Riddles puzzle me. I consider myself a relatively intelligent person, but if you give me a riddle, I’ll respond with a frozen stare. Behind those glazed eyes, my mind is racing to know the answer; it’s probably obvious and simple, thus, I’ll feel silly if I don’t figure it out. (Which I rarely do)
The Bible is full of riddles, parables, prophecies, and hidden truths. There probably isn’t a person who has read certain passages in the Bible and had no idea what it meant.
Growing up, my sister loved to say “Guess what?!”… and then she’d wait until I’d guess. I hated it. My husband occasionally does the same thing. Both my sister and husband seem (in my mind) to relish the annoyance it causes me and is obvious in my sighs and rolling of the eyes. My personality is one that prefers people to speak plainly. Don’t waste time, just spit it out!
Riddles, Parables, & The Bible
Interestingly enough, one of my favorite things to do with my time is study scripture. Countless nights I banged my head on the Bible (or fell asleep on it) and declared, “I don’t understand!”, through gritted teeth. I find the prophetic scriptures in the Old Testament particularly challenging. Most of the time, when meditating on scripture, I relish each moment as I pray through verses and when the Holy Spirit does gives me understanding, it’s especially exciting because I know it certainly wasn’t me.
Still, I have those times of frustration and wonder why God doesn’t speak plainly.
Even in the New Testament, Jesus leaves us hanging with endless stories and parables that cause even his disciples to scratch their heads and throw up their hands. Then, He follows up with, “Believe” or “Follow Me” in the midst of their ponderings. How many times have I nodded my head at church or a Bible Study as if I know what the scripture is saying but really don’t? Put up 10 teachers and ask them to teach on the parable of the farmer with the seed and you’ll get 10 totally different interpretations or perspectives of what God is trying to say to us. So who is correct? When I read the Bible and receive a revelation, how do I know if I’m hearing from God? What am I supposed to learn or understand?
But, hey, Nicodemus didn’t understand either, so there’s that.
God Is Not Common
Scripture is multi-layered. Just when you get a revelation from the Holy Spirit about a passage, God reveals there’s more. The gospel is simple, but the understanding of God’s ways, will, His personality, and meaty spiritual truths are beyond us. And then, to top it off, God buries them so we have to dig, read, study, re-read, and read again.
Why? Why all the parables and prophecies and play on words that appear make no sense?
Because God is not common.
I was thinking out loud about this a few months ago (that’s how I pray at times) because there is so much I don’t understand. Inside my spirit rose the thought that God hides who He is and His ways because we’ll search for what we value. Then the words above popped into my head. In other words, REALNESS in knowing God (like a spouse, best friend, brother, sister) only happens with effort. So He plays Hide-and-Seek with us. The more we persist, the more He’ll allow us to discover.
As John 17:3 says, eternal life is KNOWING the Father and Jesus. That’s beyond believing. God has hidden himself like a buried treasure and He wants to be found by us.
It actually makes me smile knowing that God wants to be found and that He will never put himself in the middle of the road where we’ll step on, over, or kick Him around. Human nature rarely values that which is easy. God wants us to hunt for Him like a rare gem and discover who He is. At the same time, the greater revelation came to me that God sought me out first. Yes, He created me, but He allowed me to make my own choices. Even so, breadcrumbs were dropped here and there so I would find them and seek Him out.
God sees me (and you) as His treasure. To think that He transformed, restored, set apart, and adores me is, well…it makes me feel uncommon.
As far as prophecies regarding the future, I don’t know why God puts them in riddles. This is actually quite different than the seeking of who God is. Prophecies from the OT prophets and Revelation feel over my head BUT… I do know that the Father gave us Holy Spirit to teach and guide and I figure that if I ask and seek out a matter, and it’s time for me to know, He’ll reveal it.
No matter what, I do know God loves it when we put forth the effort to search out a matter because we value who He is and fall in love with Him in the process. Plus, it builds our faith and the Bible says that we can not please God without faith.
laura “sometimes puzzled” prather