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As we begin our word@home campaign and challenge over these next few weeks, what do you think about the Bible?
- Do you believe it is God’s revelation of His redemptive story to mankind?
- Do you believe that every word in it is true and without contradiction?
- Do you believe it is the inspired word of the God who created all things?
- Why do you believe this about the Bible?
- Are you in His word everyday?
- When challenged with a choice or decision, do you turn there first?
- Do you obey His word above popular opinion?
These are a few questions to consider for you and your family as we approach these next few weeks.
J.I. Packer, in his book, God’s Word, says that “Scripture is quite simply God communicating, God talking, God teaching, God preaching, God telling you, yes you, with me and all other Bible readers and Bible hearers everywhere things about Himself that call, here and now, for faith, worship in obedience, prayer, praise and practiced, devoting, denying and disciplining ourselves in order to serve God. In short, our complete conversion and our total commitment.” The purpose of God’s word is to lead us to love and adore the Christ of the Scriptures and amend our lives by their light. From “in the beginning” to “come, Lord Jesus, come,” the word of God is His revelation of Jesus Christ. As we read it, we are drawn into His story by the Spirit of God. We begin to see ourselves for who we are as lost, sinful, and separated from the God who created us. Then we see a way out made possible by the sacrifice of the sinless Jesus, who died that we might be forgiven. When we realize His grace, we begin a lifetime of worship and adoring Him. As we read His word, He leads us to measure ourselves by what Scripture shows us of right and wrong, ways of being a parent, a child, a politician or citizen, a spouse, a single, a homemaker, a manager, a workman or employee, a neighbor, a teacher or student, an invalid or a rich man or whatever. When we weigh ourselves in light of the Scriptures, we find ourselves wanting and then the Spirit leads us to change our ways in accordance with the self-measurement. Then we proof ourselves by the truth of Paul’s statement that “all Scripture being God-breathed is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness. That the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” II Timothy 3:16.
This is the purpose of God’s word; any other purpose is merely educational and academic. The Bible is the window through which we look to see what God is revealing. On special occasions, one of my wife’s favorite things to do is to go to New York City during the Christmas holidays and take the walking window tours of the major department stores like Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, and Saks. For many decades, people have worked all year long to produce scenes in their store front windows. To say the least, they are amazing. My wife becomes giddy, like a little child, as we walk from store to store and see the mystery of their creation revealed. The details are indescribable! The animation is amazing! The stories depicted are incredible! That is how God’s word is to us when we begin to look into it. His revelation to us about who He is and what He is doing is indescribable, amazing and incredible. It is so revealing that it takes our breath away at times and sends us to our knees in complete submission to a holy God. This Bible, this storybook, contains 66 separate books, written originally in 3 languages—Hebrew, Greek and a small amount in Aramaic. The books themselves are a very mixed bag. They are history books, sermon books, letters, a hymnbook and a love song. They include geographical surveys, architectural specifications, travel diaries, population statistics, family trees, inventories and legal documents of all sorts. This amazing book is the written record of the drama of redemption.
Our need for God’s word far exceeds our understanding. As we focus on Psalm 119 over these next few weeks, probably the most important verse in the chapter is verse 105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” Apart from the word and the Lord, I will stumble in darkness all my life. The lost live their lives searching for a little light, but will never find it until they meet and receive the light of the world, Jesus.
Have you ever taken a tour in a cave somewhere? When I was a child, my parents took us to Carlsbad Caverns and I will never forget the experience. We were led by a guide into the cave and after we had walked for many minutes, he stopped us and said, ‘I’m going to turn the lights off so that you can see what complete darkness looks light.” We all got ready and he threw the switch and our eyes adjusted to complete darkness. After a minute, which seemed like an eternity, he flipped the switch back on and asked us what we thought. But what if,when the guide began to turn the switch back on, something failed and the lights didn’t come on? What if all of us in that cave had no light? No flashlight, no flashlight app on our phones, no ability to see where our feet were going or where the path out of the cave was? We would all begin to try to find our way out. Most likely we would be running into each other, stumbling, falling and hurting ourselves. The possibility of taking a wrong turn and going deeper into the cave would be a reality. It is very possible that without the light in that cave, you would not find your way out. A lost person, reading God’s story for the first time, is like a person in the depths of Carlsbad Caverns and stumbling onto a flashlight. The light is like the light of Christ who reveals the way out and into the full sun of His glorious radiance.
So, as we begin this 22-day focus on Psalm 119 and the word of God, would you ask the Lord to give you a genuine desire to read His word and discover, or re-discover, the richness and depth of every word He has given us? Would you also ask Him, as David did, to search your heart and see if there is any offensive way in you so that He might lead you down His everlasting path? I love what David said in Psalm 119:127. He declared that he loved God’s word more than gold or silver. Our prayer is that over these next few weeks, that you would begin to love the word of God like David, more than anything in this world. Let the journey begin.
-Jerome Smith, Devoted Coordinator