114 You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word. 115 Depart from me, you evildoers, for I will keep the commandments of my God! (Psalm 119:114–115, NKJV)
The psalmist trusted in God to preserve and protect him. God’s word sustained and fortified his confident hope in the Lord’s care: “And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, for I have hoped in Your ordinances” (Psa. 119:43). The evildoers would find no place of penetration and plunder of this man’s heart and life, because he kept God’s commands. John the apostle said that God’s commands are not burdensome (1 Jno. 5:3). Indeed, by walking in God’s commands we have solid hope. God’s unfailing word assures the faithful of His refuge and protection against the enemies of righteousness. Be faithful to keep God’s commands, and set your hope fully upon God’s word. He will not fail you.
1 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:1–2, NKJV)
The grace of God in which we stand is also the grace in which we must “be strong” (Rom. 5:1-2). This necessarily implies it is possible not to be strong in grace – not because God’s grace is weakened, but by failing to live by faith according to the word of God. Indeed, we can even “fall from grace” by failing to follow God’s word (as some Christians of Galatia did, Gal. 5:4). In order to “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” we must faithfully hear, follow and teach “the word of His grace” which came to us from the apostles (Acts 20:32). Timothy had heard God’s word from Paul; now, he was to teach it to other faithful men (v. 2). We must continue this work of entrusting God’s word to others through by faithfully teaching it. To do so firmly establishes us in the grace of God. Without God’s word one cannot be strong in grace. Any claims to grace without truth is nothing more than an elusive illusion. But, when we abide in truth, His grace is deep and strong (Jno. 8:31-32).
I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth; I did not say to the seed of Jacob, ‘Seek Me in vain’; I, the Lord, speak righteousness, I declare things that are right. (Isaiah 45:19, NKJV)
God has revealed Himself openly and not in dark caves. Divine truth is not hidden. It is not ambiguous like the heathen oracles of the idolatrous nations round about ancient Israel. In our day, many believe truth is relative, entirely subject to individual feelings and preferences. No. Truth is not superstition elevated to dogma. Truth does not vacillate like a shifting shadow. It is God Himself who speaks truth. He declares what is right. The Bible, God’s word, is right. It is true. In His righteous word we seek for God and His will, and our search is not in vain. Where are you looking for God? You will find Him in His righteous word. “Let God be true but every man a liar” aptly emphasize that God’s word is always right (Rom. 3:4). Build your faith on the solid foundation of God’s word. It is right.
15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:15–18, NKJV)
Having just exhorted Christians to “walk as children of light”, the apostle states several necessary things: “walk circumspectly”, “redeem the time”, “understand what the will of the Lord is” and “be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:8-10, 15-18). These are commandments, not mere suggestions. Without obeying them one cannot walk as a child of light. The question arises, how does a person obey the command to be “filled with the Spirit”? How do you do that? The answer is revealed in Colossians 3:16 (which corresponds to Eph. 5:18-19): “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord”. To be “filled with the Spirit” means to let “the word of Christ dwell in you richly”. The Holy Spirit helps the Christian walk as a child of light by means of the Scriptures, the word of Christ He revealed and inspired. There is no relationship with the Spirit of God where the word of God is absent from your heart and life. Be filled with the Spirit of God by being filled with the word of God.
The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple. (Psalm 119:130, NKJV)
What is the first thing you do when you walk into a dark room? You turn on the lights. God’s word is described as giving light from the first moment it is encountered. Sin has caused much darkness in the world and in our lives. The light of God’s word shows the way out of sin’s darkness and into the light of life that is in Jesus (Jno. 1:4). The light He gives “shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (Jno. 1:5, ESV). By following the word of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, you will have the light of life (Jno. 8:12).
14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” (John 17:14–17, NKJV)
In prayer to His Father, Jesus said He had entrusted God’s word to the apostles as a shield and a sword against the world’s opposition. The “world” that hated Jesus and His apostles is the system or cosmos of evil, “the people constituting the world whose values, beliefs, and morals are in distinction and rebellion to God’s” (Bible Sense Lexicon, Logos Bible Software). The world continues to hate the followers of Jesus because we are not of this world. God’s word of truth exposes the world’s sin. Those who love sin instead of God will hate truth and those who follow it. The world remains under the sway of “evil one” (Satan, 1 Jno. 5:19). But, God’s truth has power to set us apart from the world. As so, we are of good cheer; Christ has overcome the world (John 16:33).
30 As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. 31 For who is God, except the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God? (Psalm 18:30-31)
God’s way is perfect, complete and sufficient for your salvation. His word is tested, tried and proven to be accurate. It is the perfect law of liberty into which you must look and then do (Jas. 1:23-25). The overriding reason that God’s way is perfect is because He is the only eternal, self-existing God. He alone is our strength and refuge – our rock against all adversity. The god of Islam is not such a god. The millions of gods of Hinduism are all impotent to save. The god of the Jehovah’s Witnesses is not Jehovah of the Bible. The god of Mormonism was once a man – not the eternal I AM. Only the God who reveals Himself in the Bible (and by His Son, Jesus, Jno. 1:18) is Lord; He alone can save you and protect you from sin and its eternal death. The gospel of His Son Jesus tells you how to be saved. Jesus is “the way, the truth and the life” and is the only way to the Father (Jno. 14:6). Trust God to save you and protect you by coming to Jesus and following Him – the perfect way to the Father.
And the Word became 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 1:14)
The marriage of grace and truth is complete in Jesus Christ; the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us. We need God’s grace and God’s truth; Jesus provides both (Jno. 1:17). God’s grace (unmerited, undeserved favor) offers salvation to every sinner through the cross of Jesus (Titus 2:11). The “word of the truth of the gospel” announces salvation that is obtained “by grace…through faith” (Col. 1:5; Eph. 2:8-9). Like David we cry out, “Do not withhold Your tender mercies from me, O Lord; Let Your lovingkindness and Your truth continually preserve me” (Psa. 40:11). God answered by sending His Son (the Word) to be the Savior of the world and to give us “grace and truth” (Jno. 1:17). Christians stand in the grace of God in Christ because they believe and obey His truth (Rom. 5:1-2). Grace and truth come together in Jesus. You need both to be saved. We all do. That’s why we need Jesus.
Now the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant hears.” (1 Samuel 3:10)
God no longer speaks to us directly like He did to the boy Samuel. But rest assured, God has spoken to us “by His Son” (Heb. 1:1-2). Young Samuel sets an example of readiness before God, both to listen to what He said and to be His servant. To be a servant of God you must listen to God’s word. You will need a humble, willing heart to listen to God’s word with an ear to obey Him. To be a servant of God means not only hearing what His word says, but also doing what He says. Jesus rebuked people who called His “Lord, Lord” while refusing to do the things He said (Lk. 6:46). Let us follow Samuel’s example and listen to God’s word by reading the Scriptures. And then, like Samuel, be God’s servant by doing what His word says (Matt. 7:21).
Let Your mercies come also to me, O LORD— Your salvation according to Your word. (Psalm 119:41)
God is rich in mercy to all who call upon Him (Eph. 2:4; Rom. 10:12). Yet, we must not miss this crucial point: His merciful salvation comes to us according to His word. We cannot expect God to have mercy and save us when we refuse His word. It is “the gospel of the grace of God”, “the word of His grace”, by which we obtain and retain God’s mercy that delivers us from sin and evil (Acts 20:24, 32). Instead of claiming God’s mercy while resisting God’s word, allow God’s mercies to come to you by yielding in faithful obedience to His word. Truly, God’s word is “the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation” (Eph. 1:13).