GOD'S AND MAN'S COMMUNICATION PROBLEM
Hebrews 1:1-4; 2::1-8
In the first four verses of Hebrews 1 and the first eight verses of Hebrews 2, we have a Divine account of the communications which God has made with the human race before the time of Christ and after the time of Christ. Before Jesus came, God spoke or communicated with the ancient Hebrews in a variety of ways. He made His will known sometimes by dreams, sometimes by visions, sometimes by symbols; sometimes by Urim and Thummim; sometimes by angels; sometimes by audible voices; and sometimes by prophets. In spite of all these communications, the human race from Adam to Moses and from Moses to Christ did not receive and understand His communications. Either they were misunderstood, changed and corrupted by tradition or outright rejected.
Moreover, we are informed that the Christian Age of the world is called the “last days,” and this means the human race is the last period of human existence. In addition, we are distinctly told that in this last period of time, God speaks or communicates only through His Son, Jesus Christ. All communications from Jehovah emanate now through His Son, and God communicates with mankind in no other way. All communications recorded in the New Testament belong to Christ. Yet, the same thing has happened with this new method of communication as happened to all communications before Christ. God's will for mankind, as expressed by Christ, has been misunderstood, changed, corrupted by tradition and outright rejected. We have a serious communication problem on planet earth. Not only do we have problems receiving God's communications, but there is a failure in communicating with one another. The Israelites and Palestinians are suffering from a lack of communication. The problem is compounded by hundreds of foreign languages, but we have problems clearly communicating with one another when we all speak the same language. Sometimes, it gets so humorous that we just have to laugh at ourselves.
I think it would help us, first of all, in this study to understand that there is a difference between information and communication. The two words “information” and “communication” are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is “giving out;” communication is “getting through.” It is the difference between hearing and understanding. Jesus said, “Take heed how you hear.” He also said to those who heard Him teach, “Hear and understand.” Maybe that is the problem in our society today. We live in the information age, but not the communication age. There is a lot of “giving out,” but very little “getting through.” This is specially true when religion and the Bible 2 .
are being discussed. How many times have you heard the expression, “What we have here is a failure to communicate.” Here are a few examples. The following notice appeared sometime back in a newspaper in the northeastern part of the U.S, “To those of you who bought our book, Skydiving Made Easy, please enter the following correction on page 12, paragraph 3, line 2: The words, “state zip code” should say, “`pull rip cord.” We regret any inconvenience this mistake may have caused you.” I suspect it might have caused some inconvenience, if someone jumped from a plane and just stated his zip code instead of pulling the rip cord. A failure of communication!.
A husband who was not use to doing housework decided to wash his dirty sweatshirt. After stepping into the laundry room, he shouted to his wife for help, “What setting do I use on the washing machine?” She said, “It depends. What does it say on your shirt?” He yelled back, “University of Michigan.” A slight failure of communication here.
Marriage experts tell us that one of the causes of marital disagree- ment is a failure to communicate. Husbands and wives have trouble communicating their true thoughts to one another. I read about a preacher who had a communication failure with a person he was counseling. A lady came to his office one day and said, “Preacher, I really need to talk with you.” He said, “I'll be glad to talk to you. What do you want to talk about?” “I need to talk to you about getting a divorce.“ He said, “Lady, that is extremely serous business. Do you have any grounds?” She said, “Yes sir we've have about an acre or acre and half out there.” He said, “I don't mean how much land you own. I mean do you have like a grudge?” She said, “No sir, but we've got one of the prettiest little carports you ever saw.” He said, “Lady, does the man beat you up?” She said, “Oh no, I am up nearly every morning an hour or an hour and a half before he is.” Finally, he said, “I don't understand why you need a divorce.” She said, “Because there is no way that you can have an intelligent conversation with the man.” I can't vouch for the trustworthiness of that story, but it does illustrate how easy it for us to misunderstand each other.
