Thursday, October 29, 2009

God's Word Is Forever

By way of introduction, I want to use the following quote from Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary regarding the definitions of the words used in reference to the Word of God in Psalm 119. I have bolded the ones I will specifically refer to in the study that follows:

"There are ten different words by which divine revelation is called in this psalm, and they are synonymous, each of them expressive of the whole compass of it (both that which tells us what God expects from us and that which tells us that we may expect from him) and of the system of religion which is founded upon it and guided by it. The things contained in the scripture, and drawn from it, are here called, 1. God's law, because they are enacted by him as our Sovereign. 2. His way, because they are the rule both of his providence and of our obedience. 3. His testimonies, because they are solemnly declared to the world and attested beyond contradiction. 4. His commandments, because given with authority, and (as the word signifies) lodged with us as a trust. 5. His precepts, because prescribed to us and not left indifferent. 6. His word, or saying, because it is the declaration of his mind, and Christ, the essential eternal Word, is all in all in it. 7. His judgments, because framed in infinite wisdom, and because by them we must both judge and be judged. 8. His righteousness, because it is all holy, just, and good, and the rule and standard of righteousness. 9. His statutes, because they are fixed and determined, and of perpetual obligation. 10. His truth, or faithfulness, because the principles upon which the divine law is built are eternal truths."

There are seven direct or indirect references in Psalm 119 to God's Word enduring or lasting forever.

1) Psalms 119:44 So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever.

In order for the Psalmist to keep God's Word forever, it must be preserved and available to God's people forever. And this is exactly what we see promised by the Lord elsewhere in the books of Psalms and Isaiah:

Psalms 12:6-7 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

Isaiah 59:21 As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.

2) Psalms 119:89 For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

God's Word is settled and established in Heaven. Ungodly men may strive to destroy the Bible, but they will never succeed. Sure, they may destroy certain copies, but they can never destroy it completely. There are only four things in this universe that are eternal: the Godhead (Trinity), the angels God has created, man's soul, and the Holy Scriptures - and God said His Word would last forever!

Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

Not only will God preserve the general content of His Word, He will preserve the individual words, letters, jots (like the dots over the "i"s) and tittles (the accent marks that affect translation and can change the meaning between words having the exact same letters, but differing accent marks).

Matthew 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

2 Timothy 3:15-17 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

The Greek word for "scriptures" used in 2 Timothy 3:15 is different from the Greek word used elsewhere in the rest of the New Testament meaning "writings" or books/documents. Here the word actually refers to "letters." (This word is used in one other place to refer to the Scriptures though: in John 5:47, it is translated as "writings," in reference to the Pentateuch.)

God promised to preserve His Word totally, including the very content, not just the ideas or "thoughts." We don't have to guess what God said or try to recover some lost or corrupted manuscripts - we have His exact words preserved in the Hebrew Masoretic Old Testament and the Greek Textus Receptus, and translated faithfully for us in English in the King James Bible. We have God's Word and we can hold it in our very hands, to read from, memorize and meditate upon, and study.

3) Psalms 119:111 Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.

The testimony of the Scriptures will last forever - there will always be a record of God's goodness to fallen man: the testimony of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ dying for the sins of men upon the cross of Calvary, the triumph of His resurrection from the dead after three days and three nights in the tomb, the loving call of salvation and Jesus' saving power, the wonderful hope of His work in and through the lives of His people, and His glorious returning again one day to take home to Heaven all those who have placed their faith in Him.

Because these testimonies will be preserved forever, God's children can rejoice in them and in the inheritance the Lord has laid up for them in Christ. Not only is our inheritance in the Saviour, but these testimonies are part of that inheritance - something we will be praising the Lord for and singing about for all eternity.

No wonder they were valuable to the Psalmist!

Psalms 119:14 I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.

Psalms 119:24 Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellers.

Psalms 119:99 I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.

Psalms 119:119 Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth like dross: therefore I love thy testimonies.

Psalms 119:129 Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them.

Psalms 119:167 My soul hath kept thy testimonies; and I love them exceedingly.

How much do you value God's Word?

4) Psalms 119:112 I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes alway, even unto the end.

In order for God's saints to follow and obey the statutes He has given us in His Word, the Lord must make those same statutes accessible to us forever - He must preserve His Word for all generations.

Notice the seven times this Psalmist cries out for the Lord to "teach me thy statutes":

Psalms 119:12 Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes.

Psalms 119:26 I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes.

Psalms 119:33 Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.

Psalms 119:64 The earth, O LORD, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes.

Psalms 119:68 Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes.

Psalms 119:124 Deal with thy servant according unto thy mercy, and teach me thy statutes.

Psalms 119:135 Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; and teach me thy statutes.

We must be taught God's Word, including His statutes, before we can apply and obey it.

Genesis 18:19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.

