Divine Speech-Act: Assessing the Human Impracticality

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Divine Speech-Act: Assessing the Human Impracticality

Divine Speech-Act: Assessing the Human Impracticality

Assessment is a psychological ability to analyze conditions and situations. It involves a complex process of deductions and inductions in order to come up with a valid and true conclusion by using the data that were gathered and organized. In the field of crime investigation and behavioral counseling, such a psychological ability is an essential skill to solve criminal and behavioral problems. It is also a fundamental approach in scientific investigation.

However, here’s the problem. When we go to the Bible and observe how God commands His servants in the execution of His will, not only is His approach to the situation unconventional, but it is always humanly impractical. For example, when God commanded Joshua to conquer the stronghold city of Jericho, God did not command Joshua and the military engineers of Israel to prepare siege weapons to blast the city of Jericho. Instead of building hundreds of battering rams and catapults, the Lord commanded Joshua to prepare the Ark of the Covenant. This is God’s command to Joshua,

You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days. Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. And when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people shall go up, everyone straight before him.” (Joshua 6:3-5)

We as readers of this history may just smile and praise God for His mighty work against the pagans of Jericho.

Now, we as readers of this history may just smile and praise God for His mighty work against the pagans of Jericho. However, if you were in the shoes of Joshua and the military officers of Israel, how would you assess the situation that God is commanding you to assess? God’s approach here is indeed unconventional and outwardly silly. It discards the art of military warfare and somehow weakens the soldiers’ morale. However, by close analysis, if you will assess the situation that God wants to happen, you will realize that the approach is reasonable and relevant to the art of war. You see, the major, overarching player in the scenario is God Himself.

The reason why the approach becomes humanly unconventional and impractical is that God applies His supernatural work in the situation. That’s the difference and the key in understanding divine speech-act in human situation. If you bring God’s ways to your level, you will never believe and appreciate His words. That’s why when God said that His thoughts are not your thoughts and His ways are not your ways (Isa. 55:8). He’s saying that His speech-act is not man’s speech- act. You need to approach His speech-act with faith. Faith then is the proper assessment that a man should have whenever and wherever God speaks to him. It is the logic of the heart that believes nothing is impossible with God. When Lazarus, the tender brother of Mary and Martha, died of sickness, Jesus said to Martha that he wanted to go to Lazarus’ tomb in order to wake him up. But Martha, using earthly human assessment, said, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” But Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” (Jn. 11:40).

Would you dare to believe that God can really make a way when there seems to be no way?

Do you see the situation here? From the human and natural perspectives, Lazarus was dead. It is humanly reasonable and intelligent to say, “There’s no way, Lazarus is gone. Worms have already started feasting on his flesh.” But then, when God works in an impossible situation, only faith can understand and see the reasonableness of divine speech-act. That’s the most challenging voice of God in the human heart. Would you dare to believe that God can really make a way when there seems to be no way? It’s hard. But it’s the only way to see and experience divine speech-act.



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