[Preface] [Table of Contents] [Lesson 2: What Is God Like?]

Lesson 1

God Has Spoken!


Peace be with you {Arabic greeting}, listening friends. We greet you in the name of God, the Lord of peace, who wants everyone to understand and submit to the way of righteousness that He has established, and have true peace with Him forever. We are very happy that we can present to you your program The Way of Righteousness. We call this radio program The Way of Righteousness because in it we plan to explore the Writings of the Prophets which reveal how unrighteous people can become righteous before God.

Which way are you following--the way of righteousness or the way of unrighteousness? Do you want to know the way of righteousness that comes from God? The Word of God says, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." (Matt. 5:6)

Perhaps there are those who think, "We already know the way of righteousness. We don't need to be concerned with the writings of the first prophets. What we know is good enough for us!" If this is your attitude, listen to what the prophet of God, Solomon, wrote. He said: "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death!" (Prov. 14:12)

In God's Book, in the book called Psalms {Qur'anic name: Zabur}, the prophet David, the father of Solomon, spoke much about our need to know the way of righteousness which God has established. He wrote, "There is no one righteous, not even one; All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one." (Psa. 14:1,3; Rom. 3:10,12) That is why David wrote this prayer in the Psalms, saying, "Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth [and lead me by the hand]!" (Psa. 25:4,5) {Note: words in brackets [ ] reflect the way the verse is translated in Wolof.}

If our Lord God does not guide us in the way of truth, we could never know the way of righteousness. We would be like a child lost in Dakar {Senegal's Capital} or a sheep lost in the desert. But the Word of God tells us that "God does not want anyone to perish…but wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." (2 Pet. 3:9; 1 Tim. 2:4) Friends, nothing is more important than to know for sure that you are in the way of truth that leads to God.

In these Way of Righteousness programs, we will study the Scriptures chronologically. We will follow the stories of God's prophets one by one, from beginning to end. The Word of God has a beginning and an end {Literally in Wolof: a head and a tail}. Therefore we plan to explore the stories found in the Scriptures, beginning where God Himself begins, that is, at the very beginning.

We will learn many important things about God and the prophets. We will see that although many prophets wrote the Holy Scriptures, only one Author inspired the prophets: God. The Scriptures of the Prophets contain many stories, but only one central message: the Good News about how people can be made righteous before God.

Therefore, we ask you to listen attentively and faithfully to the program The Way of Righteousness. Wolof wisdom says: "Slowly, slowly one catches a monkey in the forest" and "A water pail will find the person who waits diligently at the well." Similarly, God tells us in His Word that He "rewards those who earnestly seek him." (Heb. 11:6) To those who truly seek Him, God makes this promise: "If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me!" (Jer. 29:13)

Here on The Way of Righteousness, we will increase our knowledge about God and His Word. Do you know what God is like? Or where Satan came from? Do you know why God created man? Or how sin entered the beautiful world that God made? Have you ever read the amazing story about God's prophet Noah, and the flood? Do you really know what the prophets of God wrote? Do you know why Abraham was called the Friend of God? Can you clearly explain to your friends or your children the message of the prophets?

Thousands of years ago, the prophet Job {Ayyub in Arabic} asked the question, "How can a man be righteous before God?" (Job 9:2) Do you know God's answer to Job's question? Do you know how you can be righteous before God? If you want to know God's response to this question and many others, we invite you to listen to the program The Way of Righteousness. Truly, the Word of God is deep, wonderful, alive and powerful. And something else: the Word of God hides nothing. It shows us what man is really like. Thus the Scriptures say, "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account." (Heb. 4:13)

In the time left today, there is an important truth that we must grasp. It is this: God has spoken! God, the Most High, has spoken! God has spoken to man (mankind) and God wants to speak to you! If you received a letter from a powerful king in a far off land, would you read it? Would you consider what he wrote to you in the letter? Would you pay attention to the words of the king? How much more ought we to pay attention when it is the Most High God who is speaking to us!

How has God spoken to man? The Holy Scriptures tell us, "In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways…" (Heb. 1:1) Yes, one of the main ways God has spoken to man is through the prophets. In the past, God appointed certain men to proclaim His Word and to write it down in books (scrolls). The Word of God says, "You must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit [of God]." (2 Pet. 1:20,21)

God could have written the Scriptures Himself or He could have used His angels to write it. But He did not do this. God chose ordinary men to write it for Him. We call these men prophets. The prophets of God were somewhat like secretaries. God planted in their minds what they were to write, and they wrote it down for God. However, God let each prophet write the Scriptures in his own words. God inspired every word, yet He did not ignore the individual prophet's personality. God's Book not only contains the direct words of God, but also the thoughts and prayers and problems of people like you and me. Through the stories of God's dealings with people, God wants to show us what He is like and how we can draw near to Him.

