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The Wonderful Word
When we hold the Bible in our hands we are holding a Book that is distinct from any and every other book the world has ever known.
1. It is distinct from those books because it is a Book written by the finger of God. " All Scripture is given by inspiration of God." "Holy men of God [wrote] as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." The Lord Jesus, in speaking of the Pentateuch, said, "Have ye not read" what God said? He unsheathed the Sword, which is the Word of God, when He met the devil in the wilderness; and, quoting from the words of Moses He thrice said, "It is written."
2. It is distinct because it is the only inerrant Book in the world. God's Word is Truth. It is always Truth. It is only Truth. There is nothing but Truth in the Bible. It is Truth without error. The Bible is not a book of history, and yet every historical statement of the Bible is true. Every time that the spade goes down into the earth, and the archeologist makes a find, he turns up something that verifies the historical truth of the Bible. Every old manuscript which is discovered adds some fresh "Amen" to the Word of God.
The. Bible is not an astronomical book, and yet its astronomy is always true. Every time the telescope is turned toward the heavens it verifies the Word of God.
The Bible is not a scientific book, and yet every scientific statement in the Bible is sure and steadfast. Scientists for awhile may speak contrary to the Word of God, but when science has reached the climax of unerring truth it always agrees with the Bible. Thus it is: wherever you turn in the Word of God you find it is "wonderful," and also an infallible Word.
3. It is distinct because it is the supreme ethical Book. There are some who have thought that they found the vulgar and the unclean in the Word of God. This is simply because the heart of man is "deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked." There are statements in the Bible concerning sin and its heinousness which are most revealing; and yet when these things are read there is nothing in them to feed the mind that is craving for the unclean. "Thy Word is pure." Such is the Holy Bible. Of Jesus Christ it was written, He "did no sin," He "knew no sin." and, in Him there "was no sin." This is true of the Written Word, the same as of the Word that was made flesh.
4. It is distinct in its statements about God. There is no other book in all the world that is unimpeachable in its doctrine, and unchallengeable in its every statement. Our theology may be wrong in many places. We may misunderstand God, and misinterpret Him, but God's Word is always true.
"Thanks for Thy Word of precept and promise,
Lamp to our feet and light to our way,
Points us afar where pleasures immortal
Bloom in Thine own bright realm of day.
Blessed are they who keep its commandments,
They shall abide forever with Thee;
Close by the clear and beautiful river,
Sharing the fruits of life's fair tree."
I. THE WORD IS WONDERFUL BECAUSE IT IS UNCHANGEABLE (Psalms 119:144 ; Psalms 119:160 )
Psalms 119:144 says, "The righteousness of Thy Testimonies is everlasting ." Psalms 119:160 says, "Thy Word is true from the beginning," also "Thy righteous Judgments endureth for ever." In the Epistle of Peter we read, "The Word of the Lord "abideth" and "endureth forever." Modernists have sometime spoken of the Bible as an old Book which needs to be relegated to the scrap pile. They tell us that we need to put our ear down to the earth and catch the pulsing of twentieth century thought. They want a religion which is adapted to the age in which we move. With this we utterly disagree.
The Bible, to us and to all, should ever be a Book that is ever green. Its message is fresh. The glory of man may be as a flower: "for the grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the Word of our God shall stand for ever."
The message of the Bible, no matter from where it is read, has a definite, present-moment application to every heart. It is written for our instruction upon whom the end of the age is come, just as much as it was written for those of other ages. Nothing God said in Genesis has been remodeled in Revelation. Every word that is written is settled forever in Heaven.
In reading the Bible we grant that certain things are said to certain people, at certain times. We are unwilling, however, to grant that the things said in ages past have no bearing on ages present, and ages to come. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." How marvelous it is that changing conditions among men are all met in the unchanging and unchangeable message of the Word of God!
