the Bible? Sure we can!
Turn to Isaiah chapter 55, starting in verse 8: “’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” God’s thoughts are so much higher than ours He says it is like the heavens above the earth. That is the difference between My level of thinking and yours. It is the difference between the way I put My thoughts and My language together and the way you comprehend. With that kind of chasm between His thinking and ours, how do we bridge that gap? With His help. It is with His help that we can do that.
If you were to look up in the Hebrew what God meant here by thoughts, you would find in the Hebrew “thoughts” there means “contrivance, texture and tension, His plan.” It means “to weave and to fabricate.” God’s plan, therefore, is a woven fabric of His thoughts. That woven fabric is so intricate, so detailed. I like to compare it to a blueprint. For much of my life I have been a builder, and I have looked at many blueprints. Blueprints are a way for one man to communicate what he has in mind for a building or a project to the builders of it. How does an architect or an engineer convey what he wants to get built? He does it through blueprints. Those blueprints are often very detailed. The bigger, the more complicated the project, the more details.
I just saw on the news the other day that plans are being developed to build a new World Trade Center. This World Trade Center now they are thinking will be bigger and taller than the last! Can you imagine the blueprints, the foundation prints, the details for the electrical, the plumbing, the heating, the elevator systems, the communication lines, the telephone links, the satellite links? All of those details must be drawn up in a blueprint. Sometimes blueprints can have many thousands of pages, and indeed if they do build another World Trade Center there will be thousands of pages of blueprints. There will be thousands of pages of details.
God’s plan, which has been going on now for billions of years, if it had a measurement such as pages would be trillions and trillions and trillions of pages with every detail perfectly fitting into the overall plan. No mistakes. No poor dimensions. No lines drawn in the wrong place. Everything fitting perfectly together! That is the type of plan God has because that is the kind of mind God has. He has a perfect mind. It is a mind that builds only beautiful things. We are a part of His plan.
God has big plans for human kind. He wants to convey enough through His Bible that we can get a glimpse of it. We can get excited about what He wants to do. We can look forward with great pleasure and joy with what truly will be the ultimate result of that government that we read about in Isaiah chapter 9.
That is the sort of thing we have to try to grasp when we read God’s word. It is a high, high order of thinking. We cannot do it without His help. Today we are going to try to dig a little deeper into God’s thoughts, and we are going to learn how to receive help from Him. From this study, (from this introduction) we are going to launch ourselves into a fascinating study of God’s creation, God’s plan and many of the details that are in that plan that are outlined in God’s word. It is there for us to see. It is there for us to understand. It is there for us to comprehend and to become a part of if we so desire. God holds it open to us. It is awesome. We will study that together. Today we are just learning how to approach God’s thoughts and how to search them. We are going to dig a little deeper and learn how today so that we can use this in the future.
God wants to reveal His thinking to us. He does it through His Bible. We have to use certain principles when we study His word. Number 1: Let the Bible interpret itself. The Bible is not for any private interpretation. These are God’s thoughts we are dealing with here. We are not interested in what we think of the Bible or what someone else thinks about the Bible. We are interested in what God’s thoughts are. Therefore, since His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, we better ask Him in prayer how to discern His thoughts. So always before we enter into these lessons, each person should pray and ask God to open their mind and give them some of that Spirit guidance to show them the truth. Each person should ask that it would lead them and direct them into the truth. No scripture is for private interpretation. The scripture says that.
Turn to II Peter chapter 1 please. God clearly says here that no prophecy and no scripture is of private interpretation. II Peter chapter 1, verse 19: “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place…” Remember Christ is that word that shines in a dark place. We saw that in John 1. “…until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation…” We need God’s interpretation. We need God’s thinking. How do we do this using this book, the Bible? We find out from one place to another how to put a puzzle together.
On each subject we look at, you will see each subject is like a separate little puzzle within a larger puzzle. It is woven and fabricated as a beautiful tapestry. Many years ago I was in Bayonne, France and there they have the famous Bayonne Tapestry. I forget how long it is but it is an incredibly long tapestry depicting a battle that William the Conqueror fought. This battle is depicted in this tapestry by woven fabric that tells a story. The Bible is the woven thoughts of God that tell a story. Some of the story is past already. Some of the story is occurring right now. Some of the story occurs far off into the future. All of these patterns and fabrics and woven fibers must fit together perfectly.
We are talking about more than a three dimensional puzzle here. We are talking of a multi-dimensional puzzle that is written in God’s language, His thoughts. He says I will help you, but I want you to use the Bible to prove it. I want you to be diligent in searching my thoughts. I will assist you. You will take a scripture here and a scripture there that proves one to another and makes sense out of individual little puzzles. You will put this together to make a big puzzle whole and complete. You will get a picture of what I am trying to do with mankind. He tells us that in Isaiah 28.
