By Jerry Price
Retired Pastor, Spring Hill
One of my favorite hobbies is woodworking. I have a few power tools which either came with a printed owner’s manual or one I downloaded from the Internet. Each manual begins with a statement similar to this: “Please read, understand and follow all instructions included in this book.”
Then follows three to five pages of detailed safety instructions that apply to that tool. Without exception, there are some of those instructions which include strong warnings that failure to follow them may lead to serious injury or even death.
Have I read those instructions and warnings? Absolutely! Do I follow them? Almost without exception. I say almost because occasionally I forget something. Fortunately, there have been no serious consequences.
What is the purpose of all those instructions and warnings? To make me unhappy and miserable while using the accompanying tool? No, they are there to keep me safe and to help me enjoy using the tool when it is used properly.
In many ways, that is similar to the Word of God in that it gives us instruction for our life (II Timothy 3:16-17). In Scripture, God has revealed to us His plan and purpose for our lives. It tells us Who God is and what He has done and continues to do. It gives us detailed instruction and guidance regarding our relationship with Him — a relationship that is dependent on obedience. Obedience can only follow when His children understand the boundaries which He has established.
The Old Testament Law was God’s guardian (KJV — schoolmaster) to teach His children how to be obedient to Him (Galatians 3:24-25). His Word is to be our daily guide for all of the things we are involved in and things we encounter as we proceed through the day.
King David certainly understood that. He said that God’s Word is perfect — a word that is translated 44 times as without blemish. For many years, critics have said that there are many errors in Scripture. Yet, many of those apparent errors have been cleared up by further research. God said it is without blemish. I’ll take that any day as opposed to the critics.
David also says it is trustworthy — a word that means believable, steadfast, established. God’s Word does not change just as God does not change. People change. Opinions change. Understandings change. But the Word remains the same forever and ever. Amen!
God’s Word is right — meaning upright or righteous. It is radiant — meaning clean or pure. It is reliable or truth. God’s Word is more precious and desirable than an abundance of pure gold or honey from the honeycomb (Psalm 19:10).
For each attribute of God’s Word, there is a purpose. It renews a person’s life and teaches wisdom to those without understanding (Psalm 19:7). It causes the heart to rejoice and the eyes to light up ( v. 8). God’s Word gives warning to His children and brings reward to those who live by it (v. 11).
God’s Word reveals sin to us, whether unintentional or willful. It is our understanding of Scripture that helps us to recognize what sin is — a breaking of God’s will and rebellion against Him.
It also helps us to see our need of cleansing and the restoration of our fellowship with Him. Our relationship — once established — cannot be broken, but our fellowship certainly can.
Then come words that take me back 68 years to the time I was in the fourth grade. The teacher required us to memorize verse 14 and I have never forgotten it. She would not have gotten away with that in today’s culture. But I am thankful that she could then.