Dealing With Conversations
Setting Up The Nature & Value Of A Biblical Conversation For The Audience
The reason we behave the way we do is because we think the way we do.
Our actions are the result of a thinking process unless we act at “random.” Most of us, and most of the time, we do not act at random. Our actions are motivated by a thinking process.
Even when a person selects a tie, a sweater, a pair of shoes, it is customarily preceded by a thinking process — wore that yesterday / color does-doesn’t match / going to be cold-hot today / comfortable – not comfortable / appropriate-inappropriate, etc.
. . . . into the mind and heart of the listener. As a person makes decisions, as he or she thinks about what to do, that person customarily calls up various truths and/or principles.
i.e., You are cutting a fresh chicken apart or preparing it on a cutting board. As you are just about finished with that chicken, your son or daughter comes over with a head of lettuce and some tomatoes in hand because he or she sees cutting up the lettuce and tomatoes for the salad as the next task at hand.
As your child hands these items to you, you say, “No, I have to wash the cutting board off first. I can’t see them on the board, or we might all get sick.”
Your child looks at you with a puzzled look on his/her face? He/she doesn’t see anything “dangerous” on the cutting board! After you explain to them, after you share with them a basic truth or principle, which he/she does not have in his/her mind, he/she will understand. He/she will see and think differently knowing that truth or principle.
You see the cutting board differently because you have a truth, a concept, or a principle in your mind. You see and think about the cutting board differently than they do because you know that truth and/or principle.
A hundred and fifty years ago, no one understood that truth or principle (salmonella was first discovered approximately 1880). They did not see and think about that potential pathogen, and therefore that truth never affected their decisions or activities.
It is knowing that truth or principle which causes one to see and thinking differently.
Likewise, one of the aims of preaching is establishing truths and principles (the Big Idea) from Scripture, and lodging those truths into the thinking processes, so that when God’s people see and think about this-or-that option, path, choice, decision, road, etc. the truth or principle operates — “by the renewing of your mind.”
Conversations Reveal Thinking
Imagine a group of men standing around at a work site, talking about a particular situation or problem.
Among that group of men, is one individual who is just standing there, listening to all the others, and saying nothing himself.
Finally, the “leader” of the project, looks over at that individual and asks, “What do you THINK about the problem?”
Now, why did that leader have to say, “What do you THINK about it?”
How come the leader did not turn to the other men and ask them the same question?
#1) Because he knew what the other men were thinking because they were talking.
#2) Because this individual was not saying anything, and so he did not know what he was thinking.
We do not know what someone thinks if they do not “communicate” it.
I say communicate it” because there are two ways to communicate — verbal and non-verbal.
Had that quiet individual, while listening to what the various individuals in the group were saying, just walked over and picked up a shovel and began digging, he would have communicated what he was thinking — non-verbally — by his actions. He would have been saying something to the effect . . . .
“While you men keep talking about the problem, I’m ready to do something, and at the end, we just need to put a shovel to this situation and solve it.”
It is a conversation that reveals thinking. Likewise, as the Lord chooses to include conversations in the Scriptures, He is saying . . . .
LISTEN TO THE THINKING!
When you come across a conversation in Scripture, you are dealing with the thinking of that biblical character. That is, the conversation is the most tangible insight into the thinking of that Bible character.
That is a valuable rhetorical construct which should be pointed out to a biblically oriented audience . . . .
“It is as a person speaks that we can discern what they are thinking. The Lord, through the working of the Holy Spirit, has chosen to show us the thinking of this person. It is because of the recorded conversation that we are able to see why he/she is doing what he/she is doing!
Do you think that there was more said than is recorded in the Scriptures? I would imagine in many cases there was, but this part of the conversation was included to give us insight into what was going through the mind of this Bible character.
The Lord is saying, “Look at what he/she said! It is that thinking which caused him/her to do what they did.”
Let Me Illustrate That . . . .
II Kings 7:3ff — The conversation of the four lepers outside the city walls has been included because the Lord is saying, “Listen to their conversation! It is their conversation which reveals the kind of thinking which motivates them to go into the Syrian camp . . . .