I read that verse from Proverbs 30:5 this morning and then turned to a chapter that I have read often in the last few days- Jeremiah 36. A foolish king supposed that he could negate the truth that every word of God proves true by taking a knife and cutting the scroll and tossing it into the fire. Ps. 12:6- "The words of the LORD are pure words, as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times." Matthew Henry writes- "Enemies may prevail to burn many a Bible, but they cannot abolish the Word of God, nor defeat the accomplishment of it."
God told Jeremiah to write the words that He would give to him and then to present it to the people for this purpose- that they might repent and escape the disaster to come. But like today, King Jehoiakim was rebellious, would not hear wise counsel, and thought he could protect himself by destroying the scroll. Interestingly enough, these are the words that close the chapter- "Then took Jeremiah another roll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire: and there were added besides unto them many like words." Our pastor read the verse last week as he preached on Hell, (yes, the truth of its' reality is still being proclaimed in some pulpits) from Rom.2:5- "But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God." We are just adding wrath to wrath when we refuse God's Word. Now, with that introduction, let me say that I have found myself angry lately at the blatant refusal and dismissal of God's Word and not from the world and unbelievers- I don't expect them to take it as God's Word- but at those who say they have been called by God to preach His Word yet are misleading many because they "cut-out" whatever verses that doesn't suit their agenda. I followed an argument recently between two pastors with whom I went to high school, one, a Presbyterian, and one, a Methodist. (I don't even care anymore about denominations- I care about what individual churches are preaching the whole counsel of God.)
One was concerned that his affiliated church had decided that homosexuals could be ordained into the ministry and the other said that she hoped that her church would get onboard because she "is tired of homophobia and sexism." Yes, she apparently doesn't like the Apostle Paul's requirements for filling a pulpit anyway. "After all", they argue, "Jesus didn't have anything to say about it." Let me tell you what I am tired of, people of God. I am tired of leaders carrying only a red-lettered Bible and probably some of that has been omitted because some of the words that Jesus spoke in the one I read are not easy to swallow. No, our Savior had some hard things to say because He knows that the most loving thing we can do for hell-bent sinners is to lovingly and compassionately tell them the truth. (What would you think, personally, about a doctor who sees the tumor on the scan but just doesn't want you to have a bad day so he tells you all is okay?) Now, to say that His words are all-important is an understatement but to use the argument that if Jesus didn't address a situation that it isn't relevant is like taking a knife and cutting out most of our Holy Scriptures. I read in 2 Tim.3:16 these words- "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." Therein is our problem- we proud and rebellious sinners don't want any reproof or correction, like spoiled children we are going on in our own way and this generation seems militant when confronted, do they not?
Saints, it is going to take some courage to stand in these last days and I pray that we have it. If you don't notice the escalating assaults on those who will dare to hold forth the Word of God as the inspired and authoritative Book that it is, then your head is either in the sand or the TV. Just last Sunday, upon the announcement that Pastor John Hagee's church would be holding a "Stand With Israel" Sunday, protesters gathered and shouted him down as he preached. As they were escorted out by security, Pastor Hagee remarked that if it took to 6:30 p.m. to finish the sermon, he intended to do so. These people are recruiting others who want to stand against sexism, Zionism, homophobia, and other subjects to come and help them in their protests. A mainstream denomination just this week in a publication headlined these words- "It's Time For Palestine." There is a cry against Israel such as we have not heard in a long time, sadly even from our government. Why is that concerning to us? Because we believe the Book! Gen. 12:3- "And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." Ps. 122:6- "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee." Yes, my subject today is that we either believe the Bible or we don't and for those who stand and instruct in churches, if you don't, I wish you would go sell Amway or Mary Kay or something else.
Saints, when I used to teach and even now, when I blog, I check my Scriptures and ask God for clarity because I take James 3:1 (because it is part of the Book) very seriously. I wonder about those who are standing behind lecterns with a copy of the Word of God before them and then deliberately begin to explain away Scriptures that are not palatable to our rebellious flesh. Unlike Jehoiakim who thought that he could cut it up and burn it, oh that we would have hearts to believe and obey it. God, as our Designer and Owner, knows what works best for us- His instructions are not to harm us but to bless us! My prayer for you and hope yours for me is that we "would hold forth the word of life" because "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."
p.s. The mantra today for much of Christianity is "Open minds, open hearts, and open doors", all of which hold a portion of truth but how about this if you are searching for a church- "Firstly, Open Bibles!" ?