|Volume 21 Number 9 September 2019||
“The Bible does not begin with an argument about the existence of God. It actually begins with an affirmation about God: ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth’” (Genesis 1:1 Into the Abundant Life – Truth for Today World Mission School). Who is God? We must open the Bible; we must read, study and embrace what it says to know who God is. The first verse of the Bible, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” is reiterated by God Himself in Isaiah 48:13. “Indeed My hand has laid the foundation of the earth and My right hand has stretched out the heavens; when I call to them, they stand up together.”
Psalm 19 is an embodiment of Psalm 119 which is a must read. It is the Psalm that reveals the Law of God, His Word in virtually all 176 verses. God’s intelligent, controlling and governing power over His creation including His purpose and design are revealed concisely in Psalm 19. Certain verses have been selected for the purpose of this article; however, all 14 verses are another must read. It is one of the many Scriptures that “recognize the everlasting, all powerful, all wise, ever present, all righteous nature of God” (Know Your Bible by Frank J. Dunn).
Speaking of the heavens, verses 1-4 declare:
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament [expanse of heaven] shows His handiwork [the work of His hands]. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. The line [sound] has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun.
Verses 7-9 address the law of the LORD, His testimony, His statutes, the commandments, the fear of the LORD and His judgments for us—the highest of His creation. Verses 10-11 declare our wise, submissive response to God’s self-revelations. “More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward.”
Who God is was vividly pointed out to the Israelites. Moses had very piercing questions for them after God delivered them from Egyptian bondage. They all seemed to have extremely short memories of the horrors of their captivity! Moses proclaimed in Deuteronomy 4:32-33, “For ask now concerning the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and ask from one end of heaven to the other, whether any great thing like this has happened, or anything like it has been heard. Did any people ever hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard and live?” Moses continued in verse 34, “Or did God ever try to go and take for Himself a nation from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and outstretched arm, and by great calamities, according to all that the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?” Then, Moses declared directly to them who God is in verse 35. “To you it was shown, that you might know that the LORD Himself is God; there is none other besides Him.”
God made this self-declaration in Isaiah 46:8-10. “Remember this, and show yourselves men; recall to mind, O you transgressors. Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.’” God reveals His controlling power and authority in Job 41:11. “Who has first given to Me, that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is Mine.”
We must open the Bible; we must read, study, and embrace what it says about what is happening daily in this world. Romans 15:4 states, “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” The Bible tells us that current events are nothing new. In Ecclesiastes 1:9-10, Solomon said, “That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, ‘See, this is new’? It has already been in ancient times before us.” This eternal, irrevocable truth is further stated in Ecclesiastes 3:15; “That which is has already been; and what is to be has already been; and God requires an account of what is past.”
We must open the Bible; we must read, study, and embrace what it says by accepting divine and known truth. Nothing changed about rejection of truth during the days Jesus was on this earth. He was doubted, scorned, mocked and viciously lied about often. John 9 is the account of the man blind from birth. The Pharisees were in a heated debate with Jesus after He healed this man. They asked him six times in different ways how he received his sight! They could not deny that he could see, and they all knew he had been blind. Yet, they stubbornly refused to admit what they could plainly see. John 9:39-41 states, “And Jesus said, ‘For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.’ Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him ‘Are we blind also?’ Jesus said to them, ‘If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.’”
Jesus was speaking to the 12 who had been with Him from the beginning in John chapters 14-16. Among many things He told them, He let them know that the world would hate them because it hated Him. In John 15:22, Jesus said, “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.” The Bible always calls us out on sin!
The Bible does not tell us all that we want to know, but it does tell us all that we need to know. In 2 Peter 1:2-3, we are told, “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue.” The Word of God is filled with more potential knowledge and understanding of its contents than any person will ever be able to fully absorb in a lifetime. However, what we must know concerning how we got here, why we are here, where we are going—depending on our decisions and choices—God has revealed in His book the Bible. In his book All Christians are Leaders, Charles Hodge, Jr. cites a most noteworthy observation. “The Scriptures are shallow enough for a babe to come and drink without fear of drowning and deep enough for theologians to swim in without ever reaching the bottom.”
The Bible tells us we must quit looking at the lives of other people—making comparisons that mean nothing to God—and look at ourselves. The congregation at Corinth questioned Paul’s apostleship and his authority. His response to that in 2 Corinthians 13:5-7 was, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless indeed you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test” (ESV). Psalm 26:2 states, “Examine me, O LORD, and prove [test] me; try my mind and my heart.”
Allen Webster wrote a tract entitled, Have You Read the Only Book God Ever Wrote? He began by stating, “Most popular authors are prolific. They write and write. Many had several books on the market before they became well known. God didn’t do that. If you go into a Books-A-Million and search a database for ‘books that God wrote,’ you’ll only find one listing.” He made three main points in the tract. (1) The whole Bible is the Holy Spirit’s creation. (2) The Old Testament is God’s autobiography. (3) The New Testament is the autobiography of Jesus. He concluded with, “Whatever progress the human race has made has been due to His [Christ] influence. All history is mystery until it has been understood as ‘His-Story.’ And the Bible is the book that reveals all this to us.”
This is a partial quote from a paper entitled Cramming for Finals that one of the sisters in our ladies’ Bible class gave me over 10 years ago. She did not include the writer of the thoughts expressed, and I never thought to ask. “A 96-year old lady was a faithful attendant at my women’s club Bible studies. She came with her lessons prepared and knew all the answers. One day a tactless member asked her, ‘Why do you work so hard on these lessons when you’re so old and it doesn’t matter?’ Little Bess Elkins looked up and said confidently, ‘I’m cramming for my finals.’ It’s never too late to get ready for our finals. Narrow is the way which leads to life and few there be that find it.”
Can we understand the Bible is an open book test, and we must know the answers? Can we understand to pass or fail that test is firmly up to us? Why? Accountability before God.
Prayer… It’s Special
Jackie Ann Dean
I’ve been praying
Ever since I was little
And I never thought much about it.
I just spouted my words right out there
And I figured I’d done what I needed to do
And everything would be okay.
Well, I must have prayed for the wrong things
Or maybe in the wrong way
Because some things just
Didn’t turn out right.
And then I grew up a little more
And listened to more Bible school lessons
And one day…
The words from one of those lessons
Finally made it to my brain cells,
And prayer has never been the same since.
Let me tell you in my little kid way
The way I see prayer now.
It’s like “Wow”
Do you know who you are talking to
When you bow your head,
Close your eyes
“Dear Father in Heaven”?
Well, let me tell you that
You just opened the communication line.
You’re talking to God!
The one and only Lord God Almighty,
The one and only God.
The God Who made the earth
And everything in it and on it
The Creator Who made you
And everyone else there ever was, is or will be
And He really is now listening
To little ol’ you.
What are you going to say
To this one and only powerful Being?
I look up at night and see the stars.
The One you’re getting ready to talk to…
He made all those stars
And our moon too.
Talk about power!
Wow! He’s got it!
And a new baby,
Wow! He made that baby inside its momma.
You hold a baby and you are holding
Something God just made!
Seems like there ought to be a better word than just
Maybe our knees ought to hit the deck
Every time we say
“Our Father in Heaven”
'Cause we’re talking to God
The one and only God
The one we all will meet some day.
Have you told Him today that you love him?