From HOW eNews Issue 5, Volume 2|
A Wellspring of Truth...
A Wellspring of Truth for the Parched Soul
ÓMarcelo A. Tolopilo
As I wrapped up my first month of study and preaching for 2010, I was reminded of how needy I am for the word of God. I just finished a satisfying plate of ministry and yet I find myself hungry for the scriptures, the God revealed in them, and the changes this revelation produces in me. It seems as though the more I know and grow, the more I realize how little I understand and how much I constantly need the transforming power of the Bible in my life.
And so one month into the New Year I find myself making a New Year’s resolution. Let’s call it a “first quarter of the year resolution,” and it is this: I need to get more of the Bible in my life. Why? Because I desperately need to know God and have his transforming truth saturate my being. If your heart desires to grow in Jesus, then I pray you will you join me in this endeavor. Nothing will bring greater spiritual transformation to your life than the living waters of God’s word.
A wellspring of truth for the parched soul
Recently my studies took me to Psalm 19:7-10. In this short little paragraph, the Holy Spirit - through the words of King David - displays the irresistible beauty and the metamorphic power of the scriptures. God’s Spirit reminds us that in the Bible God provides for us a pure wellspring of truth that supernaturally satisfies our thirsty our souls.
For the sake of brevity, I want to focus on the effect God’s word has on our lives, but by way of introduction allow me to remind you that in this compact yet unsurpassed declaration of the Bible’s sufficiency David first gives us six titles for the word of God.In those six titles - which beautifully display the multiple facets of scripture - we are reminded that God’s truth is comprehensive. In other words, there is no area of life that God’s word does not address. God has spoken to our every need and His word is exhaustive in its wisdom (2 Peter 1:3, 4).
Next, David delineates six attributes regarding the nature of scripture.The “sweet Psalmist of Israel” (2 Samuel 23:1) confesses that the Bible not only speaks to every facet of life, but the Bible is also trustworthy in all that it says! It flows from the heart and mind of God unadulterated by the world around it to satisfy His people.
Life changing truth
Lastly - and this is what we want to focus on with the balance of our article - we are reminded that the word of God is effectual. That is to say, the word of God transforms us! To illustrate this wonderful truth, David outlines six effects scripture works in the believer. How can the Bible make a difference in our lives? Here are six ways the scripture can impact our lives if we simply seek its comprehensive, trustworthy wisdom.
God’s word brings renewal! David declares, “The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul.” Simply stated God’s complete word revives our soul. So often we seek soul satisfaction from the things of this present age. Many of these sources are not illegitimate in and of themselves (friends, family, profession, etc.), but they are limited in their ability to gratify the deepest longings of our heart. David testifies that only the deep well of Revelation can revive, renew and restore our beleaguered souls.
God’s word nurtures wisdom! In verse 7b we read, “The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.” Do you need wisdom for daily living (rhetorical question)? Scripture can take the least discerning among us and make them judicious. The term “simple” in this verse comes from a root word meaning “to be spacious, [or] wide” and describes an individual who is “lacking in good sense” and therefore “easily misled.” David is speaking of someone who’ll believe anything that comes his or her way. This is a person who literally doesn’t know what to keep in or what to keep out of their lives. Yet here’s the point: God’s Spirit tells us that scripture can take a naïve person, such as this term describes, and make him or her wise!
The Bible can render us more discerning than sages and wiser than the wicked who try to deceive us. The Psalmist declares, “Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever mine. I have more insight than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the aged, because I have observed Your precepts” (Psalm 119:98-100).
God’s word brings true joy! I love this sentence! “The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart.” What makes our heart leap with joy? It should be that which is right or pleasing to the Lord! And it is the Bible, my friends, that unveils all that the Lord loves and values (e.g., righteousness, justice, compassion, etc.). These are the very virtues that align themselves with who we have been created to be in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), and they bring true “gladness” and “pleasure” to our inner person. There is no lasting joy in the passing trinkets and sins of this age, but there is great gladness for our hearts in the precepts of the Lord.
God’s word produces insight! Fourthly, David promises understanding in the light of God’s word, “The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.” Scripture by nature is unpolluted by the lies and distortions of this world. It is clear and therefore gives clarity or insight. The word “enlighten” can be used to speak of the light the sun brings with the break of day. What a beautiful picture this conjures up in our minds, and what an apt metaphor it is for the ‘light of understanding’ God’s word brings to our life experiences.
People run frenetically to all manner of convoluted sources attempting to make sense of their world (Oprah, Dr. Phil, etc.). Ultimately, only the unpolluted headspring of the Bible can deliver the insight we need to understand our lives, our world, and how to live sensibly and circumspectly before God and men.
God’s word brings change we can believe in! Consider the following promise. “The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever.” The word of the Lord emanates from who He is; it unveils who He is and reveals an unadulterated understanding of God that will stand for eternity. This is an unchanging word that produces lasting transformation in His people.
The apostle Peter tells us scripture “endures forever” (1 Peter 1:25), it does not pass out of vogue nor morph like the skittish promises of men. The promises of scripture, like the God from whom they come, are sure. They are enduring, and the change God’s word brings is a lasting change (like the enduring transformation of salvation). You can believe God’s promises and rest in the certainty that they will not change, but that they will change you.
God’s word brings about wholesale righteousness! Finally, David declares that God’s stewardship of truth in His Law leads to comprehensive righteousness in His people. “The judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether.” Because God’s words are absolutely true, you and I can take them to the bank! We can follow these truths unequivocally in every area of life and know without question that our lives will reflect the very righteousness of God as a result!
What a marvelous promise! We don’t have to grope in the dark hoping that by some means we can manage to live lives that are somehow pleasing to the Lord. He has entrusted to us His true and clear judgments and by them has laid out a sure path of unmistakable righteous living for us to follow.
So if like me, you need a comprehensive, trustworthy source of truth that offers renewal, wisdom, joy, insight, enduring life-transforming principles, and righteousness then I have good news. We posses the source! I invite you to come along with me and get more of the Bible into your life in 2010. To God be the glory. Amen!
A few suggestion for getting the word into our lives
Ø I encourage you to redeem the time. Listen to a favorite Bible podcast or radio program while working out, or on the commute.
Ø If you are at home, carve out forty-five minutes in your day to sit with your iPod/radio and work through a Bible book study taught by a respected Bible teacher – your own Pastor may be a good first choice.
Ø Read through a section of interest in your Bible (the historical books of the OT, the Psalms/Proverbs, the Gospels/Acts/Romans, etc.), and read it with a good study Bible. My favorite study Bible is the MacArthur Study Bible, which I keep on hand for quick reference.
Ø Go to church with a teachable heart. The night before worship prepare your heart with a moment of prayer and read through the section of scripture you will study. I encourage you to take notes, and discuss the passage at the dinner table with your family one night that week.
Ø Read a short section of great biblical exposition (“The I Wills of the Psalms” or “The I Wills of Christ” by P.B. Power, “The Seven Sayings of the Savior” by A.W. Pink) at a fixed time every day – be it at daybreak, lunch break, etc. Think about incorporating your family in this. For example, read these short exhortations aloud before you all disperse in the morning or at the dinner table, etc.