The Richness of God’s Word

The Richness of God’s Word

Recently a friend and I were talking about things that mean a lot to us, and why. We were not talking about human beings or the Trinity or anything of that nature, rather we were talking about things that had great meaning to us and the reasons for that. I shared that one of the most meaningful things to me sits out on a lateral file that I have in my office at the District Office. It is my Dad’s Bible. It may sound quaint, or like the right thing to say as a Pastor — but the reason Dad’s Bible is so special to me is that Pastor Herbert A. Wiggins is engraved on it; Dad’s handwriting is all throughout it; there are many notes and little things Dad picked up through the years still in his Bible. That particular Bible has meaning because it reminds me of my Dad. More than that, Dad’s Bible reminds me of the richness of God’s Word.  My Dad’s Bible that’s in my office is what was called a “Thompson Chain Bible” in the King James Version (KJV).  It is the version that I, as a child and early teen, learned verses and concepts from. In my later teens and to this day I’ve stuck with the New International Version (NIV) from 1978 and revised in 1984.  (The NIV was substantially changed in 2011, to the point where the publisher re-called all new 1978 and 1984 editions that had not been sold in bookstores!) I’ve shared previously that I have marked up my Bible, much like my Dad did, to the point where it is pretty well beaten — but I don’t want to give it up because I know where everything is in it!  

One thing I have been doing for the past few years is re-reading some passages of Scripture from the old KJV and then in the NIV. I don’t do this to tear apart one translation and magnify another, rather I just like to read the Word and let it soak into my needy soul. It has been so refreshing to do this. I have come to love more deeply God’s Word and its richness. Recently I was re-reading Hebrews 11, sometimes called the Hall of Fame of Faith chapter. In my Dad’s Bible, he used a yellow highlighter to highlight the names and stories of the people mentioned as heroes of the faith, as well as those who are just named without any elaboration. Still others are un-named, faced severe hardship, trial, and challenge, and then this phrase is used to describe them – the world was unworthy of them. Interestingly enough, in the NIV84, that verse is rendered, the world was not worthy of them. 

After all this, and more, the writer of Hebrews goes on to write:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.  

Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV84

The other day we received a short minute-long video of one of our grandsons, eight years old, playing baseball. The pitch came in, you could hear people saying, “Keep your eye on the ball”, “Swing hard”, etc., and as soon as he made contact, people said, “Run, run, run, go to first base!” People were cheering him on and he took off as fast as he could from home plate to get to first base.  He made it!  His hat didn’t fly off but that little guy was hauling as fast as he could to get to first base.  He was so focused on getting to that base! That’s the illustration I think of when I read Hebrew 12:1-2a, except for the Christ-follower, we’re not focusing on a base, we’re focusing on the person of Jesus Christ! The writer says, Jesus is the author and perfecter of our our faith, so we throw off everything that hinders AND the sin that so easily entangles and then we run like crazy (well that’s what I wrote in the margin once!), we run hard after Christ! And what of this Christ? Not only is He the author and perfector of our faith, but He joyously endured the cross — WHAT?? Go back and read the last few hours on earth for Jesus (Luke 22 & 23). Read of the betrayal, the beatings, the fake trials, the treachery and games, the humiliation, the flogging, the mocking, the ridiculous things said, the lies, on and on and on — and yet Hebrews 12:2 says of Jesus, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, scorning its shame..sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Talk about something to ponder, something rich, something to contemplate! The writer of Hebrews could write this because he was carried along by the Spirit of God to write about the Son of God! The mindset of the Son! The attitude of the Son! The will of the Son to live up to and accomplish the will of God the Father!  

And then v. 3! Consider Him (consider Jesus!) who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. That, to me, again, is rich! God gives us the full picture in His Word.  He doesn’t sugar-coat it, He doesn’t tell us one thing and then another happens. God’s Word is consistent, Jesus said previously (John 16:33), In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. We shouldn’t be surprised when hard things happen, when bad things happen, when things we didn’t expect to have to happen, in fact, do happen!  God’s Word to the Christ-follower is this — look to Jesus!  Look to Him rather than the circumstance!  In doing so, you will have the means to NOT grow weary and NOT lose heart!  

All of us reading this likely know what it is to be weary. We’ve given and given and given and we get tired!  Sometimes it can be in the middle of the day! Whenever it happens, when we are weary we must be aware because Satan sure is and he desires to attempt us and divert us from what God desires. He desires to devour us and destroy us (I Peter 5:8) and when we’re weary in body we are less likely to do as I Peter 5:8 says, which is to resist him and stand firm! May the richness of the Word come to you and me as consolation, as encouragement, as strength in Christ to be able to take our stand against the Devil.

Closely related to being weary is losing heart. This can go far beyond our body being affected to really doing a number on our soul, our mind, and our spiritual strength. Usually, this happens when we get our eyes off of Christ and onto our circumstances or problems. I’ve observed that we, as people, can sometimes lose heart and work really, really hard to hide it. The antidote to losing heart is not to be fake or act like we’ve not lost heart — no, the antidote is to look to Christ HIMSELF, who for the joy set before Him endured the Cross and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God! Keeping our focus on Christ, on His ways, on His thoughts, on His example, will go a looooooong way to keeping us from losing heart!  

Much more could be said, but I think you get the main point of this column. There is great richness in the Word of God!  Like a cool, long rain, falling on the ground that needs it so badly. Study it for sermons, talks, Sunday School, small group meetings, etc. but don’t forget about letting the richness of God’s Word wash over you daily for yourself! Seek Him for it, and you will find yourself refreshed, strengthened, and able to stand against the attacks of the enemy in God’s power — by God’s power!