Leviticus 19:37 Therefore shall ye observe all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: I am the LORD.

Deuteronomy 5:32 Ye shall observe to do therefore as the LORD your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.

Deuteronomy 12:32 What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.

Deuteronomy 29:29 The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Joshua 1:7-9 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

The Lord has promised to be with His people until the end of the world (this is referring to the endtimes when He will return again for His own at the rapture and then set in motion the final events leading to His literal reign from Jerusalem). It is interesting to note that the same Gospel that promises that Jesus will be with us always and teaches us to observe all things He has commanded us also teaches that we are to live by every word from God - that means that we must always have His Word preserved and available to us in order to live by it and observe all of it.

5) Psalms 119:144 The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting: give me understanding, and I shall live.

Psalms 119:142 Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.

1 John 3:7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

The righteousness of God's Word is a reflection of the righteousness of God Himself. His Word is righteous because it reveals to us what true righteousness is, reinforces the fact that righteousness is found only in Him, relates to us how we can have Christ's righteousness, and redirects our steps to walk in that righteousness.

Titus 2:11-14 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Six times Psalm 119 refers to God's Word as "righteous judgments" (see verses 7, 62, 106, 137, 160, 164), because it is His Word that teaches us how to judge righteously.

Psalms 119:7 I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.

Psalms 119:40 Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness.

Psalms 119:62 At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.

Psalms 119:106 I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments.

Psalms 119:123 Mine eyes fail for thy salvation, and for the word of thy righteousness.

Psalms 119:137 Righteous art thou, O LORD, and upright are thy judgments.

Psalms 119:138 Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful.

Psalms 119:164 Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments.

Psalms 119:172 My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness.

6) Psalms 119:152 Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever.

Webster's 1828 Dictionary defines "found" (in the sense used here) as:

"1. To lay the basis of any thing; to set, or place, as on something solid for support. 2. To begin and build; to lay the foundation, and raise a superstructure; as, to found a city. 3. To set or place; to establish, as on something solid or durable; as, to found a government on principles of liberty. 4. To begin; to form or lay the basis; as, to found a college or a library... 6. To set; to place; to establish on a basis. Christianity is founded on the rock of ages... 7. To fix firmly."

Proverbs 3:19-20 The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens. By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew.

Webster's defines "foundation" as: "1. The basis of an edifice; that part of a building which lies on the ground; usually a wall of stone which supports the edifice... 3. The basis or ground work, or any thing; that on which any thing stands, and by which it is supported... Christ is the foundation of the church."

We see in the Scriptures that both the Lord Jesus Christ (the Incarnate Word of God) and the Bible (the written Word of God) are to be the "foundation" of our lives.

Isaiah 28:16 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.

Luke 6:47-49 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.

1 Corinthians 3:9-15 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

Ephesians 2:19-22 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

2 Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

Does having the Word of God as the foundation of your life make a difference to you? It should!

7) Psalms 119:160 Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.

The Psalmist declared that God's Word is true - in fact, it is the source of truth and only objective standard by which we are to gauge everything in life by.

John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

Daniel even referred to God's Word as "the scripture of truth" (see Daniel 10:21).

God's Word is truth because God Himself is truth.

John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

John 3:33 He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Ephesians 4:21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:

Revelation 3:7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;

Revelation 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

Revelation 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

Charles Spurgeon made this intriguing statement: "Other men had the threads of truth; but Christ took the threads, and wove them into a glorious robe, put it on, and came forth clothed with every truth of God."

There is only one true God, revealed in the persons of the Trinity:

Jeremiah 10:10 But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.

John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

1 Thessalonians 1:9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;

1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

God's Word is true - and the truth of that Word (it is all true) will endure forever!

Psalms 100:5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Psalms 117:2 For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD.

God has promised that His truth would endure forever - by extension that also means God would keep His Word forever. Praise the Lord for His lovingkindness in giving us the truth! It is the foundation we are to build our lives upon and live by every day, until we are taken home to Heaven - to be forever with the Lord Jesus Christ, who is Truth.

Psalms 25:5 Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.

Psalms 43:3 O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.

Psalms 91:4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

Proverbs 23:23 Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.

John 8:31-32, 36 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free... If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Ephesians 1:12-13 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Timothy 3:15-16 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

Psalms 19:7-10 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

God's Word is true, righteous, and preserved - God's Word is forever! Do you value it? What are you doing with His Word now that He has entrusted you with it? Are you reading it, studying it, devouring it, rightly dividing it, living it?

2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

October 29th/09
Jerry Bouey

The primary seven verses in this study were saved as a Draft in Blogger on June 20/2007, so I must have originally thought of it as a potential study for mine and Kate Plourde's series on Numbers In The Bible, but I never did anything with it. I came across it again last night when I was trying to find another study. It was a blessing to work on it today.