II. THE WORD IS WONDERFUL BECAUSE IT IS INEXHAUSTIBLE (Psalms 119:18 )
The Psalmist is in prayer, and he says, "Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy Law." I lay in your hand a Book that unveils wondrous thing's: mysteries which have never been fathomed, and which never can be fathomed. It was Job who said, "Canst thou by searching find out God?" We will put it this way, "Who by searching can fathom the Bible?" There are things in the Bible which no eye hath ever seen, and no ear hath ever heard.
The Holy Spirit is ever revealing unto us its riches and marvels, and yet there are always depths yet to be expounded. Those passages are still green and unplucked. Its fruit is luscious beyond description; its flowers are fragrant beyond imagination. Multiplied millions have searched the Bible. They have brought out things new and old, but they have never found everything that is in it.
Libraries cannot contain the books which have been written concerning the Word of God. Many such books have come from great minds and hearts, and yet as many new books might be written with ever increasing visions of truth, without impoverishing the Bible. Millions of sermons teeming with wonderful Scriptural Truth have already been preached, and yet all of them together have never depleted the fullness of the message hidden away in the Book of books. It is like the mighty Amazon river it cannot be drained by a tin cup.
Take one verse (John 3:16 ). The verse has never been exhausted. With everything ever written or spoken on that one verse before us; the Spirit could yet give to us, out of its unfathomable richness, blessings never known or seen before.
Every other book has been digested and devoured, but the Book of books stands supreme and inexhaustible forever.
O Word of God incarnate,
O Wisdom from on high,
O Truth unchanged, unchanging,
O Light of our dark sky,
We praise Thee for the radiance
That from the hallowed page,
A lantern to our footsteps,
Shines on from age to age.
III. THE WORD IS WONDERFUL BECAUSE OF ITS ADAPTABILITY (Psalms 119:103 ; Psalms 119:111 ; Psalms 119:131 )
Psalms 119:103 says, "How sweet are Thy Words unto ray taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth." Psalms 119:111 says, "Thy Testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart." Psalms 119:131 says, "I opened my mouth, and panted: for I longed for Thy Commandments."
The Psalmist is expressing, not only his own heart toward the Bible, but the hearts of all saints. His Words are sweet because they meet everything our souls need. They rejoice our hearts because they meet our need. We pant for more of God's Word as pants the hart for the water brook. We long after His precepts as Ruth longed after Naomi. His Word is food to our souls.
There are some people who have imagined that the Bible was written for the clergy, or, as a textbook for theological students. This is far from the truth. The little babe early learns to lisp its precious promises. The youth delights in many of its abundant messages of love. Adults think of the Word, as marrow of their bones; it is a vital part of their very life. The aged find in the Bible a staff upon which they may lean.
Did you ever hear a sermon that seemed just to fit you? Yes. However, did you ever hear a sermon which seemed to fit everyone who heard it? Such a message is the message of the Bible. It was not written for one class, but for every class. Its message is not for one clime, but for all climes. Its call is not to one race, but to all races.
The Bible stretches out its hand to every man, of every race, of every country, and of every age. There is no other book on earth like this Book. It appeals to the rich, and the poor; to the high, and to the lowly; to the philosopher, and to the unlearned; to the cultured, and the uncultured all love to drink of its fountain.
The child, who wants a primer will find it in the Bible. The scholar who wants literature and pure language will find it in the Bible. There is no book that holds the literary value, the rhythm, and the rhetoric which the Bible holds. It is the most adaptable Book in all the world. The poet loves its poems; the wise delight in its wisdom; the seer hallows its visions; the philosopher humbly bows to its truth.
IV. THE WORD IS WONDERFUL BECAUSE IT IS PRACTICAL (Psalms 119:1-11 ; Psalms 119:16 )
Let us observe some of the things which the Bible does. Psalms 119:9 says it will cleanse the way of a young man. Psalms 119:10 says it will keep the heart from wandering from the Lord. Psalms 119:11 says it is the secret of victory over sin.
