Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son.Hebrews 1:1-2
This passage from Hebrews is one of the assigned readings for this Sunday, but I am not preaching on it. So, I thought I would share a reflection on it here. It is a wonderful passage that has led to my pondering all of the different ways in which God speaks to us.
In what ways has God spoken to you? Perhaps God has spoken to you through a passage of Scripture, or through a devotional book. Perhaps it was through a significant event in your life, or through a profound coincidence, or through another person. Perhaps the birth of a baby, or a beautiful sunset, or a surprise rainbow in the sky contained a message for you from God. There are many and various ways in which our loving Creator can speak a message to us.
In my family, we have noticed that ladybugs (yes, ladybugs!) are one way that God speaks to us to offer comfort during difficult times. It started after my sister’s death in 2007. Since then, we have noticed that God sends us a ladybug when we need a reminder that God is with us. One personal example of this took place a couple of years ago, when my mother suffered a stroke and was in the hospital. I got in my car to make the 10-hour drive down to see her. I was praying, and quite concerned. But I had to smile and offer a prayer of thanks when, about forty minutes into the drive, I noticed a restaurant that I had never seen before – the Lady Bug Family Restaurant. The restaurant had a sign that, to me, was more than a sign. It was a message that God was with my mother, and with me as I travelled. I pulled over and took this picture, which I sent to my family:
Yes, God really can and does speak to us in many and various ways. I believe that. Just as the Book of Hebrews acknowledges in its opening words: “In many and various ways God spoke to His people of old by the prophets.”
“But now,” this opening passage continues, “in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds.” – Hebrews 1:1-2
God does speak to us in many and various ways; we all can be sure of that. But the author of Hebrews wants us to know that we are in the last days. And in these last days, God has decided to speak a final, complete, perfect Word. And that Word is Jesus. He is God’s perfect Word to us, the message from God that tells us everything we need to know. The perfect revelation of who God is, and of God’s love for us, and of God’s plan for us.
It’s true that God speaks in many and various ways, and always has. But we are in the last days. And in these last days, God has spoken one final time. God has shared with us, and with all the world, the most important message of all. This last message was so important that God’s own Son had to become flesh and live among us – not just to bring us the message, but to be the message. Jesus is the message of God’s undying love for us all.
The truth is that we can’t know everything about God from sunsets alone. Nature is as harsh as it is beautiful. If we only know God from nature, we will never be sure that we have a God who loves us or even cares about us. We can’t rely on ladybugs or other grace-filled signs, either, because they may or may not come when we need them. We can’t even know God solely through other people, because all people are sinners as well as saints.
We can only know God, completely and fully, from his Son. Who “is the reflection of God’s glory”, as the Letter to the Hebrews puts it, “and the exact imprint of God’s very being” (Hebrews 1:3). Jesus alone tells us what we truly need to know about God. “If you know me,” Jesus himself said, “you know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him” (John 14:7). We know God because we know his Son. And because we know his Son, we know everything that we need to know about God.
God can and does speak to us in many and various ways. I have no doubt about that. Keep your eyes open, and your heart open, and you will be blessed to see God doing just that. Ladybugs, rainbows, friends, scripture, songs, and many and various other ways. But in these last days, God has spoken one final, perfect Word. And that Word has a name, a name that is above every name: Jesus. One day, perhaps soon, Jesus will return, and “every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11). Until that glorious day, may we each find strength and encouragement in this perfect Word, this perfect message from God, spoken through his Son, Jesus. Of all the many and various ways that God speaks to us, none is sweeter than Jesus.