Continuing our study on how God relates to us, today we’re going to briefly look at the main way he speaks to us, namely his word.
I think it’s a given that we don’t take God’s word to us as seriously as he does. Heaven and earth will one day pass away, but not his words. But I think that today’s passage offers some insight into the subject that we haven’t considered.
First, all of his words are “flawless.” If you check out the other translations on the website I use for Scripture references, you might also see it as “tested,” or “proved true,” or “pure.” The reason for this is that word was used for the process of refining metals. Once something was purified by fire, it was considered “flawless” or “tested.” The Psalmist declared that his word is “like silver refined in a crucible, like gold refined seven times.” In other words, his word has been tested. Over the thousands of years of recorded history, not one of his words has failed to come to pass. Skeptics mock it, dictators burn it, and most American Christians ignore most of it, but it’s been proven time and time again to be “flawless.”
But again, Solomon is a practical man, so when he tells us something about anything, there’s a reason. After telling us that God’s word is flawless, he tells us that our Lord is a “shield to those who take refuge in him.” Why would he say this in the second half of the verse? Because here God “shields” us and we “take refuge in him” in the context of trusting and obeying his word. As we do that, we can rest assured that we’re safe from all real harm.
But the second verse today is a warning to all of us, especially those who teach from his Book. We need to be extra extra extra careful about distinguishing between what God has actually said from our own opinions and thoughts. As someone once told me, our clarity on an issue needs to be in direct proportion to how clear the Bible is on it. Where it’s less than clear, then we need to be charitable to those who disagree.
And if I disobey vs. 6, if I add to his words, then he’ll prove me a liar. I think this is a public rebuke. It’s not totally clear on how he’ll prove me a liar, but I for one don’t want to find out.
So what’s an application here? I think we need to be very careful about using the phrase “God told me. . .” Unless you’re willing to produce a 23rd chapter of Revelation, I'd avoid that wording. If you want to say that “I believe that God is leading me to. . .” I don’t think that’s so much a problem. But he’s got some pretty dire warnings about adding to his word or taking away from it or distorting the meaning of it.
None of us like to be misquoted, and the Lord likes it even less. And keep in mind that the stakes couldn’t be higher. . .
Father, I want to be a clear channel for your truth. Nothing more, nothing less, nothing other than what you’ve said. Nothing else matters.
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