It is sheer folly to push the Bible aside saying it is ethereal, dreamy and unreal. I bring to you a Book that is most practical from every viewpoint.
If the government wants to know how to run its government, let it study the Bible. Every fundamental law upon which human conduct is based, is set forth in the Word of God. Blackstone compiled his legal conceptions upon the message of the Book of books.
If the moralist wants a perfect conception of morals, and of right living, he will find every issue fully met in the Word of God. The divorce question is settled there. The relationships of husband and wife are there in plain and unmistakable language. Every duty of man toward man is conclusively established in the Word of God. The duties of parents to children, and children to parents are all there. The laws of hygiene, which are most valuable in the realms of health, are written in the Book, God has told us what we should eat and what we should not eat. He has told us the diseases which should be isolated, because of contagion. He has given laws of sanitation that are not surpassed in the twentieth century of progress. Medical science will find inerrant and practical suggestions in the Word of God. Physical laws which govern the material universe, are laid down in the Bible. If the world would live according to the Bible, lives would be prolonged, and happiness enhanced.
V. THE WORD IS WONDERFUL BECAUSE IT IS INDESTRUCTIBLE (Psalms 119:44 )
Our verse says: "So shall I keep Thy Law continually for ever and ever." The Bible cannot be destroyed. Many times men have sought to do away with the Book of books. They hate it because it gives a true picture of the human heart. It portrays sin in plain and positive colors.
It shows that the sinner will be judged, and cast into hell. Men hate it and will seek to destroy it, and to burn it. Men hate it and try to wreck it by ridiculing it; and by denying its inspiration.
We have read that Voltaire said that the Bible would be rejected and forgotten within a century; however, the Bible still lives on. Infidels and atheists have come and gone, but the Book of books goes on forever. The very press that Voltaire used to scatter his negations of the Bible was afterward used to print the Bible.
Tom Paine mocked the Bible, and yet in dying he cried, "Oh, that I never had written The Age of Reason." Huxley's theses on the transmutation of species seemed to some to forebode the annihilation of Genesis; but Huxley is dead and gone, his books are losing their force, and the good old Book of books lives on.
Heaven and earth may pass away, but His Word shall never pass. The modernist who defames the Bible will have to meet the Bible on the other shore. The Word which he now ridicules will be the Word which will judge him in the last day.
"All nature sings Thy boundless love,
In worlds below and worlds above;
But in Thy blessed Word I trace
Diviner wonders of Thy grace.
"Here Jesus bids my sorrows cease,
And gives my laboring conscience peace;
Here lifts my grateful passions high,
And points to mansions in the sky.
"For love like this, oh, let my sang
Through endless years Thy praise prolong!
Let distant climes Thy Name adore,
Till time and nature are no more."
VI. THE WORD IS WONDERFUL BECAUSE IT IS DEPENDABLE (Psalms 119:138 )
"Thy Testimonies that Thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful." The Bible is both dependable, and interdependable. We mean that each part of the Bible is truth, and therefore there are no conflicts within its pages. The Word of God was written by one Holy Spirit, through some forty different men. These men lived and wrote in different ages, in different climes, in different environments. The writings of all forty men are found together under one cover, with one message. Marvel of marvels sixty-six Books, from the pens of forty men are bound into one Book, and yet they present but one message, a message woven and interwoven, linked and interlinked, dependable and interdependable. Thank God, it stands forth as the only Book, the Book of books.
Genesis, written centuries before Revelation, is the Book of beginnings; Revelation is the Book of consummations. Not only that, but everything lying between Genesis and Revelation fills in the wondrous story of God's inerrant Truth. In Genesis sin enters; in Revelation sin passes out. In Genesis man is expelled from the tree of life; in Revelation man enters in, and has a right to the Tree of Life. In Genesis is the creation of the heaven and the earth; in Revelation we read of the new Heaven and the new earth. In Genesis Satan enters, in Revelation Satan passes out.
