“Your Word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens” (Psalm 119: 89 NIV).
As we read the Word of God, let us hope that we do more than read and even simply memorize what it says. Unless we begin to perceive the Author Who penned the Word of God through the living quills that its human writers were, we have seriously missed the point of the Bible. As we seek to navigate through life with not only mere survivors’ mentalities, but that of victors whose lives have significance and purpose, we must begin to perceive that the Bible is not simply a list of “thou shalts” and “thou shalt nots”. Neither is it merely a historical document or compilation of masterful literary works.
Oh, no. The Bible is quite actually the written record of the Living Word of God Himself. In its beginning, it points to the Living Word, Jesus; throughout its account of our world in its youth, it is Jesus to Whom it directs us. Even as that written Word draws to its grand conclusion, spelling out for us those things which have not yet all come to pass, its Subject, as well as its Author, is Jesus Christ.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.... The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, Who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1-3 NIV).
Oh, the tragedy of having read the Bible and not really seen the One Who stands behind it... the One Who stands full of grace and truth. In the days of Jesus’ earthly ministry before His crucifixion, He labored and sought to bring illumination to the gloomy condition of all of humanity... but for so many, their eyes were darkened. Indeed, those who professed to know the Scriptures simply refused to recognize its Author, though they were staring Him in the face. Nor could their ears discern the sweet melody of God the Father speaking to them through the Person of God the Son, Jesus. It did not matter that all that He said and all that He did was in fulfillment of the very Words they believed that they upheld. Though the Living Truth spoke the truth to them, they would not acknowledge the legitimacy of His testimony.
Jesus said, “...the very work that the Father has given Me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent Me. And the Father Who sent Me has Himself testified concerning Me. You have never heard His voice nor seen His form, nor does His Word dwell in you, for you do not believe the One He sent. You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about Me, yet you refuse to come to Me to have life” (John 5:36b-40 NIV).
How tragic! How ironic! Those who had spent their entire lives searching the written revelations of God had reduced it to rules and regulations, forgetting in the process that the point of the Law of God was to bring us close to Him.
David, who penned tremendous portions of the Old Testament, passionately pursued his relationship with His Creator, recognizing the inestimable worth of the Word that God had given the world. For him, the Word of God was a means by which we can come to know the Lord, and has been entrusted to us for showing us His ways, His purposes, and His presence.
And so David could write, “The earth is filled with Your love, O LORD; teach me Your decrees... Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors” (Psalm 119:64, 24 NIV).
Even as God Almighty imparted His Words of life to His people in ancient times, those words were not given to place burdens upon His people, replacing the slavery of Egypt with an entirely new kind of slavery. His Words were given that they might become truly free – free to be what they had been created to be; free to pursue a divinely appointed destiny; free to truly become alive, with the distractions and undue bonds of selfishness amputated from their existence. Truly, the Words of God were “not just idle words for them, they were their life” (from Deuteronomy 32:47).
So what is the relevance of the Word of God for our daily living? And what does the Word of God counsel us to do? Is the pursuit of righteousness and a genuine life of faith realistic… especially when all the world seems to be out of control and all morality a thing of some forgotten age of long ago?
In Deuteronomy 30 we learn that “What (God is) commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, ‘Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?’ No, the Word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. See (God sets) before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For (God commands) you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land…. This day (God) calls heaven and earth as witnesses against you that (He has) set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him. For the LORD is your life…” (verses 11-16 and 19-20a NIV).
Whatever ideas one may have about the Word of God, it must be understood that the Word has been given to us so that we may embrace Him… for He Himself is our life. Without His Word, we cannot come to know Him. And without Him, we are dead things though our bodies breathe and move and go about their daily business.
So… invited as we are to seek His face, to meet Him in the written revelation of Himself that we call the “Bible”, and to partake of life as we come to know Him and learn to trust Him, what will we choose today? Life…or death? Blessings… or curses? May we each choose today to pursue His offer of life.
“I call with all my heart; answer me, O LORD, and I will obey Your decrees. I call out to You; save me and I will keep Your statutes. I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in Your Word. My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on Your promises. Hear my voice in accordance with Your love; preserve my life, O LORD, according to Your laws” (Psalm 119:145-149 NIV).