The Need for God’s Word

Reading the Word

Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.(Proverbs 29:18, ESV)

Understanding and Applying the Word

We need our Bibles and we need preachers and teachers of God’s word to help us understand them. The first line of this proverb tells us why. Where there is no prophetic vision, or revelation from God, the people cast off restraint. Another way this last phrase could be translated is “the people run wild” or “the people go out of control.” The contrast to this are those who obey God’s law, which is his revealed word. They are blessed.

Our Bibles are God’s word to us. The prophetic vision that this proverb speaks of is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. Our Bibles tell us about who God is, what he has done, what he plans to do in the future, and what he wants from us. We need God’s word so we can rightly order our lives and please him. It is easy to see the consequences of how people live when they do not have access to Scripture or when they reject it. They quickly fall into great sin and moral confusion. However, for those who make it their goal to understand the Bible and live by its teachings, there is great blessing. The word of God gives life to all who live by it.

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All the Father Has Revealed

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Reading the Word

Luke 10:21–24 (ESV)

21 In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 22 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

23 Then turning to the disciples he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! 24 For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”

Parallel Text: Matthew 11:25-27

Understanding and Applying the Word

We read here that Jesus rejoices as he addresses the Father. The reason for his rejoicing is that the Father had revealed to the disciples, who Jesus refers to as “little children” (v. 21), the arrival of the kingdom and the reality of Satan’s fall (cf. Luke 10:17-18). The wise and understanding (i.e. the Jewish religious leaders) had not seen these things because they had rejected Jesus and the gospel. Therefore, these things were hidden from the religious leaders. The disciples were blessed to see the things that they witnessed. The Old Testament prophets had spoken of these things, but had not witnessed them. The disciples were alive at a unique time in the history of the world.

We too are blessed and live at a unique time in world history. We have the privilege of having God’s completed word readily available to us. Previous generations only had portions of the word and not everyone had easy access to it. Most of us have multiple Bibles in multiple translations in our own language and can read and study all that the Bible says concerning our Savior. We know the historical record and we know the gospel. We know the message of repentance and forgiveness and we know of the resurrection, which gives us hope for the future. Let us rejoice in all the Father has revealed to us!

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Lest We Forget

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Reading the Word

Psalm 78:1–8 (ESV)

1 Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth! 2 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, 3 things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. 4 We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. 5 He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, 6 that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, 7 so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; 8 and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God.

Understanding and Applying the Word

This long psalm begins with the call to “Give ear” or “Hear”. The picture is of a teacher who is teaching a group and is calling them to attention. The subject of the teaching is Israel’s history and it is valuable because God has revealed himself throughout that history. By learning from Israel’s past, the people can know God and avoid the mistakes of their ancestors.

The Bible is a book that teaches us about God by recording how he has acted and revealed himself throughout history. As believers, we study that history so we can know him, know what he has done, and know what he desires of us now. The Christian faith is grounded in history, with its central focus on the events of Jesus’ death and resurrection. It is our duty and to our benefit to learn that history and to teach it to the next generation so that his name might be glorified in us and that our children do not stray from him. How well do you know your history?

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