Thus saith the Lord

Paul writes to his “son in the faith” in 2 Tim 3:16

16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness

All Scripture is God-breathed (Gr. θεόπνευστος). Not only did God choose to breath the universe into existence as we read in Ps 33:6 – “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth,” but God choose to breath out Scripture. Scripture is not a product of man, but of God. 359 times do we read these words, “Thus saith the Lord.” It is God-breathed and thus carries divine authority and is profitable for the guiding of both faith and life.

The Holy Bible

Concerning faith it tells us in whom to believe, the one true God of the Bible, in what to believe, His Holy truth. Concerning life, Peter explains it best in 2 Pet 1:3 – “everything pertaining to life and godliness.” All that this life entails for the believer, everything under the sun, and more importantly walking in “the newness of life” (Rom 6:4), we have been provided with the sufficient and sustaining power to manifest godliness, holiness, and obedience to His precious Word.

The church cannot simply give lip service to this great doctrine, but must weave this great thread of truth into the fabric of church governance and living. Depending on their “diet,” it may take a church body a while to attain to a high view of Scripture. Just “think in every line you read that God is speaking to you” is what the Puritan pastor Thomas Watson would say to us.

To this day, we only transmit what we have received. The human authors received their message directly from God. Jeremiah testified, “the word of the Lord came to me” (Jer 1:4). God put His words in his mouth (v. 9). Paul did not “confer with flesh and blood” (Gal 1:16). He received his message directly from the Lord. The Apostle John was explicitly told, “what you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches” (Rev 1:11). Though no apostles exist today, we continue that same level of commitment to transmit only what we have received. I love the practical advice Paul gives to the church at Corinth, “learn not to exceed what is written” (1 Cor 4:6).

At times we may have to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints” (Jude 3) because of the culture we live in, but we must be faithful to declare to all, “thus saith the Lord.”

It begins in the pulpit. It is lived out in the attitudes of the people as they remind one another that our opinions or feelings are not the end-all, but it is what God has revealed in His Word that matters. Truth matters. May God instill in us a greater love and appreciation for His Word and may we be faithful to not “turn aside to the right or to the left” (Deut 5:32), but to “observe to do just as the Lord” our God has commanded us, for His glory, for His Name’s sake.

The Only Desirable Good

“God is the only desirable good, nothing without him is worthy of our hearts. Right thoughts of God are able to ravish the heart; how much more happy is the man that has interest in God. God alone is able by himself to put the soul into a more blessed, comfortable, and happy condition than can the whole world; yea, and more than if all the created happiness of all the angels of heaven did dwell in one man’s bosom. God is the upholder of all creatures, and whatever they have that is a suitable good to their kind, it is from God; by God all things have their subsistence, and all the good that they enjoy. I cannot tell what to say; I am drowned! The life, the glory, the blessedness, the soul-satisfying goodness that is in God is beyond all expression.”

– John Bunyan, Christ—A Complete Saviour, vol. 1 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2006), 218.

All of life governed by God

It does not come as a surprise to those who both know and love God that God appoints “times” (Heb. zemān/ זְמָן) in our lives – “a time for every event under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). As time-bound human beings as we are, we must realize that all times are fixed by God over which we dare not say we control.  They are divinely appointed. Just consider the following proverb, “Man’s steps are ordained by the Lord, How then can man understand his way?” (Prov 20:24). In Jeremiah 10:23 we read, “I know, O Lord, that a man’s way is not in himself, Nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps.” Or if you really want to be humbled and awed at the same time, consider Proverbs 16:1 where Solomon writes, “The plans of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.”  God governs plans, ways, words, time, let alone your very breath! Wow!  Thus it is no surprise that every event in life is calculated to remain only so long, thus they are specific, definite times that God has ordained (cf. Neh 2:6 – “definite”).  Some of these appointed times include birth, death, weeping, laughing, mourning, dancing, silence, speaking, love, and hate (Eccl 3:2-8). They are all part of life, life that is governed by God.

Yet despite of this eternal truth, how many of us wonder, “what are doing God?”  Perhaps we ask because we do not comprehend His thoughts, His ways (Is 55:8-9).  Let’s face it, there are desirable events in life and undesirable events in life, but God has appointed them all.  In Ecclesiastes 3:11 we read, “He has made everything appropriate in its time.” It might surprise you that the word translated as “appropriate” (Heb. yā∙p̄ě(h)/יָפֶה) is literally the word, “beautiful.”  Even in this cursed universe, God has made everything beautiful in its time. It is the futility of heart that fails to trust the sovereign wisdom of God.  Yet my beloved, He knows what He is doing!

As Augustine once said, “Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.” The whole universe cannot satisfy us.  You were born with something greater than any single event/experience in this fallen world.  You were made with “eternity in [your] heart” (Eccl 3:11).  You were made for “the eternal God [who is] a dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deut 33:27).  Thus my plea to all, come to Jesus.  Come anchor your soul in Him.  Despite the “time” you find yourself in now, come to Him now.  To you who doubt “what God is doing,” come to Him, come to His dwelling place, come to His everlasting arms.  He will not cast out those who come to Him.  He will not forsake you.  Come to the truth of God. He is sovereign, He is powerful, He is able, He governs and thus is familiar with all your ways.  Surrender and thus be “happy in [your] activities” (Ecc 3:22).  Can I get an amen?