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Joyous yet Convicting Scripture
Why joy and conviction?
These are concepts that are also in the New Testament. But here are four sections that together are rich in theology and the nature of men. It shows that knowledge alone cannot protect men from the pull of their sin nature. We tend to focus on the benefits of Christianity and forget we are saved to be salt and light to the lost. Only through God can men have the strength and direction to break free of their sin nature. Our witness will suffer if we continue in unconfessed sin that we are at least working to correct.
This first section expresses the concept of Natural Revelation. It would seem that everyone would understand this. But we can see that this is not happening. I write from personal experience. When you’re fed a steady diet of Evolution, even from parents, it’s hard to appreciate that “nature” could point to God. And growing up in a liberal church was no help either.
I did not know, but there have been sceptics of Evolution all along. Answers in Genesis clearly shows how the Creation narrative is essential to understanding the Gospel. They also have very many observable physical evidences that substantiate the Creation story. And the best proof of the veracity of this story is that it never changes but only adds more evidence every year.
(Psalm 19:1-6 WEB) To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.
1The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth the work of his hands. 2Day to day uttereth speech, and night to night showeth knowledge. 3[There is] no speech nor language, [where] their voice is not heard. 4Their line hath gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, 5Which [is] as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, [and] rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. 6His going forth [is] from the end of the heaven, and his circuit to the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from his heat.
The order of the universe, our planet, and plants and animals shows the hand of a single Creator. Each day shows the interconnection of life that requires a very fine balance that statistically is impossible to happen by chance. To say that Creation speaks reveals that men can hear and see the majesty and power of the Creation and the Creator. But “can” and “do” are often not synonymous.
I also think Natural Revelation is too general. There’s much more to the Gospel then can be discerned from nature only. Particularly Jesus adds a lot of necessary nuances to moral precepts then what exists in the Old Testament. Also other passages in scripture give us a more detailed view of how God through Jesus created our world and the universe. Two examples are: (Romans 1:18-23) and (Colossians 1:15-18).
One very important precept in scripture is to cherish the scripture as the inerrant word of God. People will never know God intimately without some (preferably more) Biblical knowledge. And they also will not know Him intimately if they don’t believe the Bible is God’s Word. For those who know the Bible it truly becomes a treasure and is literally worth more than any material wealth a person may have.
(Psalm 19:7-10 WEB) 7The law of the LORD [is] perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD [is] sure, making wise the simple. 8The statutes of the LORD [are] right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD [is] pure, enlightening the eyes. 9The fear of the LORD [is] clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD [are] true [and] righteous altogether. 10More to be desired [are they] than gold, yes, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honey-comb.
Psalm 119 is the richest passage in scripture for focusing on the infinite value of scripture. But not knowing our own heart is the biggest stumbling block to right living, right thinking, and sanctification. Two scriptures that reflect on introspection and the failings of men mentioned in the next three verses are: (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and (Hebrews 4:12).
Sin and Introspection
If we lack the skill or willingness of introspection we will not advance above the status of an adolescent Christian. God comes to us in the person of the Holy Spirit to strengthen us. We all have some level of hurts, habits, hang-ups, and addictions* that compromise our witness, our strength, and our direction in life. THe operation of the Holy Spirit can be clearly seen in (John 16:13-15).
*Phrase taken from Celebrate Recovery
(John Baker, Rick Warren, Saddleback Church)
(Psalm 19:11-13 WEB) 11Moreover, by them is thy servant warned: [and] in keeping of them [there is] great reward. 12Who can understand [his] errors? cleanse thou me from secret [faults]. 13Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous [sins]; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.
People sometimes kid about the “Devil made me do it”. But we know the real answer. Most of the time when we sin we’re unaware of the offense or the temptation came out of left field and blindsided us. In the heat of the moment another person within us revealed themself. We can learn our trigger points and avoid them in the future by praying and rehearsing how to avoid our unwholesome reactions.
But in verse thirteen there is an inconvenient word “presumptuous”. This may be even harder to correct even though it seems like we walk into the situations with our eyes wide open. The spiritual cancer is even deeper than our “secret faults” and requires help from God. Our triggers and weaknesses that disable us from avoiding these sins are only going to be identified and dealt with with the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
To Be Pleasing to God
Notice this last verse is not offering any silver bullets for our sin problems or formulas for Praising God or honoring His Holy Word the Bible. THat would be easy - we could just develop a routine, check off the action items, and go about our day. But it’s clear for God’s “pleasure” and our spiritual growth that we surrender our whole life to His control.
(Psalm 19:14 WEB) Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable* in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
*other Bible versions use “pleasing”
There’s nothing left out in this pledge to God that is needed for a sincere devotion to God and His Kingdom. Everything internal and external to our being is being committed to God. We recognize the need for His Spirit to strengthen and guide us.
I have written before that God hates sin just as much as He did in the Old Testament. But His sacrifice of His own Son showed His love is greater than His hate of sin. And just like Him who longs for us to be in His presence always - we should also seek to be in His presence. And even though we stray and don’t look to Him always His arms are always open wide the second we return to Him (Who has been right beside us all the way).
Mankind (which we are a fellow member) has been messing up since Adam and Eve - but He still cherishes our presence. Why do we find it so hard to do the same?
© 2018 Jim JW Worcester