Why did God inspire the prophets to write the Holy Scriptures? He inspired them so that the people of every generation might know what God wants them to know. God spoke to the prophets because He wants to speak to you and me through what they have written! All that God has said through His prophets is profitable for us who are living today. God expects each of us to know the message of the prophets.

Perhaps some think, "Ha! I don't need to know what the first prophets wrote. Their words are not important to me. Each prophet had his task (mission) to accomplish. A prophet came, performed his task and passed on. Another came, accomplished his task and passed on…and so forth. We who live today don't need to know what the first prophets said!" Are these your thoughts also? God's thoughts do not agree with these thoughts! Listen to what the Lord God says,

"I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the [Holy Scriptures] until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven!" (Matt. 5:18,19) "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness!" (2 Tim. 3:16)

Truly, all that the prophets wrote is of great value, because they wrote it so that people in every age might know the way of salvation that God has established. Do you know what God's prophets have written? God wants us to know His Word, believe it and obey it! The Scripture says: "We have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place!" (2 Pet. 1:19)

Yes, sometimes we hear those who fight against God's Book, saying, "No one can trust it! It is full of errors. It has been changed!" However, the one who fights with the Word of Truth is fighting with God Himself. "An egg should not wrestle with a rock!" {Wolof Proverb}. The Word of God is the Rock, and man is the egg! Man cannot change the true Word of God-but the true Word of God can change man! God is great, and is able to protect His Eternal Word. That is what the Lord Himself said in the book known as the Injil {The Gospel record is called the "Injil" in the Qur'an, Arabic for the Good News or the Gospel.}: "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away!" (Matt. 24:35)

Many people try to fight against the Word of God because it exposes the true condition of their hearts. Listen to what God says about His own Word: "The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." (Heb. 4:12)

Yes, God's Word is living and active; it speaks to the heart. The Holy Scriptures are the oldest collection of writings in the world, yet they are still relevant for every person. Nothing is more important than the Word of God. However, the Word of God is like rice and fish {ceebu jën: Senegal's national dish}. We all agree that rice and fish is delicious to eat and good for the body. But unless I eat it, it is of no benefit to me. I must eat it. In a similar way, I must partake of the Word of God, which nourishes my heart, if I want benefit from it. This is why God says that "man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." (Matt. 4:4) It is only those "who hunger and thirst for righteousness" who will be filled. (Matt. 5:6) Do you hunger for the Word of God? It is food, delicious food. It is not food that nourishes your body, but food that nourishes your heart and soul.

So we say to you who fear God and revere His Word: Make a serious effort to follow regularly the program The Way of Righteousness. In this way you will increase your knowledge of what God has said long ago through His prophets and learn how you can be made righteous before God the Holy One. God has spoken-and God wants to speak to you!

Before we leave you today, we need to clarify one more thing. In our programs we will not rely on anything or anyone except that which is found in the writings of God's prophets. We who prepare these programs know nothing about God's Truth apart from that which God has made known in the Scriptures. That which the prophet John, the son of Zachariah, declared in the Gospel {Injil} is true: "A man can receive only what is given him from heaven." (John 3:27) We dare not rely on our own knowledge. We rely on God's Word alone. Our desire is to make known what God has declared in His Word through His prophets.

Do you know what God has said in the Writings of the Prophets? Are you among those who hunger and thirst for the Word of God and for true righteousness? In His holy Word, God has revealed Himself and His righteous way of salvation. We invite you to explore the Scriptures with us here on The Way of Righteousness so that you might really understand what God has said. The Word of God tells us: "Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." (Rom. 15:4)

May we all be certain of this one thing: God has spoken and He wants everyone to listen and live! Old and young, men and women, rich and poor, God is saying to every one of you: "Listen! Open your ears, and come to me. Listen, and your soul will live!" (Isa. 55:3)

Friends, thank you for listening. In our next program, God willing, we will present our second lesson which is entitled: "What is God like?" If you have any questions about what you have heard today, we invite you to write to The Way of Righteousness, (+ P.O. Box, City, etc.) The Way of Righteousness, (+ P.O. Box, City, etc.) {One possible way of concluding a lesson, see lesson #2 for another example.}

God bless you as you meditate upon this great invitation from God to you:

"Listen! Open your ears, and come to me. Listen, and your soul will live!" (Isa. 55:3)