Psalm 119:138, 140 The statutes you have laid down are righteous;
they are fully trustworthy.
Your promises have been thoroughly tested,
and your servant loves them.
At this point the Bible has been around for literally thousands of years, whereas this Psalm was written less than a thousand years after Moses started the ball rolling. How much more should we be convinced of what the Psalmist says here! There are prophecies in the Bible that haven’t been fulfilled yet, but so many things were prophesied, and then fulfilled in detail, that we should have the highest level of confidence in the Bible. The thing is, that’s the last thing the devil wants us to have, because it prophesies his defeat and destruction! From a little over a hundred years ago there has been a movement to discredit the Bible on textual grounds, saying that it has numerous copying errors, was greatly edited, and wasn’t written by the people named in it. Most of that should have been laid to rest by the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which include a complete copy of Isaiah that is identical to the various copies we already have, yet it is demonstrably from 2000 years ago. However, the devil doesn’t give up with his lies! Parts of the Bible were clearly edited, and translation is always an issue, but God has been careful to insure that His Word has been transmitted faithfully down through the generations. When we fail to believe that God is big enough, and cares enough, to do that, we make all sorts of excuses for failing to take the Bible at face value and apply it in our own lives. It is precisely because the devil knows the Bible is true that he fights against it so hard! Today in English-speaking countries at least, multiple Bible translations are easily available, and that is a huge blessing. However, it does us no good if we don’t make use of it! Even if we stick with one translation, reading the Bible regularly as the Word of God, with every intention of honoring Him by putting it into practice, will benefit us far more than anything else we can do in this life.
I was enormously blessed to be raised in a family with the highest level of Biblical literacy. My father got his ThM degree in Hebrew, and his PhD in Biblical Greek. My maternal grandfather, a seminary professor, did a translation of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians that has influenced every English translation made since. The Bible was a constant presence in our home, and I am deeply grateful. However, the Lord had to tell me sternly that knowing the facts of the Bible did me no good if I wasn’t committed to putting it into practice. Sometimes I think James wrote verse 1:22 in his letter just for me! As a pastor in Japan, I have the challenge of transmitting love and respect for the Bible to others across a cultural divide that sometimes feels like it puts the Grand Canyon to shame. I am never to give up, but remember that it’s God’s Word and not mine, even though He is so gracious as to allow me to speak it, and His Word never goes out without accomplishing that for which He sends it. (Isaiah 55:11)
Father, thank You for this powerful reminder. Thank You for the message You’ve given me for this morning. It’s very unusual for me, in that it only uses one verse from the Bible, but I have assurance that it’s what You are saying. Help me indeed deliver it in faithfulness and clarity, so that Your Spirit may work it into the hearts and lives of all who hear, for their deliverance and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!