If you would, please, turn to Isaiah chapter 28. God explains a principle here. I want you to put scripture with scripture, and I want you to look around in your Bible. I want you to put this puzzle together, and I will help you do so.
Isaiah 28, verse 9: “’Whom will He teach knowledge?’” This is God asking His own question: Whom will I teach? “’And whom will He make to understand the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just drawn from the breasts?’” He says, I just cannot teach a babe this. I need people willing to really dig into the scriptures and to learn and allow Me to lead them. I need maturity here. I need people who want to look deeper than just the physical lessons that are in My Bible. He says here is what I want you to do in verse 10.
Verse 10: “’For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.’” We are told that in the scriptures there is some here on a subject and there is some there. There is some in this book and there is some in that book. There is some in this chapter and there is some in that chapter. You have to put it together just so to form a picture. When you do, My plan becomes clear! I am going to help you do this. I have to inspire and lead you to the truth. He says that if you ask Me, I will be glad to help you with that. That is the promise that we read earlier that we would be led into all truth.
Turn if you would now to Acts 17 for an example that we can hold up for ourselves. Acts chapter 17:10 talks to us about a group of people called the Bereans. The Bereans lived in Berea and they were very diligent in their Bible study. God commended them for that. Acts 17, starting in verse 10: “Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men.”
We are being told here that these people learned to believe by checking it out so I tell you the same. We are going to go through the Bible and prove things one piece at a time, one puzzle at a time, one example at a time, one lesson at a time. You need to take your Bible and follow along and prove it. Look those scriptures up and determine for ourselves. Let God speak to you and you will know! You do not have to learn this by any private interpretation of a man. You will have learned it from God’s word. This is a beautiful thing.
God promises His help. Let us go to I Corinthians again. We will read more from there this time. I Corinthians chapter 2, starting in verse 6: “However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’” We cannot even imagine what God has prepared for those of us who love Him. I think most of mankind wants to love God. They just do not know how yet. Maybe through these lessons we can all learn better how to love God and how to know God.
Starting in verse 10 of I Corinthians 2: “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?” We read that earlier. “Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.” The spirit that God gave us as a man (the spirit of man) needs to be put together with some of God’s Holy Spirit and His guidance in order to really comprehend. In this way we can get the full depth and the full richness of the meaning of God’s word.
Continuing in verse 12: “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” How can you compare spiritual things with spiritual things if we can only see physical? How can this be if we only have the five senses? We need God’s help!
Verse 14: “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For ‘who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.”
When we are led and guided by the Holy Spirit, we are led and guided by the mind of God. Therefore, we can understand the thoughts of God. Pray for this mental help from God, this guidance from the Holy Spirit whenever you open the Bible to study and to learn. You are reading God’s thoughts. We want to comprehend what it was He wanted to tell us. Allow Him to help us in that regard.
For the conclusion for today is this: Prepare yourself in this fascinating series. Prepare yourself properly by getting the tools together that you will need to plumb the thoughts of God and look at the full richness and depth of His thinking. First get yourself a decent translation of the Bible. I recommend a King James or a New King James Version. Then it is a good idea, if you can afford one, to pick up a Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance for then we can check even what man wrote about the Hebrew and the Greek by going straight back to the Hebrew and the Greek. We can see for ourselves what was written originally so that we can then properly look at God’s thoughts. Sometimes it helps us get into the deeper meaning to understand what it was God was trying to say.
Mortal men interpreted God’s scriptures in order to come up with the Bible that we have in our hands. The Bible was not written in English. It was written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Therefore the best way to get back to the original meaning and get all the nuances, all the emotion and all the different levels of thinking that God had in His sentence structure in the thoughts He was trying to convey is to go sometimes and look back at what it really did say. The Strong’s will help you do that.
The third thing we mentioned already is to pray to God. Every time you open you Bible pray to God for inspiration, for guidance from the Holy Spirit so that He can help you with your mind essence (your mind power) by adding a little bit of His thoughts. He can add His essence and His spiritual guidance so that you can come to a fully, deeper understanding of what God was trying to convey.
Get those things ready. Purchase a good Bible if you do not have one. Get a Strong’s if you can and pray. Come next time prepared to plumb the thoughts of God in each little fascinating puzzle subject as we put it together to get the big picture.
So until next time friends, when we humbly and respectfully search the thoughts of God, take care of yourselves. We look forward to talking to you again.