By Leow Yew Chong
The Bible is a book that was written by many authors over a period of 1,800 years. It tells of the creation, the life of Abraham and his descendants, their life journey and progress in Israel, the life of Jesus along with His parables and story, among others. From all these accounts, we learn how we should navigate the perils of life and enjoy the blessings as God gives us. In reading them, we are reminded to rightly divide and apply the Word while meditating on it attentively.
Moses in his final address to the children of Israel, reminded them in Deut 6:6-9 and again in Deut 11:18-20: 6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
In essence, the Lord’s words were to be their constant guide as it was also to be for their children and the children after them. Please note that Moses reminded them not only to talk about it but also to write it down!! This same instruction to write is the same for those would be kings (Deut 17:18).
In the New Testament, the Bereans were commended for their zeal in searching the scriptures (Acts 17:11), and the church at Colossae was told to read the epistle from Laodicea and vice versa. These tell us that the scriptures can be twisted and the importance of reading for ourselves to verify things said in our hearing.
“A lie when told often enough will become the truth.” The world in general accepts wholesale whatever is laid before it especially by a person in authority, hence the proliferation of fake news and half-truth news. It then falls on the listener or reader to discern whatever is told. We think that this is something new and a modern invention from the 20th century, masterfully crafted by the propaganda ministers of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Militarist Japan or Stalinist Russia. However, the first recorded instance was nearly 3,000 years ago.
Jeroboam after being crowned king over the 10 northern tribes of Israel, began to think of ways to consolidate his new kingdom. He came up with a disingenuous idea that placates the need of a hard journey and the commonality of a people priesthood. Thus was born the idolatrous worship of the golden calves as written in 1 Kings 12:25-33. The northern kingdom never returned to the true worship of Jehovah God. The Bible records that all the kings of Israel thereafter “did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam, who had made Israel sin.” The lie which Jeroboam propagated to the people of Israel caused the total destruction of northern Israel.
Christians are warned that they too can fall into the same trap as Jeroboam’s Israelites. Read Paul’s warning in 1 Tim 4:1-3, 2 Tim 4:3-4; Peter’s in 2Pet 2:1-3; Jude’s in Jude 1:16; and the Lord’s warning to the churches of Pergamos and Thyatira in Rev 2:14-15, 20. How then can a Christian remain steadfast in his walk with God? Paul in writing to young Timothy laid down the four principles for which Timothy was to keep in mind to stay the course in 2 Tim 3:14 “But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them.”
First, “to continue in.” Meaning don’t let our eyes and focus stray. Peter began to sink during his walk to Jesus when his eyes strayed (Matt 14:30). Demas gave up and returned to the world (2 Tim 4:10). Stay the course, continue looking unto Jesus.
Second, “the things learned.” We need to remember and refresh our memories on things learned. Too often we forget or get tired with the same old same thing. The church in Ephesus was reprimanded because they forgot their first love (Rev 2:4). For those who seek new things, the same old same old is the only path to God and heaven!!
Third, “been assured of.” How often we need assurance that God is always there for us, and our brethren to encourage us when our knees tremble. A constant assurance is necessary and needful, hence the need to gather together as often as possible (Heb 10:25).
Finally, “knowing from whom you have learned them”. I’m always thankful for the faith of those brethren who taught me the faith, and for not giving up on me when I strayed onto the hedges. Their lives will always be part of the great cloud of witnesses. And similarly for the rest of us, our lives bear a testimony for Jesus Christ, and will be an example to those who need to learn from us. We walk in the shadow of Jesus.
Therefore we must remember to read the bible, God’s word. Meditate on it, letting God speak to us. Put it into practice. Share with others the gems and insights that we find. Never twist the scriptures to fit our ideas or wants. Let me end this article by relating a story that I heard illustrating the danger of not fully knowing the Bible.
This is a story of a young man who wanted to enter the ministry, and was going to be interviewed to see whether he’s qualified for the ministry. The interviewer looked at him and said this, “Well Sam, will you tell me the parable of the good Samaritan?” “Yes sir, I will, sir”, the young man answered.
Once there was this man travelling from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among the thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choke him. As he went on his way, he didn’t have any money. Then he met the queen of Sheba, and she gave him a thousand talents of gold and a hundred changes of raiment. And he got into a chariot and drove furiously. And when he was driving under the big juniper tree, his hair got caught on the limb of that tree and he hung there for many days and many nights and the ravens brought him food to eat and water to drink. And he ate five thousand loaves of bread and two fishes.
One night when he was hanging there asleep, his wife Delilah came along and cut off his hair. And he dropped and fell on stony ground, but he got up and went on his way but it began to rain and it rained forty days and forty nights. And he hid himself in a cave and lived on locusts and some wild honey.
Then he went on till he met a servant who said, “Come and take supper in my house” but he made an excuse, “No I won’t. I married a wife and can’t go”. And the servant went out into the highway and hedges and compel them to come in.
After supper he went on and come on down to Jericho. When he got there, he looked up and saw that old queen Jezebel sitting way up high in a window. And she laughed at him and then he said, “Throw her down from up there” and they threw her down. And he said throw her down again, and they threw her down seventy times seven. And of the fragments that remained, they picked up twelve baskets full beside women and children. And they said blessed are “piece-makers”. Now whose wife do you think she will be on the judgment day?