Light to Live By

"The unfolding of your words gives light ..." (Psalm 119:130a)

Month: February 2012

The Honor of Holding God’s Word

Do you understand what a privileged it is to hold a copy of God’s Word in our hands? Do we comprehend the inestimable value of reading and studying God’s Word?

By its own testimony this Book is composed of the very out-breathed words of God Himself (2 Tim. 3:16). The Bible is milk for the immature to grow on (1 Pet. 2:2). It is meat for the hungry to grow into maturity on (Heb. 5:14). It is a hammer to shatter the resistance of our self-will (Jer. 23:29b). It is a fire to consume all that is not worthy of our Master (Jer. 23:29a). It is a double-edged sword that lays bear the deepest recesses of our thoughts and motives (Heb. 4:12). It is a lamp to guide our way (Psa. 119:105) and water to quench our thirst along the journey (Eph. 5:26). This book is truth in a world of deception (2 Tim. 2:15). It is life in a world obsessed with death (John 5:24). It is light for a world groping in the darkness (Psa. 119:130). It is a warning to those who will hear (Psa. 19:11).

Many hands have tried to destroy the Bible. Many minds have tried to out-think the God’s Word. Many skeptics have attempted to explain away the Scriptures. Yet the Scripture cannot be broken (John 10:35). It will never pass away (Psa. 19:9). It will stand true and endure long after you and I are gone from this planet (Isa. 40:6-8).

Scripture is the plumb-line of righteousness and truth (Amos 7:7-8). It came from the heart of God (2 Pet. 1:21). It lays bare what cannot be seen in any other way (Heb. 4:13). It shines into parts of our being where nothing else can reach (Heb. 4:12).

The Scripture is perfect, sure, right, pure, clean, and true. It revives the soul, makes wise the simple, rejoices the heart, gives light to the eyes, and endures forever (Psa. 19:7-9). “More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings from the honeycomb” (v.10).

The prophet Amos warned that “days are coming . . . when I will send a famine on the land– not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD” (Amos 8:11). It seems that day has come. But may it never be true in the circle of our fellowship!

May we drink deeply while we can. May we take stock while we have opportunity to see. May we walk in the light while we have the light. May we grow strong while there is yet food for our souls.

 

 

Forgiveness

It is not in human nature to extend forgiveness.

The Hebrew Psalmist, reflecting upon the destruction of Jerusalem, prayed: “Remember, LORD, what the Edomites did on the day Jerusalem fell. ‘Tear it down,’ they cried, ‘tear it down to its foundations!’ Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction, happy is the one who repays you according to what you have done to us. Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.” (Psalm 137:7-9)

William Willimon tells of a rabbi friend who once confided to him that he admired most of what Jesus said and did, but that he found His first words from the cross “most offensive, lamentable, and reprehensible” Why? “We’ve had enough Jews crucified by gentiles. We don’t need any more Jews forgiving gentiles for killing Jews.” (p.11, Thank God It’s Friday)

Elie Wiesel, the renown professor, author, human rights activist, Nobel Laureate, and Holocaust survivor was asked to offer prayer at the official events commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and Birkenau. He prayed, “God of forgiveness, do not forgive those who created this place. God of mercy, have no mercy on those who killed Jewish children here. Do not forgive the murderers or their accomplices whose work was to kill. . . . Remember the nocturnal processions of children, so many children, all so wise, so frightened, so beautiful. . . . God of compassion, have no compassion for those who had none.” (p.194, And the Sea is Never Full)

We can all be thankful that it is in the divine nature to be more gracious.

Hanging on the cross, Jesus Christ prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)

 

The Greatest = Love

“Love never ends … For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor. 13:12-13)

Faith is necessary now because we do not see fully. God, by His grace, opens our eyes and allows us to see truth. But we do not as yet see all truth/reality. So we walk by faith. But one day “our faith shall be sight” (as the hymn puts it). Faith will give way to full and perfected sight.

Hope is necessary now because we do not see fully. God, by His grace, has given us good and sound reason for hope. His promises are true. But they are not yet fully realized. “Hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?” (Rom. 8:24). No, “we hope for what we do not see” (v.25). But one day we shall see fully and our hope will be fully realized. Hope will give way to experiential reality.

Love is necessary now. But love–unlike faith and hope–will never give way to something fuller, bigger, more permanent. We love now because we do not see fully (and thus are not able to make final judgments). We will love then because we will see fully (and understand what we do not as yet comprehend). Thank God, “Love never ends.”

Faith? Wonderful! But temporary.

Hope? Magnificent! But transient.

Love? Yes! Now. Forever. Always.

Amen and Amen — “the greatest of these is love.”

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)

 

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