Saturday, March 27, 2010

Take the Sword...

"In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God..." (Ephesians 6:16, 17)

Think of "the sword of the Spirit," the word of God, as the sword the Spirit both wields and gives us to wield. The Holy Spirit wields the word of Christ; it is how he works, and what he came to do. In John 15, Jesus said of the Spirit, "He will take what is Mine and declare it to you." The Spirit takes Christ's word, the Scripture, and puts it into our hands as we study it, meditate on it, and abide in it; he makes it our weapon of righteousness. We are to take it up and when we do, in the power of the Spirit, he takes our hand and guides the strokes, slashing here, exposing there, as the sword does its living work.

"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart"(Hebrews 4:12).

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Psalm 19

The Bible doesn't give its treasures away to glib readers. For instance, it often records surprising things that people said and did, but without comment; we are puzzled, and must become more thoughtful if we hope to solve the riddle. The Bible says things that seem to contradict other things; we are challenged, and must stop to study if we want to have understanding. The Bible says some things in such a way that if we're looking for an easy, shallow way to believe about God, we can seem to have found it. If we insist, the Bible will remain a small book to us.

But the Bible is, in actuality, a deep treasure mine, while at the same time it is a vast library. The glib reader, though he intends to dig deep, will miss the treasure because he misses the contexts, the wide references, the wonderful continuity. Or, the glib reader will browse here and there from the wide library but never dig deeper, never get the big picture, because he's busy with only bits and pieces. And so he too will miss the treasure.

But the one who's given up glibness... the one who's begun to tremble at this word... roams far and wide, up and down, throughout the vast library. Night and day you'll find him there, poring joyfully over the volumes. He has a pickaxe; he often stops to dig deeper for the treasure that the volumes say lies beneath the surface. He sometimes weeps at the aching beauty of what he finds. Pickaxe in one hand, open reference in the other, he'll spend his life mining for this treasure, for the truth that is more to be desired than gold. (Yes, than much fine gold.)