When God Speaks in Riddles

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“Then he added, ‘Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given—and you will receive even more’” (Mark 4:24, NLT).

Are you expectant for what God would speak to you today? If so, get ready! It may be the case that He wants to communicate with you through unconventional means. It may even end up feeling like He’s given you a riddle, or a puzzle to solve. Sometimes His messages seem perplexing or mysterious to us. When we find this to be the case, how He relishes it when we purposefully, attentively search out His meaning!

Holy Spirit often intentionally uses veiled language in sharing His heart with us. Now why would He choose to talk to us this way? Digging into our verse for today, we find Jesus’ explanation for this habit of His. As His disciples exclaimed, He often utilized “obscure figures of speech” as He addressed people (John 16:29, NET). In other words, parables. He wove this kind of coded communication richly and relentlessly into His teaching style. This was His favorite way to impart wisdom to the multitudes that followed Him.

Jesus understood how effective this tool was. For this reason, He implemented it regularly. We are not talking about an occasional parable thrown in at just the right place for effect. Instead, Mark shares with us that He used nothing but parables (Mark 4:34). Frequently, the significance of His metaphors was partially or completely hidden from His listeners. I bet you can imagine them staring blankly at Him, scratching their heads, wondering, What is the Teacher talking about?

Why didn’t He just speak plainly to them?

When His disciples asked Him this question, He had an answer ready for them. Read Mark 4:24 again: “‘Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given—and you will receive even more.’” Jesus’ goal was to provoke His listeners’ spiritual appetites. He loved to create enticing opportunities for those who were truly spiritually hungry to receive more of God. He purposefully spoke in enigmas, to incite those ravenous ones to carefully unwrap His meaning.

This was entirely more effective than if He were to toss His precious pearls to the masses for free. If spiritual seekers really wanted the pearls, they were going to need to break out their scuba equipment. They were going to have to dedicate the necessary time and energy to dive deep for His treasures.

Jesus knew ahead of time that there would be two kinds of people present in every massive gathering — those who genuinely yearned for His pearls, and those who didn’t. The former were hanging on His every word. The latter were just mingling with the crowd, curious about all the excitement, and hoping for a free lunch.

Jesus called out the distinction between these different sets of individuals. He grouped them into two categories: “Whoever Has,” and “Whoever Does Not Have.” In other words, “Those Who Have an Insatiable Appetite for Truth,” and “Those Who Don’t.” Pointing out the stark contrast between them, He asserted, “For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him” (Mark 4:25, NKJV, emphasis mine).

What a marvelous promise, for those of us thirsty for more of Jesus! When we draw as close as we possibly can to Him, we will be rewarded. When we eagerly inquire of His heart, we will be given more, and more, and more.

Let us, then, be found in the category of the ravenous! Let us dive deep into the waters of the Spirit! Let the voracious cry of our spirits be, Oh Lord Jesus, share Your exquisite pearls with me!

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Has God spoken to you in a perplexing way recently?

24 thoughts on “When God Speaks in Riddles

  1. Those who seek him, find him. It’s why we can’t hold someone’s hand their whole live and baby step them through their faith… at one point, they have to want Him for themselves and take that step. Another great post!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Wow Jennifer, i had a great encouryer with some sister and prayed together. God gave me a word that i have been pondering on and asking God how can i do that? Very encouraging to read this devotion today. I think it means i just have to keep seeking more and making more time for hime to draw even closer to do what He’s asking me to do in my situation. Please pray that i will keep stay and continue to earnestly seek Him for our blessings!

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  3. I really like this! I have always loved the parables Jesus spoke. Such imagery for my mind to grab hold of, for the treasures like you said, to grasp. 🙂 I am often humbled by how God speaks to me in dreams! Sometimes I am scratching my head, but then he reveals it as I search and it leaves me in awe.
    Blessings to you today!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh I’m so glad you do! I do the same, and I wholeheartedly agree! A couple years ago, He told me to start writing them in a separate journal from my regular prayer journal, and when I obeyed, He’s been giving me even more dreams. Such treasures from Heaven!

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  4. Hunger, both physical and spiritual, will drive a person to great lengths to find food. Having experienced both, to a great degree, we confirm the truthfulness of this post. Until the drought of hearing God’s word comes to pass I doubt many will doggedly pursue Jesus for His life-giving words. For those that have we have received our reward in Him!

    Blessings,
    Homer Les
    Uncompromising Faith

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Amen, Homer. What a precious reward He is. He has been speaking the phrase to me a lot lately, about people who receive earthly comforts and acclaim, “They have received their reward already,” with the implication that He has so much more reward for those of us who make Him our greatest treasure!

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  5. Dearest Jennifer! Thank you for your great posts! I loved you from the first time I read your blog for the way you write, your true faith and the revelations God is giving you! Just this afternoon I was explaining to my Husband the aim of the parables. Jesus sits on ths boat and tells the people a parable. His disciples are sitting next to him, the others on the shore. The disciples are hungry for spiritual food, they want to know more and more. They also get the meaning from Him. The others on the shore are staying perplexed and understand nothing. But if anyone would have sprang into the water to get closer, He Would have got also to the Truth and not be sent away. So the closer we stand to Him, the better we know Him and His Holy Word. As I was still separated from Him, I didn’t understand what He was talking about, but thanks to His Good Grace I now understand and even more, just as He promissed! Thank You, Jesus, our Promicekeeper!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, my dear sister! Wow, that’s such a great way to explain it, those in the boat with Him, those wanting to be the closest. I so appreciate you sharing that!

      By the way, what name do you like to go by? I always enjoy interacting with people on here by whatever name they prefer 🙂

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      1. Wonderful. Thank you, Ana! My sister’s name is Anna and my daughter’s too, and she often writes it “Ana” since that’s what everyone calls her in Peru where we live. So, definitely a name I am very fond of! 🙂 ❤

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