Right now opinions are abounding from everyone. “Open up the country!”…”No, we should say at home yet.”…”Churches should be able to open up.”…”No, it’s too early to gather together in groups.” But what happens when you have all these contrasting opinions are silly arguments over semantics rather than what God’s Word actually says. In this Scripture, Paul is writing to the young Pastor Timothy, warning him to avoid quarrels of “words” that stem from either party’s inadequate training in and/or deficient knowledge of Biblical disciplines. So before we can express any kind of opinion, we must first know what God’s Word says about it…in order to handle correctly the word of truth. (II Timothy 2:15). But to know God’s Word, we must first get into God’s Word and allow it to enlighten us.
God’s activity in creating and ruling the world is seen throughout the Psalms. “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world and all who live in it. (Psalm 24:1-2) “The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad.” (Psalm 97:1) “The Lord reigns, He is robed in majesty.” (Psalm 93:1) The bottom line is…throughout this pandemic, you may think God has been absent, indifferent, or turning a blind eye to all the death and suffering…but He hasn’t. God’s sovereign authority is still operating on our behalf and for our good. For “the Lord works out everything for His own ends.” (Proverbs 16:4) But how and why is He doing this? As the Lord told Moses in Exodus 9:16, “for the purpose that I may show you My power and that My name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So one thing we can be certain of today… is that God is still in control and ruling with grace and mercy.
The last time our Church Body met was in March. And while we have a weekly online service…it’s just not the same. This past week our Pastor sent out 5 questions for everyone to answer, and one of them really struck home for me. The question asked in what ways had we experienced loss during the COVID 19 pandemic? The word loss got me thinking about the stages of loss – shock/disbelief, denial, bargaining, guilt, anger, depression, and finally acceptance/hope. Now while I haven’t lost a friend or family member to the Corona Virus, or lost my job or business in the aftermath…I’ve watch in stunned sadness as millions of people have. So in a way, this profound loss can not help but effect me too. And when you couple this feeling of loss with a pervasive sense of uncertainty, I’m only left with dryness…a desert within my soul. But God’s remedy for this arid condition is simple…His Word. For just as Ezekiel spoke to the Valley of the dry bones and they lived…so my soul can be made alive through His Word.
Is God’s word sufficient? Do you believe it is inspired and without error? I just completed 30 hours of classroom instruction in Biblical Counseling where the central objective was, Yes it is! The Bible attests to its sufficiency in that it contains everything we need for salvation, trust, and obedience in God. Within God’s word we can find flawless truth to build our lives upon (John 17:17) and guidance to help us navigate throughout that journey. (Psalm 119:105) But for those who think the Bible doesn’t pertain to modern times and situations…sin started in the Garden of Eden and continues to today. You can go ahead and hang all kinds of new names on it, but sin is sin…it’s rebellion against God.
Even now it’s sometimes very difficult to discern whether a Word from the Lord we hear is accurate. At face value it may sound good…especially the warm, fuzzy ones that predict peace, prosperity, and a new Cadillac in every garage. But to separate truth from falsehood we have to weigh these words in context with all prior revelations from the Lord. Is it consistent with God’s word? And when put up against the truth already received from the Lord, does it measure up to its standard? When we filter all we hear through these notions first, we’ll be less likely to accept the words of someone who’s overstepping their boundaries and taking smug and arrogant liberties with God’s word.
Humans and religion have always gotten into trouble when they attempted to overlay the Word of God with ritual and tradition. So the message in the Scriptures above are quite simple…don’t even think of adding to or subtracting from what it says in the Bible. We are reminded of the authority and sufficiency of the word of God in II Timothy 3:16 that reads, “All of Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” The Bible contains everything we need for salvation, trust, hope, and love….its words more than adequate to meet every need and accomplish God’s divine purpose in our life.