Give Me The Bible — Part 1

They almost wiped me from the earth, but I have not forsaken your precepts (Psalm 119:87).

In his longest Psalm, David says to God: “I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.  I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.”  The Psalm, all 176 verses of it, extols the role of the Word of God in our relationship with the Lord.

It’s difficult to explain the power and nature of the Word of God.  Peter said it is living and enduring, powerful enough to grant humans re-birth (1 Peter 1:23-25).  Implanted in our lives, the brother of Jesus said God’s word can save our souls (James 1:21).  It carries with it such intangible qualities as goodness (Hebrews 6:5) and seems to have a mind of its own as it judges the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts (Hebrews 4:12).  It is the power of God, resident in His word that holds the universe together (Hebrews 1:3).  It has the power to make things holy (1 Timothy 4:5), to cleanse us from sin (Ephesians 5:26) and is one of the weapons God provides in our battle against the spiritual forces of evil (Ephesians 6:17). God never undertakes to explain how all this works.  He just assures us that it does.

The word of God never originates with humans, but was written by humans as they were carried along by God Himself (2 Peter 1:21).

David tells us the Word of God should not be neglected, but learned, followed, meditated on, hidden in our hearts, and kept.  When it is, we will be empowered to make good decisions, find direction for our lives, and have hope even when almost “wiped from the earth”.

Monday, June 30. Psalms 117 – 119

Psalm 119 is the longest Psalm in the book, and the longest chapter in the Bible. Even in its structure it is a piece of art. It is divided into twenty-two sections, corresponding to the twenty-two letters in the Hebrew alphabet. That’s what those strange letters and words are in the headings of each section (aleph, beth, gimmel etc.) Each section has eight verses and each verse begins with a word that starts with the letter of that section.

Pretty cool.

The Psalm is devoted to praise for the Word of God, His written word. I know it is written because of the abundance of terms used to describe it – laws, statutes, decrees. It’s those same terms that indicate the importance of the Word: it provides boundaries and direction for our lives.

God’s word is supremely that guide. So much so that when, ages later, Isaiah confronted various and often conflicting views of God and His will, Isaiah replied: “To the law and to the testimony. If they do not agree with me (or you), then my (and your) words have no light of dawn.

The Psalmist will list the blessings that come form God’s word. But why are those blessings so often absent from our lives? Has the word failed?
It is not that the way of the Lord has been tried and found wanting. It is simply the way of God has not been tried. If you doubt that, just think about what a challenge it has been to stick with the daily Bible readings.