That's enough about the problems we have communicating with one another. Let's turn now to the more serious problem that God has in communicating with mankind. I select as the text around which we shall gather all our thoughts, the statement the writer of the Hebrew letter made in Hebrews 1:1,2: “God who at various times and various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed Heir of all things, through whom also
He made the worlds.” The English word God, mentioned in the very first verse in the Bible, is a translation of the Hebrew word Eloheem which is a plural noun and means powerful ones, persons of great authority and influence. This plural name is fitting because in the beginning, the power of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit was most eminently displayed in creating the heavens and the earth and all things therein. This is therefore the only name by which the Deity is made known to us in the first chapter of Genesis. But in the second and following chapters, He is called also Jehovah which means, “ the existing One;” the Being absolute because He alone has life and immortality in Himself. All other being is derived from Him and depends on Him. But in the New Testament the Creator is called, “Theos,” the name for Deity given by the Greeks. It is translated into English by the word God.. Thus our text tells us that Eloheem, Jehovah, Theos, and God has spoken to mankind in time past at various times and in various ways. But since the beginning of the Christian religion this same God speaks to ankind only through His Son Jesus Christ and that by the words in the New Testament and by no other way. The one true God has not left the human race in darkness and ignorance, but has made an abundance of communications with us. He has told us who He is, who we are, and He has told us many other things.
As we survey all the communications of Jehovah that have come down to us in the Bible, I would like to make the suggestion there is one communication that is greater than all others. In fact, if it were not for this one supreme communication, all others would have no meaning. This one communication forms the basis of all other communications. Do you know anything which God has said that is more important than anything else He ever said? It is my judgment that the greatest communication that we have received from God is that He loves the human race. It is the affirmation that He loves us. The greatest fact that God has ever transmitted to planet earth is that He cares for the human race, and if that be true what else matters? If God be for us who can be against us?
Just recently, we heard on the news media that an eleven year old girl committed suicide. I don't know what her problem was, but usually when children this young commit suicide they feel all alone and that no one loves them. Apparently, she did not know of the love that God had for her. Here is what gives our lives value–God cares for us. If nobody else loves us, God does. This is what God wants to get through to the human race. Our lives matter to Him. It may be true that we are but one of billions of people on earth, but each person is precious in His sight.
Here is the ultimate answer to all human dilemmas and sorrows. We are loved. When we are feeling down, we might say to ourselves, “It doesn't matter what I do with my life. I'm nobody. Who cares whether I destroy myself or not? Who cares whether I am responsible or not? Who cares whether I live or die? I wonder if that eleven year old girl was not thinking these very thoughts when she took her life. And there is a voice that has come from the heart of the universe, “I care.” There is no reason for anyone to commit suicide when there is a Creator God who says, “I love you; you are important to Me.” No greater message has ever come from God. Someone might say, “Did not God say that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life?” That is also a great message, but had it not been for God's love for us, Jesus Christ would never have been sent by Him. It was God's love for us that caused Him to give us His only begotten Son. To His Old Testament people of Israel God said, “The Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them” (Deuteronomy 4:31). To Christians this message comes from God, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5,6). But it might be said, “Both those passages speak only of His covenant people. What about the rest of the world who do not recognize His love and authority? He loves them too. When Paul preached the gospel in Asia Minor, he said to those Gentile people, “In bygone generations God allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless, He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with good and gladness”(Acts 14:16,17}. God extends His love to all people, good and bad, believers and unbelievers.
In I John 4 the apostle said several things about the nature of God. Among other things he said, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” He means here that love is the greatest of all of God's attributes. It is the greatest and the most excellent characteristic of God. He goes on to say, “We love Him because He first loved us. If someone says, I love God and hates his brother, he is a liar, for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen.” We learn here that God loves the human race, and He demands that we also love the human race, especially Christians. If we do not love the human race, we are not
like Him. It may be we humans don't know our own value, how much we
are worth. I return to our text one more time, “God who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son..” In other words, says Paul in this passage, God has been seeking to communicate with humankind since the earliest days of our sojourn on earth. God has been giving out information about Himself, but somehow it is not getting through to us. We are not receiving. Hearing, we do not hear. There is a failure in communication. It is not God's fault that He is not getting through to us. We just don't seem able to get it right. The human race keeps hating people they should be loving and killing people we should have introduced to God. We have majored in hate and minored in love. We keep making the same mistakes time and time again. Isn't it strange that in spite of all that God has said about His love and care for mankind that the greater part of mankind has not accepted this message. They just don't believe it. Nevertheless, we have learned a wonderful truth in this study. The greatest of all truths that have come down from heaven, the greatest of all communications from the mouth of God is that the God who made us cares for the human race.” Take that home with you and tell it to others when the opportunity presents itself. God's latest message to you is given to you in these words of Jesus, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is immersed shall be saved. He who does not believe shall be condemned.” It is my hope that you will receive this communication, if you have not already done so.