“Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord before Eli. And word from the Lord was rare in those days, visions were infrequent.” – 1 Samuel 3:1 (NASB)
“Where there is no vision (revelation), the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law.” – Proverbs 29:18 (NASB)
In the time recorded in the Old Testament, the people did not yet have God’s complete revelation as we do in our Scriptures, the Bible. God would communicate and reveal himself through prophetic messages and through visions. The visions were God’s revelations mediated through an auditory or visual encounter. The time of the judges was a period of extremely limited prophetic activity. The few visions that God did give were not widely shared or known and observance of the Law of God was a low priority. There are obvious and veiled dangers in the practice of disregarding the teachings we have in God’s Word. No longer delivered in visions or prophetic messages, our Bible provides for us the complete revelation that God intended us to have. Because it is “God breathed” through people who were given the inspired word by the Holy Spirit and wrote it down for us, we trust it fully to be without error in its original writings. From it we learn about God and His expectations, His commandments, and how God wants us to live trusting His Word. Our promise is happiness for those who abide by the revelation we have in our Holy Scripture.
“…but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him:” 1 John 2:5 (ESV)
This season can be distracting, stressful, confusing, and difficult. The message from the world out there does not always give us the truth. The passage we have today is part of a longer sentence in which the Apostle John compared those who claim to know God but fail to keep His commandments and those who manifest God’s love through their obedience. John repeats the words “know … keep” to emphasize that those genuinely born again display the habit of obedience. Obedience results in assurance of salvation. God has revealed Himself to us through His Word, our Bible. All this comes from the Lord because He loves us. When we follow the standards God has shown us in His Word that His love for us is made complete. Let’s be willing to let God’s love work in our hearts and obedience becomes a part of our lives. So when we learn of something in the Bible that God wants us to do or a principle He wants us to follow remember, He wants it because He loves us, not because He is a dictator. His promise to us is to make us complete through our faith in Him.
“Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven. Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations; You established the earth, and it stands.” – Psalm 119:89-90 (NASB)
Following immediately the meditation on yesterday’s promise we are assured in today’s selection that the Word of God has firmly been established. There is no question in heaven about whether His word is worthy of trust. God’s promises, both the negative and the positive will always be fulfilled because it is from the mouth of God. This is important. Some will take issue with God’s word claiming confusion over many conflicting “interpretations.” But those who choose willfully to disregard the truth in God’s word will not be excused from the consequences. The Bible may often be interpreted wrongly and some do proclaim false teaching by corrupting the intended meaning of God’s word, but that does not mean the Bible is every wrong in what it teaches when it’s carefully studied. Wayward Christians and unbelievers (sometimes it’s difficult to understand which is which), will use these excuses to avoid facing the truth about their own actions and attitudes which are contrary to the teaching in God’s word. Gods Word is settled in heaven and God’s faithfulness endures throughout each generation. Things like this and His revealed word are established by God and cannot be shaken.
“When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?” – Psalm 56:3-4 (NASB)
Fear can paralyze us, freeze our feet to the ground and cause us to lose our balance. The psalmist, David composed this song which is labeled as “A Mikhtam.” We do not positively know what this label means. But we do have clues. For one clue, this is a very important and valuable song. It extolls God’s goodness and faithfulness. It sings of why we can put our trust in God especially when we are afraid. It reaffirms for us that human kind and their devices cannot truly hurt the faith believer in God. David pleads and rejoices in the help and deliverance God gives him. The root of the word means to stamp or grave (as in engrave). It leads us to believe that it labels the song as a composition so precious as to be worthy to be engraved on a durable tablet for preservation. Others might render “a psalm precious as stamped gold,” from the word kethem meaning fine or stamped gold. Perhaps like today’s top-selling songs that are “certified gold” could be considered “michtams” of a sort. We don’t know for sure anything except that God’s Word is all more precious than gold.
“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” – 1 John 1:8-10 (NASB)
We do not much care for the parts of the bible that reveal our weaknesses and our sinful nature do we? Yet these truths are there for us to learn the grace and love of God. John wrote this short letter to those who were living under some serious persecution from Rome and the non-believing population. The reminder in these three verses is our promise. We still sin and we cannot claim to be sinless. If we claim to have no sin or have not sinned we deceive ourselves of any truth in us and we make God a liar. In that state we need forgiveness for we can’t claim we hold the Word of God in us. But we can confess our sins each time and our faithful God, who is righteous promises to forgive us our sins. He washes the unrighteousness out of us. Those who suffer difficulty might be tempted to sin in many ways. John writes for us. If we live according to the flesh we will transgress God’s law. But He gives us grace to confess and be forgiven each time. We are restored by His promise to live according the His Spirit.