Friday, November 3, 2017

“Let me cry come before you, O LORD, give me understanding according to your word!  Let my plea come before you; deliver me according to your word.  My lips will pour forth praise, for you teach me your statutes.  My tongue will sing of your word, for all your commandments are right.  Let your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts.  I long for your salvation, O LORD, and your law is my delight, Let my soul live and praise you, and let your rules help me.  I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments.”
(Psalm 119:169-176  ESV)
            These are the closing verses of Psalm 119, the longest psalm in the Bible, and in fact, the longest single chapter in the Bible.  One important aspect of this psalm stands out as we read it, and that is the love for the word/commandments/statutes/rules of the word of God.  The writer doesn’t see these commandments as burdensome, or impossible, but as wise guidance and life giving rules given to us by a wise and loving heavenly Father.  There are verses in this psalm, that he compares the statutes and precepts of the Word of God to fine gold, “The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces, vs. 72) or rich honey,(“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” vs 104).  In still other verses that refer to the enduring, even eternal nature of His law, (“Forever, O LORD, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.” vs 89).
            When we fail to familiarize ourselves with His Word, it’s no wonder that we begin to have a different view of it, even failing to see how it is given to us to help us avoid untold consequences and problems that will arise when we disregard His Word.  If you look to see why Israel was treated so harshly by the Lord during the time of their captivity and exile, you only have to look to see how greatly they disregarded God’s commands and statutes, and began to do the very things He instructed them not to do.  The discipline that He brought their way was designed to draw them back to Himself, and to help them to learn to trust Him once again.
            Dr. Albert Molher referred to research related to this subject in an article written Jan. 20, 2016.   “Researchers George Gallup and Jim Castelli put the problem squarely: “Americans revere the Bible–but, by and large, they don’t read it. And because they don’t read it, they have become a nation of biblical illiterates.” How bad is it? Researchers tell us that it’s worse than most could imagine.
Fewer than half of all adults can name the four gospels. Many Christians cannot identify more than two or three of the disciples. According to data from the Barna Research Group, 60 percent of Americans can’t name even five of the Ten Commandments. “No wonder people break the Ten Commandments all the time. They don’t know what they are,” said George Barna, president of the firm. The bottom line? “Increasingly, America is biblically illiterate.” [see Barna Group’s web site]
            There is no substitute for the regular reading of God’s Word, the Bible.  The axiom for working with computers is, “garbage in-garbage out”, and the same is the case for our minds.  When we fill our minds with worldly thoughts, we should not be surprised when we begin to see our definitions of sin and evil shift to a more worldly viewpoint.  We have to be careful where we decide to go for such critical information.
By His Grace Alone,
Pastor Bruce Jacobsen