I know when people think of the teaching ministry of God, they think in terms of Yeshua (Jesus), but I want to start back at the beginning and explore how the very set up of the scriptures teaches us about the character qualities of God as our primary teacher.
If you have never read the Bible cover to cover, I want you to stop reading my blog and start reading God’s blog — the Bible. Nothing that I or anyone else writes about the Bible is of any importance whatsoever in comparison to God’s written words about Himself. I’m not telling you to go learn Hebrew or Greek first, I am telling you to simply go and open it up in Genesis and start reading it in whatever language it is you speak. Because if you haven’t read it, then you haven’t submitted to the greatest teacher you have available — and whatever I write might be interesting, but unverifiable. You can’t afford to trust me or anyone else, you don’t know whether I want to honor God or misrepresent Him for my own purposes. But as you read what He says about Himself, you will learn more about me and the claims I make about His character. I am not bringing new revelation to the table, there is no new revelation — everything is already written and we simply go look for it.
The Bible is set up in a beautiful way. Indeed the very way it is set up tells us how God sees us, and how God sees Himself.
God sees Himself as the Teacher, and the primary way He teaches is through repetition — and blessed be His Name, He never ever gets tired of that repetition. The very first examples of this mode of teaching are found in Genesis 1. Six times this phrase is repeated, “And the evening and the morning were the ____ day.” And within each day was a creative act, a cycle of creativity within a revolution of the earth on it’s axis. There is something, a great many things really, that He desperately wants us to grasp in this repeat of the same exact words. His repetition always underlines a concept that He believes is crucial, throughout scripture, something we cannot afford to miss. That unwillingness to cease the repetition until there is true understanding, His inability to grow bored with it, is the underlying trait of every excellent teacher — patient determination. God is a teacher who sticks with us until we have the understanding we need on the foundational issues. He repeats things over and over again, not because He thinks we are stupid, but because He believes that we are worth teaching.
Whatever concepts He strives to impart to us are as important to Him as we are, because the foundation upon which our lives are built is life to us, and it is His revealed will that He desires for us to have life in abundance. There are teachers out there who hate to teach the basics, who think it isn’t worth their time, but teaching the basics year after year to believer after believer is something God never, ever stops doing. The truth is, that He never stops teaching any of us the basics — because the basics are not really basic, and time and repetition show us their deeper meanings. Everything in the Bible is cyclical, in order that we go through the same things over and over again, so that we will learn, and have understanding, and grow to maturity. While we rush to and fro seeking esoteric knowledge, God is still there calling us to listen to Him so that He can set us on a firm foundation. As He is a patient and diligent teacher, we are called to respond by being patient and diligent students — students of His Word first, and of men second.
How does this relate to our conduct as representatives of His character? Frankly, it means that we must not despise the learner. God willingly teaches the same principles over and over again and so to be like our Master, we must be willing to do the same. Regardless of whether or not we are actual teachers, by divine calling or profession, we are all commanded to teach our own children.
6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
We are commanded to teach the same things over and over and over again, because repetition is the way of the good Teacher, it is the way of a Father with his child. But more than that, repetition is how we were designed to learn. Therefore repetition shouldn’t be considered boring, or insulting, or a waste of time — repetition is compassion, it is a reflection of the character of the God who doesn’t want His people to be in darkness, ignorant, unable to serve and please Him, but to be fitted to good works in His Name. Repetition is the foundational principle of how God instructs us — and so perhaps we ought to learn to sit and listen intently and when those “boring” and “repetitive” parts of the scriptures keep popping up with the same exact wording, or something is said multiple times using slightly different language — because that is supposed to sound like an alarm in our minds. He is repeating it because He is trying to tell us something and He is afraid we will miss it if He doesn’t say it over and over again.
How we respond is everything, and He loves it when we go to Him with our questions first, “Father, what is it You are trying to tell me here?” If we keep seeking His answers, we will find them. Maybe not today, or tomorrow or even next year, but when we are ready, He will make sure that we see what He has been showing us all along.
That is the way of a Father teaching His child. That is the way of the Good Teacher.