Have you ever seen the movie, Bruce Almighty? There is a scene where he wants a sign from God and he is calling out, "Just give me a sign!" What makes this scene so funny is that he keeps passing literal signs and refuses to recognize them. The signs give direction; however, he is so intent on needing a sign he cannot see the multiple signs right in front of him. We laugh at the scene, but some of it is because we really do operate in a similar manner, don't we? We decide what sign we want and foolishly miss what God is showing us. I wonder how many things I've missed because I was looking for something specific. Jesus addresses that issue with the Pharisees in Matthew; please read Matthew 12:38-45.
When you read those verses, don't you find it interesting that the religious leaders demanded a miraculous sign to prove His authority? Last week, we read how they were upset with Jesus for healing a man on the Sabbath and they saw Him heal a man from demon possession. Jesus had already done so many miraculous signs throughout Israel, yet they were asking for a sign! Jesus could have easily done something to prove His authority, but instead He told them that they will suffer great judgement for having the Messiah right in their presence and they refuse to believe. He pointed out that the entire evil city of Nineveh repented at Jonah's warnings and that the Queen of Sheba traveled far to hear Solomon's wisdom. But the people of Israel had the Messiah walking among them and they refused to listen. How was it that the people who were not God's chosen people could recognize God's truth and wisdom when His own people couldn't?
Jesus then likened them to a person who had an evil spirit leave them. He said that eventually the evil spirit would come back and see that person's heart unoccupied and would invite more evil spirits to come occupy the person's heart. If you have been following Matthew with me, you may remember the many references made about the Holy Spirit earlier in chapter 12. I will explore this more when I finish chapter 12 in a few days; however, I want to remind you that Jesus had talked so much about the importance of being led by the Holy Spirit. He is coming back around to that idea when He uses this example. The person who had the evil spirit leave him needs to have the Holy Spirit come and live in his heart, otherwise, the evil spirit will come back and he will be in even worse shape. Jesus was pointing out that the generation that He was walking among was in a similar shape because they refused to listen to the Spirit. They didn't need a sign; they needed to listen to the prodding of the Holy Spirit.
We need to remember that as well. We do not read the Bible to build up empty knowledge; we read the Bible to learn how God wants us to live out our lives. We read the Bible so we can be familiar with the Spirit's wisdom so when the Spirit speaks to our hearts, we can recognize His voice. We read the Bible so we can grow in our relationship with God. Let's learn to listen to what the Holy Spirit is speaking to our hearts!
This post is linked with On Your Heart Tuesday and Soli Deo Gloria.