Last week, we looked at some portions from Psalm 119. In bringing to a close our discussion on the topic ‘The Bible our final Authority,’ I want to take us back to the same Psalm. Interwoven through this magnificent psalm is one theme, “I rely on your word, O God.”
God has established His precepts, and the psalmist again and again declares their reliability. He’s given us a morality to follow. He
helps us with our greed, with ethics, with integrity, with verbal attacks from others, feeling lonely, etc.
We could read right through this psalm, and we would uncover most of life’s major battles. Each time the writer returns to the same throbbing theme and says, “I rely on Your Word… I find Your Word dependable…I realise it has never once failed me.” And it is still true today. Amazing isn’t it?
This ancient, inerrant Book is reliable right up into this twenty-first Century.
In this same psalm we find three wonderful benefits of relying on the Bible. They are recorded in Psalm 119: 98, 99, and 100. What benefits come our way when we rely on this marvellous Book? Verse 98, “Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me.”
The first benefit is stability in the midst of storm. We realise we have not been immune to stormy times in our life. No doubt we bear the marks and the scars, the hurt and the pain in our face. And if we could see me, you’d see them in mine. That’s part of being in the human race. But the wonderful thing about relying on God’s Word is that it gives us stability.
It give us that deep sense of purpose and meaning, even when we get the phone call in the middle of the night, even when your friend or spouse says, “It’s over,” even when, for some unrevealed reason. No other counsel will get No other counsel will get you through in the long haul like the stability that comes from God’s Word.
In verse 99, the psalmist says, “I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes.”
Here is a second benefit, insight. But it doesn’t mean we can pull rank on our teachers, lecturers and professors. It says we will have insight rather than intimidation.
There are few scenes more intimidating than the scholarly world. But the interesting twist to that is people who really know their Bibles aren’t intimidated.
Scholarly arguments designed to paint Scripture in a poor light don’t pin us to the mat. Nor can we be battered in such a way because we realise that what they are saying isn’t really truth, it’s a misused of Scripture.
But I have observed when people really get knowledge of the Scriptures and they begin to rely on that knowledge and see it work in their lives, they are less and less threatened by such attacks.
They can face criticism and important people and strong words and even be outnumbered in an educational scene, but not intimidated, because they have the truth which gives them insight…the ability to see beyond the obvious.
By the way, the Bible will always be under attack in secular institutions of higher education. One scholar explains why. ‘Satan does not waste his ammunition. Today, professors, who are being paid to teach in most universities…. Often take time from their class periods to undermine the Bible and orthodox Christianity.
Why are they not doing the same with the sacred books of other religions? The answer is that Satan, the original liar, is sympathetic with books that lie. His real enemy is directed against the book of truth because it contains the dynamite for his defeat.’
A third benefit is seen in verse 100. The psalmist says, “I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts.” We gain maturity beyond our years by relying on Scripture. I don’t meet too many people who say, “I’m very satisfied with my level of maturity.”
Most people I talked to say, “I would love to grow up. I would love to be stronger in my faith. I would love to learn from the mistakes I have made and not keep making them…I would love to be mature. The hope for such maturity is in God’s Word. We will have
“understanding beyond our years” as we rely on God’s Word.
I wrestle with the basic question: How do I close the discussion on this important topic? Perhaps with this one thought.
It is the simple truth that holds a person together in the most complex situations. Not simplistic, but simple. The profound truth that the Bible gives us is like a warm blanket wrapped around us on a cold night.
Let me conclude with three quick questions. Do you want stability? Would you like insight? Is it your desire to have maturity? Of course! All that and so much more can be found in God’s reliable Word.
Even if you have spent most of your years questioning God’s authority, wondering about God’s Word, question and wonder no longer.
Return to this taproot of truth. Lean on it. Start today. It will hold you up and keep you strong. When it comes to a ‘final authority’ in life, the Bible measures up.
By Rev. Eric D. Maefonea