June 18th, 2021
Have you ever run across someone that said, “The Bible is not that important to me?” Maybe that person was you at some previous point in your life.
There are many places in the Bible where you can see the importance of His written Word. One verse that is often referred to on this topic is the following:
Psalm 119:105 (KJV) – Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
God’s Word often describes our life here on this earth as a journey. Here the psalmist is saying he has to travel. During this traveling he is often in the dark. He is unable to see the way and could easily get lost and even hurt if he proceeded without some source of light to guide him. He says that fortunately a light has been given to him. With this light he can now pick out the way in front of him, step by step. He can stick to the path even though darkness is surrounding him. There is significance to the term “path” as well. If you only walk a trail infrequently, the path is not as distinct. If you walk the path every day though it eventually beats down all of the weeds and the path is very distinguishable, even by a lamp at night. You can easily see any changes and avoid them.
The Psalmist here is praising God that by His grace, God has given him so precious a gift as His Word. He is thanking God because he knows how much he needs the guidance and how lost he would be without it. The writer is exhorting the usefulness of the Word for himself and any who would look to it. The writer has testimony of its use in the past and that God’s Word has proven over and over its power and true direction.
The writer of this psalm would not have possessed a readily available copy of the printed Word of God. What he did have though was the Word engrained into his mind. Remember that Jewish boys had to memorize the first five books of the Bible by the time they were twelve. Fannie Crosby, the blind hymn writer and poet of the late 19th and early 20th century here in the US, was said to have memorized the entire New Testament and most of the first five books of the Bible by the time she was ten. She wrote more hymns than anyone else in history and was also the first woman to ever speak in the U.S. Senate. She also met regularly with two of our US Presidents, comforting them with poetry and God's Word. Fortunately for us, modern printing presses followed by digital Bible’s on our phones, allow us to easily have God’s Word at our fingertips. The psalmist always had it in his mind as did Fannie Crosby. It was ever present with them. How well do we use the Word today since it may not all be in our head or heart? How well do we turn to the written Word for that guidance? Is it like a lamp to you? Has use of it beaten down a well-trodden path?
The focus verse above comes from Psalm 119. Do you know what common term or focus is in every one of the 176 verses (longest chapter in the Bible)? The common focus in every verse is “the Word” or “the Law” or God’s “commands”. Almost every one of those verses celebrates the ministry of God’s revealed Word in a godly believer’s life as their source of guidance, hope, strength, correction, humility, purity, and joy. The psalmist does the same thing in a much more condensed form in Psalm 19:7-14. Here is that passage from the KJV:
7) The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
8) The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
9) The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
10) More to be desired are they than gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11) Moreover, by them is thy servant warned; and in keeping of them there is great reward.
12) Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults.
13) Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me; then shall I be upright and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.
14) Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.
Paul makes a similar declaration about God’s Word in 2 Timothy 3:15-17 (KJV):
15) And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
17) That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
How much do you look at God’s Word as did the psalmist and Paul that authored these passages? Do you recognize the power of God’s Word to reshape, redirect, and renew your life?
Have you ever wondered why contact with God’s Word transforms some people but yet others do not receive it at all? Some let the written word lead them to the living Word, Jesus Christ, that the scriptures constantly point to. The Word “calls” out to them. These that have been led, called, drawn, come to the Bible hungry and expectant, conscious of an ongoing and frequent need to hear God speak. They are like the psalmist in Psalm 81:10 who proclaimed that God is telling you to, “Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it”. And in Psalm 119:131 the psalmist uses this gesture of an open mouth saying “With open mouth I pant, because I long for thy commandments”. A desire for God, springing from a sense of our need of Him, is a key factor that decides how much or how little impact Scripture will make upon us. Do you have an open mouth to “receive God’s Word?” Are you hungry for it and panting for it?
Some of you have likely discerned in these notes that I like to read things that many of the old preachers said about God. One such preacher said the following about God’s Word and the importance of it in your daily life well over a century ago:
“You live in a world where your soul is in constant danger. Enemies are round you on every side. Your own heart is deceitful. Bad examples are numerous. Satan is always laboring to lead you astray. Above all, false doctrine and false teachers of every kind abound. This is your great danger.
To be safe you must be well armed. You must provide yourself with the weapons which God has given you for your help. You must store your mind with Holy Scripture. This is to be well armed.
Arm yourself with a thorough knowledge of the written word of God. Read your Bible regularly. Become familiar with your Bible…Neglect your Bible and nothing that I know of can prevent you from error if a plausible advocate of false teaching shall happen to meet you. Make it a rule to believe nothing except it can be proved from Scripture. The Bible alone is infallible…Do you really use your Bible as much as you ought?”
Do you think he got his congregations attention?
Remember that someone whose main goal is to destroy you, knows the Scriptures very well. Satan will not hesitate to quote a Scripture and just slightly change it or just slightly nuance the delivery of it in a manner to try and deceive you. He often appeals to your emotions and your own cultural feelings of what is fair or just. Remember that Jesus said, and I paraphrase, “When Satan opens his mouth, he is lying – always – period!”
How steady is the sword (the Word of God) in your hand when facing a trial? Can you hold it tightly for you know what it says and the power that it wields? Or, is your grip rather loose with you ready to throw down your sword and run at the sign of the first challenge or trial?
If you are one that reads their Bible very little, then you are one that is likely to get little help from the Bible in time of need. Trials can be a “sifting experience” as Jesus told Peter. You need a large store from which to draw from during those sifting times. There is an old Gospel song that I like which makes the statement, “Pray on the little days and He will be there on the big days.” The same goes for God’s Word. Read it when all is well and that store of inspiration and truth about your Father and His deep love for you and how nothing can stand against you, will be there on the big days as well.
Pick up that lamp and use it while making a well beaten down path.
Read your Bible – be armed on the little days and the big days!