Without the Word of God
we only have a holy hunch,
and that simply will not do!
Without the Word of God
we only have a holy hunch,
and that simply will not do!
The Word of God is more sure
we see, hear,
feel, or think.
Samuel 28 relates the story of a successful séance. Are we to
believe that this really happened? Yes, indeed! The greatest reason
for believing this literal event successfully occurred is that it is
affirmed in the Bible. Moreover, there is additional, strong Biblical
support for it. God preserved the incident in His Holy Word, so it is
to be believed regardless of peripheral reasoning. However the
peripheral, biblical support is assuring.
One must consider that this is an Old Testament event. In that time period departed spirits of men all went into Hades, the world of the departed ones. Hades consisted of two compartments: one for the saved, and one for the lost. This is most graphically seen in Luke 16 regarding the rich man and Lazarus. The compartment of Hades for the lost was a place of torment. The compartment of the saved is referenced as Abraham’s Bosom, or Paradise. There was an uncrossable gulf between the two, but communication was apparently possible, via Luke 16. Jesus went into this paradise, and promised one repentant thief on the cross that he, too would be with him there that very day. The apostle Peter tells us that Jesus preached to the spirits in Paradise who were disobedient during the days of Noah. I Peter 3:18-22
However, it is apparent that Satan held some sort of claim over the entire world of the dead until Christ Jesus experientially defeated death on the cross. For this reason, people who had committed themselves to Satan ( possessors of a familiar spirit) had ability to explore to some degree that world. The witch of Endor actually did contact, and request the appearance of Samuel from the world of the dead. Both she and Saul recognized the prophet. Samuel then correctly prophesied the death of Saul and his sons in battle with the Philistines the very next day.
But when Jesus arose, the New Testament is adamant that he possessed the keys of death, hell, and the grave. Eph 4:8-10. Not only did he rise from the world of the dead, he carried Paradise or Abraham’s Bosom into the present heaven where the spirits of saved people in this age are immediately transported. upon death. Matt. 27:53
The difference in resting places for the saved dead then hinge on the completed work of Jesus on the cross. Before His experiential victory, it was the Paradise of Hades; afterward, it is the heaven of the throne of God. Before His experiential victory, Satan held a claim over the world of the dead for their sins although forgiven, had not yet been successfully paid for by the perfect work of Jesus. Afterward, it is the resting place in heaven, and there is no Satanic claim on those in Christ.
And Jesus answered Him saying, it is written, That man shall not live by bread alone; but by every Word of God. – Luke 4:4
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my Words shall not pass away. – Luke 21:33
God has made several statements about His Word. To David, God had made a promise and when Solomon ascended to the throne, He asked God to do something for Him – “1Ki_8:26 And now, O God of Israel, let thy word, I pray thee, be verified, which thou spakest unto thy servant David my father.” God continues to verify His Word to us. Psalm 119:9 says “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word.” If God gave an uncertain word, could a young man be cleansed according to God’s Word. An understanding of the responsibility of parents to teach their children the Word of God. Truly to memorize the Word of God. Also we need to understand the place and position and the responsibility of the scribe. These are not illiterate men.
Let us run back to the garden for a moment. When God created Adam, he did not create a baby or infant. He created a mature man. I believe that Adam had the intelligence that we have today. Adam named every animal that God had created. His vocabulary was great enough to name them all. We struggle to think of the names that have already been given to them. The idea of cavemen is dream that man has advanced from a knuckle dragging, illiterate that attempts to make us a superior specimen.
These scribes have rules that guided them in copying the Word of God that we call the Old Testament. They were required to have the same number of letters in each line as the original they were copying from. They were required to have the same number of words in each line. When they were done copying the page, another person came and checked the word and counted letters and words. If mistakes were made, they had to destroy the page.
Notice the interplay of statements in the following passages. Psalm 119:9 “BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. Psa_119:41 VAU. Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, even thy salvation, according to thy word. Psa_119:58 I intreated thy favour with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word. Psa_119:65 TETH. Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O LORD, according unto thy word. Psa_119:76 Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant. Here is the problem, if it is “according to thy Word, That Word had to be established and unchanging. Can you imagine someone walking up to God and saying I have done all things according to your word, and God responding, “that is not what I said.” God’s Word has to established and never changing. Oh, wait, it is. It is established and never changes. Psa_119:89 LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. If God’s word were not established and never changing, then we would have an uncertain God that would not be trust worthy. We can depend upon the truth of God’s Word. Psa_119:160 Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.
Endureth forever. Not is not the modern day statement. Today the culture dictates that men have to judge which words are God’s and which ones are not God’s. Yet the responsibility does not fall upon scholars to tell us what is God’s Word. The reason is, I will stand before God and give an answer, no scholar will answer for me. I will answer for my self. His Word endureth forever because – Psa_119:140 Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it. Words that are pure and therefore when we find it we should embrace it and hold it close.
Our understanding should come from the Word of God. Psa_119:169 TAU. Let my cry come near before thee, O LORD: give me understanding according to thy word. We are told to study the word and not trust our own understanding. Pro_3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. Have you heard that God has exalted His Word above His Name? Yes that is true. Psa_138:2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. Do you know what that means? We better get it right.
Why I believe the Bible is the Word of God? I have read the Bible since I was six years old. I am now seventy years olds. For the last 30 years, I have given special attention to the lineage of the Bible. I have read promises and prophecies. I have seen where prophecy has been fulfilled. I believe that when God gives a promise or a prophecy, I believe Him. Deuteronomy 12 gives a promise and prophecy that has been fulfilled. It will be completed in thousand year reign. Verse 28 says “… observe and hear all these words…” Deuteronomy 11:18 says ‘therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.” My God says to remember my words to ancient Isreal. he did not say to make a decision upon what words you want to believe. He did not leave Isreal with a group of words that they could choose from. He left them with precise instructions. I believe the very Word of God and not those that without investigation, deride the Word of God and say it was simply written by man. My God keeps His Word.