Every beginning in Genesis, which finds its conclusion in Revelation, finds its complement throughout all the Scripture. This marvelous interdependability of the Bible gives positive proof that the Book was written not by forty, but by One Person even by God, the Holy Ghost.
"What glory gilds the sacred page,
Majestic, like the sun!
It gives a light to ev'ry age;
It gives, but borrows none.
"The hand that gave it still supplies
His gracious light and heat,
His truths upon the nations rise;
They rise, but never set."
Suppose a man brought five stones, walked up to a building, opened the door, deposited his stones, and then walked out the door. Years afterward another man opened the same door and put in from one to three stones; then years later still another deposited a stone, and so on until thirty-nine stones were placed. Then after centuries four men came up, one at a time, and each deposited a stone. Then several others came, until at last sixty-six stones had been placed within the door. Now we enter in. We gather up the stones, and we find from foundation to cap-stone we can build a structure complete, everything perfectly fitted, a marvelous, symmetrical, and beautiful building. Such is the Bible.
VII. THE WORD IS WONDERFUL BECAUSE IT IS PROPHETICAL (Psalms 119:105 ; Psalms 119:130 )
Psalms 119:105 tells us, "Thy Word is a Lamp unto my feet." As we pass into the New Testament we read of a more sure word of prophecy, that shineth as a Lamb in a dark place, until the day dawn and the Day Star shall appear.
The Bible is wonderful, therefore, because it dares to write the future of individuals, the future of cities, the future of nations, the future of countries in such a detail of distinctive fulfillment that the reader is staggered at the breadth of its prophecy.
Could some one arise and tell us with precision that which is going to happen ten years from now? Could they give us, ahead of time, their family life, or the life of their city, or their nation, for a century? The Bible, however, gives the history of man in his ups and downs, millenniums in advance.
In its first chapter of Genesis, under beautiful symbolisms, the Scripture casts before us the shadow of seven great ages, which will mark the history of God's dealings with man.
In the garden of Eden God forecasted the story of the Garden of Gethsemane, and of the hill of Calvary, where the Seed of the woman bruised the serpent's head.
In the 12th chapter of Genesis and on into the 15th, God told to Abraham a story of the Children of Israel, as it is being fulfilled before our very eyes at this present moment. Jesus Christ, Himself, stood and reached back into the 19th chapter of Genesis where Sodom's burning is described, and then He reached forward into the age of His Second Coming when His feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives, and He said, "As it was in the days of Lot * * even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed."
Every detail of the sufferings of Christ, under twenty-four different illuminating statements, was written in the Word of God about one thousand years before Christ was born.
The present history of the world with its strife between capital and labor; with its preparation for the coming antichrist; with its Zionism, and the return of the Jews toward Palestine; with its marvelous story of invention, its broad streets, its lighted cities, its air ships all of these things and many others are foretold in the Word of God.
We hand to you a Bible that is wonderful!
THEY CALL IT BUT A PATCHWORK
They call it but a patchwork, and a. fabricated gem
From the best of ancient writers, disconnected seam and hem;
That a group of fancied authors turned their scrapbooks inside out,
Just to choose fantastic readings from the heathen round about;
That a choice of myths by magic leaped from many an unknown pen,
And were added to the Bible, by some half ape, budding men;
That the story of creation, found within God's holy Word,
Is a legend all primeval taken from some ancient bard:
They have relegated Jonah to the scrap pile long ago,
Just because the God they worship, can't work miracles you know;
They remove from out the Bible, all the words of Virgin Birth,
And would give the world a Savior, who would be of little worth;
They would rob Christ of His glory, and the Christian of his Lord;
And defame the resurrection, and destroy the Living Word;
They would humanize the Saviour, and His Coming would disdain,
While they deify the scholars, and immortalize their brain.
R. E. N.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Psalms 119". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany