Friday, March 25, 2016

Alive


Hebrews 4:12-13
12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

In many countries still today Bibles need to be smuggled in under threat of arrest or even execution. In those countries our brothers and sisters are starving for a chance to read a the Word of God, meanwhile here in this country we can easily take them for granted rarely even thinking of the journey the Word took to make it to our homes.

I myself rarely gave a thought to the origins of the Bible or the many sacrifices that had to be made to bring it to my home in the form that it is in until a couple of years ago when the Lord gave me an unquenchable thirst for the Word and everything related to it. Knowing at least some of its history has given me a deeper respect and a more careful handling of its teachings.

Mankind has produced many great literary works from ancient to more modern but all of these no matter how well written or how impactful on society they all pale vastly in comparison to the Word of God. No matter the depth of meaning in any of these they seem like a shallow pond when contrasted against the ocean of understanding found in this book called the Holy Bible.
It sits there like any other inanimate object, still, silent, and not moving but this great text lives and breathes just as the verse says, much like a living breathing person you can take it at face value with a short superficial inspection and discount it outright or you can choose to get to know it and in getting to know it you get the great gift of getting to know the Lord more and more as you search it. This book has gone up against some of the greatest scientific and philosophical minds we humans have had to offer and proven itself over and over again. And why wouldn’t it, it is the very voice of God.

Christians were harshly persecuted until the Emperor Constantine became ruler in Rome and was converted to Christianity then making it the Roman religion. For the purpose of brevity we fast forward about 1200 years and we see the Roman Catholic Church holding scripture hostage only allowing it to be copied in Latin form and anyone caught translating it or in possession of an alternative translation of the Bible was executed. The Church sold what they referred to as indulgences, meaning you could make a payment and then be given the blessing to commit certain sins for a certain period of time.
Martin Luther with the same Holy Spirit driven courage we see in the more ancient Apostles charged the large and powerful Roman Catholic Church with many heresies and started what is known today as the Protestant Reformation. He narrowly dodged Martyrdom on more than one occasion and printed the first Bible in the German language.

William Tyndale was the first to rebelliously print the Holy Bible in English and was executed for doing so. One of the famous quotes from Tyndale reads- “If God spare my life ere many years, I will cause the boy that drives the plow to know more of the scriptures than you!

He was addressing a Roman Catholic Clergyman with this statement.

Many other disciples some being theologians and some laymen went to there deaths and or dedicated their entire lives for this work of further spreading the Word of God to you and to me here today. This gave us today the ability to read the Word for ourselves without the need to have another human, possibly a corrupt human, give us the meaning of the scriptures and so hold power over our very relationship with the one true God. As was surely the Lord’s plan from the beginning of creation itself His Word could not be bound up forever.

After the Bible was free and distributed however scoffers then began to attack it more openly sighting the lack of evidence to support its claims but as the years slowly passed the Bible began to win these arguments as archeological discoveries being made have again and again silenced the scoffers and exalted the Word of God.
The Behistun Rock was deciphered in 1846 and although not related to the Hebrew people, it was found to contain many accounts that paralleled the Bible. For many years skeptics pointed to the Hittites described in the Bible as evidence of mythical stories and people that did not really exist.
Then Hittite monuments were uncovered at the Euphrates River, as they searched more and more areas were discovered proving the Hittites to be the formidable empire the Bible describes.

Recently the pool of Siloam in Old Jerusalem was also discovered after many scholars made claims it also did not exist. This pool detailed in John 9:1-7 is the location Christ healed a blind man by making mud with the dirt from the ground and his saliva then rubbing it on the man’s eyes and telling him to wash in the pool of Siloam. It was discovered while workers were repairing a sewage pipe break.

There are many more archeological and even scientific discoveries that have only served to strengthen rather than discount the word of God that I won’t detail here, but I invite you to take a look into them and see how as time has passed and our society becomes more and more advanced the Bible has only increased in evidence and reliability.
Of course these external sources are great references we can point to when talking with a potential convert to the faith but if the Word is properly investigated at length they are really not necessary for the believer to have faith because the Bible in conjunction with the Holy Spirit will convince you of its authenticity.
The Bible was authored by forty men from diverse backgrounds over a period of about 1500 years and when it is read what becomes overpoweringly apparent to the reader is the common threads that run through it’s many books, chapters, and verses, due directly to the common God who is the true author speaking to us his children through the many voices of prophets, apostles and disciples alike.
It’s the one story of the triune God that is in his essential nature Love and being love creates us for Him to love ultimately bringing us to him despite his own need to suffer with us to make that happen.

It tells us of truth, a truth that is much bigger than us or the short time we spend on this planet. His truth tells us it’s not about us and our petty desires but about him and his eternal purposes. He tells us his plan for us is not one of worldly possessions and a trouble free life, but of submitting to and being shaped by His Fatherly instruction while receiving the real riches in this life, His peace, joy and love. He tells us he is not interested in our path but only in His path for us and that it may be one of many more obstacles and much more pain but infinitely more fulfilling for us and glorifying for him.

Through reading this His Book that He has provisioned for us to have, we begin to see a bit of the face of our Maker. Much like, I assume a blind man might feel a face several times to gather a picture in his mind of that persons features we read and re-read His Word bringing that image a little closer and a little clearer.
If we aren’t gathering this knowledge for ourselves first hand then we limit ourselves to a human source to spoon feed us scripture and its meaning. We can easily look at some churches and see this happening. We see the Word of God being twisted and sometimes mutilated to appease itching ears, the Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 4:3-4 “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
Then Paul instructs Timothy and us in verse 5 when he says
“But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.


The Lord used men like Tyndale and Luther along with many others to ensure His Word could be had and known by everyone. There are people still at this work today literally smuggling God’s Word into hostile places to people that snatch it up and cling to it much like a drowning man might a life preserver. In knowing it we get to glimpse the face of the almighty God. We get to ingest the truth keeping our eyes open to the many snares of the evil one and our noses stay keen to the stench of false teaching. In many ways the Word of God has been given to us as a life preserver. Rather than just carrying it on us we must carry it in us.