When writers take pen to paper, they mean to convey something. Word choice, tone, pacing and imagery are like the chisel and rasp in the hands of a sculptor—they remove blocky bits and file until points are smooth. If this is true of human writers, how much more of God who breathed life into both humanity (Genesis 2:7) and scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
We know from the anonymous writer of Hebrews that faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).
One way biblical writers convey this sense of reality, is by choosing words and images that make invisible faith into something tangible—something we experience with God-given senses.
Sh’ma Yisra’eil Adonai Eloheinu Adonai echad. Hear, Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One. (Deuteronomy 6:4)
The Shema given to Moses by God, is in the mouth of our Lord also, when asked to define the greatest command. How does obedience begin? By hearing.
“The most important (command),” answered Jesus, “is this, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Mark 12:29-31)
Or in Hebrews 3:15, where believers are commanded to listen with urgency: Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.
Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. (John 12:3)
Inhale the healing scent of spikenard, an amber-colored essential oil found in the hills of India and Nepal. Rare, costly and aromatic it fills not only the nostrils of the guests—or the room--but the whole house. This is Christ’s burial anointing—a prophetic fragrance for humanity.
From signs and dreams conveyed by the prophets of old to the restored sight of many during Christ’s lifetime—seeing rightly, has long been a characteristic of faith. With sight we can sin (Matthew 5:28), confront sin in ourselves and others (Matthew 7:3) and live out new lives of faith (John 20:29).
The Passover’s unleavened bread, Cana’s good wine and the sacrament of communion: whenever you eat and drink, remember me. Faith has texture and flavor. It simultaneously helps us reminisce and anticipate. It satisfies soul hunger. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! (Psalm 34:8).
Read the story of the woman with the issue of blood in Luke 8. Feel her desperation. Isolation. An outcast under Israel’s law, yet with trembling, faith-filled hands, she grasps the Healer’s garment—and experiences immediate restoration.
Use your senses to enjoy God as you experience faith. It's why they exist.
"Lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily entangles and run with endurance the race set before you. "