The Precious Worth of Keeping God’s Word (10-1-17)

The words my mother spoke to me before I departed, when I had to travel for a school event, still resonate very clearly upon my memory. She would speak to me in her gentle, yet firm voice, “Son, just don’t forget who you are. Wherever you go or whomever you are with, always remember who you are.” Like any mother, she knew all too well the powerful influence the friends a young man chooses to associate himself with can have. Yet, she was also convinced of the marvelous power Holy Scripture has in the mind of the same young man. It dawned upon me in my adult life that my mother’s advice sought to emulate the advice shared by the inspired king to his son. In his manual for gaining wisdom Solomon writes, “My son, do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commands; for length of days and long life and peace they will add to you” (Proverbs 3:1-2, emphasis mine). It is highly important for every disciple of Christ (young and old) to always have this Divine counsel steadfastly in his mind. This is especially true since today we live in a world where the value of knowing God becomes debased more and more by society. Undeniably, humanity does not want to know about God because “men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19b, emphasis mine). In this passage, the Master uses the metaphor of light and dark (often found in Holy Writ) as a means to explain to Nicodemus how to attain eternal life and avoid eternal damnation. Like in this lesson, the symbol of light is commonly used to represent the salvation found in God whereas dark symbolizes condemnation found in sin. Behold the importance of knowing God through His Scriptures! This is the same thought dwelling in the mind of Solomon as he urges his son to keep the commandments of God. God’s purpose in implementing the figures of light and dark can be better understood in their relation with our sight. To begin to decipher its meaning, let us think about the vast difference found between walking on a path brightly illuminated versus walking on a path engulfed by darkness. Needless to say there is a better chance of harming ourselves on the darkened path, since our eyes cannot see where our feet are stepping. The same is true for anyone who chooses to walk the road of life in spiritual blindness. For this reason, the inspired poet reasoned “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105, emphasis mine). In the previous verse of this scripture, David declares that “through Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way” (Psalm 119:104, emphasis mine). It is wise to note that the king learned how to identify “every false way.” Thus, the “false way” mentioned by him is exposed as a snare intended to destroy his soul. However, King David was successful in evading this danger because “through Your precepts I get understanding.” The king is verifying that it was the Word of God that opened his eyes to see the hidden threats found in those paths. David witnessed firsthand how the Divine commandments, that he kept, where the primary reason he avoided sin’s poison. One must acknowledge that what saved David from the “false way” was not simply knowing Jehovah God’s ordinances; rather it was the application of them. He was fully aware that the true worth of having the knowledge of God’s commandments would become manifest once they were put into practice. Knowledge without its proper application is synonymous to leaving a lit lantern at home and walking out to the forest at night without it. Doing so is a foolish misuse of the lantern. Hence, the king’s confirmation that God’s commandments were “a lamp to my feet.” Solomon echoes this teaching in the proverb previously quoted. In order to appropriately use the knowledge our Father grants us through His Word, we must keep His Word in our minds. This is unequivocally referring to the memorization of Holy Writ so that we will have our Guide on this journey through the spiritual wilderness. When we do not take heed to learning the Holy Spirit’s words, we dangerously venture into the desert unprepared and without direction. This insanity will lead man nowhere other than to his own death. The same is true for he who seeks to prepare himself for this long journey at the last minute due to his negligence. If the traveler wants to survive his arduous and lengthy expedition, logic dictates that his survival will heavily depend on the diligence of his preparation. Israel learned this priceless lesson on the eve of their exodus from Egypt. On the night that Jehovah struck Egypt with the death of all their firstborn, Moses instructed the Israelites regarding the Passover feast, “thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover” (Exodus 12:11, emphasis mine). The motive behind eating the Passover lamb in haste was so that they would be ready to immediately leave Egypt. Had the people of Israel not taken heed to Jehovah God’s commands, this would have undoubtedly ended tragically for them. The Father, in this example, displays the value of diligently obeying His commandments. The Master, too, exhorts His disciples to be diligent in our spiritual preparation. Christ warns “that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:43-44, emphasis mine). This peculiar illustration selected by the Master describes diligence by two opposing vantage points. He first speaks of the master of the house who will protect his home from any threat. If he is a good head of household, like David’s psalm, he understands how to identify danger and is prepared for when it arrives. However, notice the second example Jesus uses to describe diligence. The master of the house seeks to be ready for the thief that seeks to “break in” to his home. During the Savior’s time on earth, the method of “breaking in” was actually literal. The thief would dig a trench under one of the walls of the victim’s home so that he could enter under the cover of night, undetected and rob the unsuspecting master. So that he could do so victoriously, it required great diligence in planning and preparation. Wisely the Lord alerted His disciples against spiritual laziness, specifically because the devil is not negligent in plotting his wicked schemes. He exposes Satan’s craftiness of diligently seeking where to “dig” so that he may catch us sleeping and steal our most prized possession; our salvation. Therefore, the worth of David’s and Solomon’s plea for man to learn, keep, and practice God’s Word makes its presence felt. Letting Holy Writ slip from our minds, without question is leaving the door wide open to the greatest thief of all time.

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