An Open Book

The dictionary defines this English idiom in two ways:
 
  1. Something that is easy to understand or decipher.
  2. One who acts (or purports to act) honestly, with no secrets.
 
The Hebrew poetry of Proverbs uses a similar expression with a similar meaning. Proverbs 15:11 says, Death and Destruction lie open before the LORD— how much more the hearts of men!
 
Think about that! Two staggering mysteries that puzzle mankind are like open books before God. Even the two Hebrew words used, “Sheol” and “Abaddon” are mysterious. If some teacher claims to have nailed down their meanings, he or she is stretching credulity. But let’s go with the broadest meaning … physical death and ontological destruction are easily understood and decrypted by our God. They are not mysteries to him. Can you imagine the amount of ink humanity has spilled trying to decipher the causes and meaning of physical death? Can you fathom the number of opinions we’ve generated on the existence, continuance and final state of the human soul? These are among the most complex questions with which human philosophy grapples and they are child’s play for God.
 
What does this astounding fact about our Creator teach us? The author of the proverb draws the conclusion, “If God easily understands these two enigmatic areas of existence … He certainly understands the inner-workings of each person.” The human heart; in Hebrew, the sum-total of everything that makes you … you. That part of you lies open before the Lord. This is the repeated testimony of the book of Proverbs and the entire Bible. How do I respond to such truth?
 
First, I respond with humility. God knows things I don’t about the universe; He even knows things I don’t know about myself. People say, “I’m an open book,” but no one really is. I have pages no other human has ever turned … and some pages even I cannot separate. I don’t always understand or rightly read my own motivations, but God does.
 
So, secondly, I respond with honest dependence. Because I am an open book before God, I can be honest before Him with what I know about myself, and I can turn to Him for help when I need to understand myself. Like the Psalmist, I can pray,
 
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23–24