Know Your Bible
VOL. 13 March 1, 2015 NO. 51
THE HEALTH INSPECTOR AND AUTHORITY
Many years ago I worked in a meatpacking plant. One responsibility that I had was to roll a vat, which contained tubular molds of lunchmeat, up to an ice bin and then fill the vat with ice. I was told to use a stainless steel shovel which was used exclusively for this task. The plant was patrolled on a regular basis by a health inspector. I was told that I should do whatever he said because he had the power to shut down a production line or even the entire plant if something was not to his liking. On one occasion, when I finished filling the ice bin, I leaned the shovel against a nearby wall with the end resting on a clean-looking cement floor. The inspector happened by and told me that I would need to hang the shovel on a nearby hook so that it would be off of the floor. I said “OK” and did what he said from that point on. However, I could not understand the need for hanging the shovel on a hook with it touching a wall that might not be any cleaner than the floor. I also reasoned that the shovel and the ice never actually touched the food. Did it matter that the health inspector’s instructions made little sense to me? No, it did not; he was the authority, and I had to do what he said regardless of what I thought about his instructions.
Most people can understand that importance of submitting to earthly authority. Sadly, many do not understand the importance of submitting to the highest authority of all--the authority of God. God is man’s authority whether man wants Him to be or not. God has His authority inherently. God received His authority from no one; God has His authority because of who He is. God is the creator of the universe (Gen. 1:1); He is the owner of all things (Psa. 50:10-12); He is the sustainer of all things (Acts 17:25-28). God certainly has a right to have authority over man. A person may ask, “Who gave God the right to rule over man?” One who would say this does not understand the inherent authority of God.
Today, God remains our authority. He has revealed Himself to us through the Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:16-17, I Thess. 2:13, 4:2, 3, 8; I Cor. 14:37) which are the final authority. Our opinion on some issue does not count. It does not matter what we think; the only issue is what the Scriptures say. We must be content to simply submit ourselves to the authority of God!
PROFANITY BY DEFINITION
“O my God!” “O Lord!” “Good God!” “Jesus Christ!" These words are good and pure when used properly but profane and vulgar when used to express nothing more than surprise or amazement. A person might utter the precious name of the Lord when he merely steps on his shoelace, stumps his toe or hears a piece of juicy gossip. There is even a magazine/website entitled OMG, devoted solely to celebrity gossip. Even serious matters are no excuse to abuse the Lord's name, let alone trivial matters. But every day, everywhere we go, it is being done - whether it be at work, in town, on television, on the internet or even in our homes.
When the Lord’s name is not specifically abused it is often replaced with euphemisms that have their very origin in the words Jesus or God. I will never forget as a young boy while watching a television show at my grandmother's house, every now and then she would scurry in and turn the TV down for about two seconds. There was a song on the show with one of these euphemisms, and she wanted to make sure that word did not enter my ears. Isn't that wonderful?
Sadly, many of us have grown comfortable with hearing the Lord’s name in vain and perhaps find it less offensive than other vulgar language. You may not even notice when somebody uses it. How often do you turn the channel when you hear a "cuss word" but not when you hear the Lord's name in vain?
Do we not realize that profaning God's name is the worst language possible? It is profanity by definition. Profane simply means blasphemous or obscene, taking something holy and using it in any other manner than holy. The Lord’s name in vain should be to Christians utterly disgusting, repulsive and offensive.
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain” (Exod. 20:7). This is the third of the ten commandments. Although the main point is to never use God’s name to confirm a false oath, a natural progression of that thought is to refrain from any trivial or irreverent usage of His name. Jewish scribes were so reverent with the name of the Lord that before they wrote His name they would dip their stylus afresh in new ink every single time. They did this so that God’s name would not fade with the rest of the words. We should strive to have this same regard for the holiness of that great and awesome name.
Although we are no longer under the Old Testament, the concept of reverencing God and Christ is unchanging, replete in the New Testament. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ..." (Eph. 1:3); "He is also head of body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything" (Col. 1:18); "Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe" (Heb. 12:28).
Blessing. First place. Reverence. Awe. This is how our holy God deserves to be treated. Why should we treat His holy name any differently? “Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and forever” (Psa. 113:2).
CHILDREN AND THE BIBLE
Somewhere along the line, it seems to me, there has been an assumption that all the stories in the Bible have to be something for children. If some account is disturbing, then there is a problem with the Bible — as if the Bible was written just for the sake of kids.
Some people object to the Bible on these grounds, even making fun of it. After all, we read about adultery, murder, incest, rape, children sacrificed to idols, and other horrific situations. We read of concubines getting hacked to pieces, kings brutally assassinated, and some of the “heroes” committing terrible sins. This is not really the stuff we want to tell our children about. Therefore, some conclude, the Bible is not a good book.
Those who think this way are very much missing the point of the Bible. The Bible was never meant to be a child’s story book. It’s not about just trying to engender nice platitudes and have entertaining classes. Don’t misunderstand. We need to be teaching our children the Bible, but there is a reason there are different levels of learning and teaching. Children may not be ready for some of what we read in the Bible, but there is always plenty there to talk about with them. As they grow, they will get to know the Bible more fully, and, if taught well, will understand why the ugliness is there.
What this shows us is that the Bible is a book of reality. The writers do not sugar coat. They don’t gloss over the faults and sins of the main characters. They don’t hide the plots that make normally good men look bad. The Bible reflects what really happens. It teaches us head-on about the loathsome nature of sin. Eventually, all people need to know about this and understand the Bible’s purposes.
In other words, the Bible shows us exactly why we need the grace of God. All of the ugliness of the sins and evils we read about are finally wrapped up in the suffering Servant as He hangs on the cross. Therein we find the full force of sinful disgust being conquered by the abundant love and grace of God. If we don’t see the problem first, we’ll never understand the need for, and depth of, God’s response.
‘I WILL, BUT NOT RIGHT NOW’
What would you think of a man who tells his wife: “I know there are some things I need to change in order to be a proper husband – and I plan to make those changes – but not right now. I have some things I want to do first, pursue some of my hobbies, hang out with my friends, go places and do things I like. After I get all of that stuff done, I’ll take care of my ‘home duties’.”
You would think this fella is an incredible jerk! What is he thinking! Does he really expect his wife to wait – to put up with his selfish, childish conduct until he is ready to get serious about their relationship? NO! He needs to get things right – RIGHT NOW!
If this is what we’d expect and demand from a husband toward his wife, why would we think differently about an individual’s duties toward God? Can you imagine how He feels when people selfishly pursue all their own desires while continually postponing their obedience to Him. There are many who know what they should do – and they claim that they intend to do it – but they keep procrastinating. It is an affront to the God who loves us and who constantly blesses us with “every good gift” (James 1:17).
For all those who express their plans to obey the gospel, ‘but not right now’, we urge you to think seriously about how God perceives this delay.
For those who have initially obeyed, but have fallen into a state of unfaithfulness – please consider that Gold says you have “trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith (you were) sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace” (Hebrews 10:29).
Planning to do right, but not right now? Better think again!
Know Your Bible" is e-mailed weekly by the church of Christ which meets at 112 Roberts Avenue in Wise, Virginia. If you know of others who might benefit from the articles contained in this bulletin, we would be glad to have you submit their e-mail addresses and we will include them in next week's mailing. If you are receiving this bulletin and do not wish to continue to do so, please e-mail us with your desire to be removed from the mailing list and we will remove your address promptly. Continue to the bottom of this page and further instructions will be given as to how you may contact us.
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