NEXT TO GODLINESS
William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person
There is an old saying often heard a generation or two ago: “Cleanliness is next to godliness!” If applied to one’s spiritual life, there may be something to it, but most often it was understood to apply to the physical body. Maybe that was due to the weekly bathing most did due to a lack of running water, especially hot water.
As the idea applies to the body, I never did believe the old saying was true. However, there is much to be said of it when one applies it to the spiritual life.
Sin is always represented as vile, filthy, reprehensible, etc. Even the goodness of natural man is that way in God’s sight. Notice His estimation of man’s righteousness in Isaiah 64:6, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
On the other hand, true righteousness is represented as cleanliness. It is here that the old saying finds it true meaning. As the Lord chastened His people through the prophet Isaiah, He admonished: “Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well, seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.” Isa. 1:16-17.
In New Testament times when Jesus was rebuffed because His disciples were eating without washing their hands, He taught quite plainly that it was not what entered the body that defiled a man, but what came out of it. Matt. 15:11, 20.
It should also be noted that the apostle Paul explained to the church at Ephesus that His church was so loved by Jesus that He gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word. Eph. 5:25-26.
The apostle James doubled down on this great truth by stating,”. . . cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” James 4:8. Presented here as the essential action to be close to God, he introduced the idea by saying, “Draw night to God, and He will draw nigh to you. . . “
Obviously, it is essential for every person to repent of sin and trust the Lord Jesus Christ as the only personal Savior, but perhaps the appeal is most often written to God’s own people to enter the strait gate an walk in the narrow way. How that is done is pointedly revealed by the ancient psalmist in Psalm 119:9, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy Word.”
Truly, a clean body smells better than a dirty one, and it is often essential to good health. But the cleanliness that is next to godliness must reference the very heart to be realized as true. How clean is your heart?
April 23 – The Sureness of God’s Word
Isaiah 55:10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
Another incomparable comparison that is made in God’s Word. This comparison is about God’s Word. The hydrological cycle always supplies the earth with water. This is God’s plan for the growth of plants. Notice the reference to seed to the sower. At this present time, many are preparing and planting gardens. Seed is needed to drop in furrows and then the prayer for rain goes up. This rain will cause the seed to bud and grow and produce a harvest because someone has invested in sowing seed.
God gives us many examples in the New Testament of sowing seed. This is our example to sow the seed of the Word. This is a continuous process because the field is always white unto harvest. We must be faithful even when we are discouraged. The emphasis is on God’s Word. It is not our words or our wisdom. God has promised that His Word will not return void. God will take the seed we deposit and send the rain from the Holy Spirit and cause the seed to grow in the heart. God said His Word would not return empty or void. God’s Word will always accomplish the work God intends for it.
He is simply waiting for us to sow the Word to all we meet and then allow Him to work within the hearts where the seed has been sown. Are we sowing the seed?
MARCH 20 – Self Destruction
Pro 13:13 Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.
There is a great value in the Word of God that orders life in a profitable way. There are many today that despise the Word of God. They boldly attack it and try to destroy the Word of God. There are those that are not so bold and simply attack the Word in a subtle way. They attempt to quietly destroy the authority of the Word. Some do that by being correctors to the Word. The way they use to do that is to say, “well this passage really means this.” This implies that the common man cannot understand the Word of God. Others despise the Word by misapplying passages of scripture. Leaving the idea that if you are a true follower, God wants you to be rich. If you are a true follower, you will never be sick.
John 1:1 gives us what the Word is. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. This speaks of Jesus Christ. Now when we despise the Word, we are despising Christ and in essence trying our best to destroy Him. We distort Jesus Christ. We give pictures of Christ that are not true. Notice that those that despise the Word will be destroyed. But those that fear the commandment shall be rewarded.
We should fear God and his call to trust in His Son. We should be obedient to the Word after repentance and believing so that the world will know we do not despise the Word. Those that claim to have been saved and still are living in their sins are despisers of the Word, of Jesus Christ.
May we ever love the Word and love our Savior, Jesus Christ.
MARCH 19 – My Thoughts are not Your Thoughts
Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
There are times when we need to stop and take a look at what we are doing. We need to study and re-consider, are we doing this God’s way. Are we feebly trying to get God to accept something that we are doing? God has made the claim that our ways are not His ways. Our thoughts are not His thoughts.
Notice that God is not happy with the wicked ways of man. He is not happy with man’s unrighteous thoughts. We can scheme and plan all we want and attract a great crowd and it not be accepted by God. Paul had a few things to say about the manner of doing things.
2Timothy 2:4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
5 And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.
God lays out for us in His book how to approach Him in worship and in service. I have heard the statement, “God knows my intent.” I have also heard, “what is important is what is inside not outside.” These are people that are trying to justify themselves before man hoping that what they are engaged in will be accepted by God. If it is of the world or worldly thought, it is unacceptable to God.
Have we entangled ourselves with the methods of the world? Are we truly seeking God’s way?
Just Look – We Won’t Say A Word
I saw a sermon in an ad one day. Over the picture of a new model automobile were these words: “Just look – we won’t say a word!” Thinking of my efforts to get people to believe in God, I was reminded that my only task is to get people to look at Him. Although science proves God on every hand, you nowhere trying to prove God to one who will not look at Him, just as the beauty of a rose is lost to one who has his head to the ground, and as food is of no avail to one who will not eat. My task as a soul-winner is not to argue religion or try to prove God by logic but to introduce the sinner to God. I will let God speak for Himself! Read His Word, His precious promises.
“O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” (Psalm 34:8