What can you do to counteract the frequently negative public image of the Bible?
Loving Lord, on this Your day, I draw aside from the quickened pace of my everyday life, to celebrate Your Holy Name.
Consider: “Precisely because the Bible is not ‘the latest thing’ or ‘what’s trending,’ it gives us the essential perspective” (Howard Snyder).
How inured are we to our society’s attitude to God? When a TV presenter, in an attempt to discredit the Bible’s message, gets in an implied dig making it appear ridiculous (e.g., falsely interpreting it in the light of science), do we shrug our shoulders, or are we truly grieved? For the psalmist, God’s Word is “wonderful” (129). It’s cool, as we would say today. Terrific! Wonderful! Fantastic! Why? The “unfolding” of God’s Word brings light (130), comprising mercy (132), guidance (133) and rescue (134), all of which are so precious that the psalmist is deeply upset when God’s Word is disobeyed (136,139).
God and his Word are “righteous” (137,138,144). In the Old Testament, righteousness denotes the fulfilling of the demands of a relationship. So, in covenant relationship with the believer, God is always what he ought to be, true to his promises; and the life given by his Word is life as it ought to be (144). The psalmist is strengthened by his conviction of this, having thoroughly tested it in his own experience (140). Indeed, a meaningful life is deeply intertwined with a growing understanding of and obedience to God’s ways.
Such an understanding also results in serious prayer (145-149), knowing that, although circumstances can be threatening (the threat is “near”), God is also “near” (150-151). ”The threat is not glossed over; it is put into perspective by a bigger fact” (Derek Kidner, 1913-2008). Armed with such confidence we can face the taunts of society, even as we rightly grieve when God’s Word is ignored, made fun of or flouted. Whether such taunts come through the television or are more personally directed at us (e.g., a comment from a colleague at work), we can stand firm, knowing that God and his Word “are fully trustworthy” (138)--and wonderful!
Apply: Is there anything you could do to counteract the frequently negative public image of the Bible?
Lord, my prayer is to echo the words of the psalmist, “Make Your face shine upon Your servant and teach me Your decrees” (135).