–by Nico Bougas
Dr Billy Graham once said, “When the Bible goes down, anarchy and confusion will take its place. This will be followed by a condition that as the world has never known. This generation has to face the appalling fact that it is either back to the Bible or back to the jungle.”
No book has had so much impact on the world as the Bible. George Washington said, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”
Abraham Lincoln said, “This book is God’s greatest gift to mankind. All the good things we know about God are communicated to us through this book.”
Napoleon Bonaparte said, “This is no mere book but a living creature with a power to conquer all that would oppose it.”
The power of the Bible
People have died for this book, they have suffered torture, imprisonment, and martyrdom. They have been burnt at the stake, hung by the neck, fed to wild animals. Many have tried to destroy this book, they have banned it, burnt it, and forbidden its use – and still it lives!
It lives as a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. It lives as food for the hungry and water for the thirsty, as rest for the weary. It lives as light for the heathen, salvation for the sinner, and grace for the Christian. To know it is to love it. To love it is to accept it, and to accept it means life eternal.
Do you read, study, and meditate on the Word?
In Psalm 1 we have a remarkable picture of the man who reads, studies, and meditates upon the Word of God.
“He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth his fruit in his season. His leaf also shall not wither and whatever he does shall prosper.”
This chapter is the gateway to all 150 Psalms and starts off by giving the secret of a successful, satisfying, and happy life. “Blessed is the man” who doesn’t walk in the counsel of the ungodly or follow their advice and walk in the same direction; who doesn’t stand in the way of sinners, who doesn’t get wrapped up in the environment of sinners, who doesn’t soak in their attitudes and outlook; who doesn’t sit in the seat of the scornful, and who doesn’t mock or belittle or dishonour the things of God.
“But his delight is in the law of the Lord and in his law does he meditate day and night.” He reads it, studies it, and just soaks it in. And wonderful things happen to him. The Psalmist tells us about five results of reading, studying, and meditating on the Word of God.
1 ) He will have firm roots
“He shall be like a tree planted”. He will become firmly rooted by the rivers of water. He is stable and not given to every wind and wave of doctrine. He is not here one week and gone the next. He is not prone to backsliding.
When persecution comes, as it inevitably will, if he is truly living for God – he will be able to stand. When Peter wrote his first epistle to the various churches in Asia, they were in a state of bewilderment because of all the persecution that was taking place, so Peter wrote to encourage them and give them advice. Persecution is par for the course, we must expect it – so hang in there, and in the meantime strengthen yourself. How? “As new born babies desire the pure milk of the word that you may grow through it.” – 1 Peter 2:2.
On Paul’s final journey to Rome, there was an emotional scene at the beach at Miletus as the various elders and church members from Ephesus gathered to bid him farewell. They were all convinced that they would never see him again. There wasn’t a dry eye as they saw and heard Paul, their beloved friend and pastor, for what they believed to be the last time as he headed for Rome and what seemed certain execution. You can imagine them hanging on every word as he gave them his final words of advice and encouragement. “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up.” – Acts 20:28.
There was a period in history when the Bible was a forbidden book. When men were told it was a dangerous book for the unlearned and unschooled to read. Copies were chained to the pulpits and the common man was banned from reading it. That period is known in our history as the Dark Ages. It is the entrance of God’s Word that brings light and gives understanding to the simple.
2 ) He will be well fed
The man who reads, studies, and meditates upon the Word of God “is like a tree planted by the rivers of water.” It does not lack sustenance. It has this stream of water that it continually feeds upon. The Word of God is able to satisfy your every need. You can find help quickly in the Bible pages. It has promises for the perplexed, comfort for the cast-down, and warnings for the wandering.
In Matthew 4:4 we read, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” So feed on the Word of God and you will find like Jeremiah did when he said, “Your words were found and I ate and Your Word is become to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart because I am called by Your name.” – Jer 15:16.
3 ) He will be fruitful
This man will produce fruit in his season. He will produce the qualities necessary for a particular situation. He is able to display grace in adversity, and generosity in prosperity. He will produce the evidence that the Spirit of God dwells within Him.
But there is a further aspect to fruitfulness. Jesus said, “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you and ordained you that you should produce fruit” – John 15:16. We have a responsibility to produce fruit to win those who are lost in this day and age. As Greg Laurie said, “Jesus did not tell the whole world to go to church, but He told the church to go to the whole world.”
There are more people alive today than at any other time in history. There are more people to be reached with the Gospel than ever before. Never in human history have we had the capabilities and the mass communications, technology, and equipment to reach these people. Films, books, magazines, tracts, videos, TV, internet, social media – this is the day of opportunity like never before. And we have been chosen to live and serve in this day and age. What an opportunity what a privilege!
But if you and I are to be fruitful, if you and I are to be effective in communicating the Gospel to the masses, or even to individuals, we need to be men and women of the Book. Peter says, “Be ready to give every man and answer that asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” – 1 Peter 3:15. We have to put on the whole armour of God, and that includes the Sword of the Spirit (which is the Word of God). Read, study, and meditate upon the Word of God and in the crucial hour the Holy Spirit of God will teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance. (John 14:26)
4 ) He will remain fresh
Another thing about this tree is that its leaves will not wither. It remains fresh and vital, it does not fade with the seasons and with age. There are many Christians who launch into their Christian faith with a burning zeal and red hot enthusiasm, but somewhere along the line they grow discouraged, cold, and there is a lack of concern for spiritual things and for others.
The prophet Jeremiah was sent to preach up a storm to the wicked people of his day. And you know what the reaction was? ZERO. He may as well have been speaking to a stone wall. He preached his heart out, but there was simply no response. He grew discouraged and said to himself, “What’s the use I may as well give up. No one is listening. I’ll simply pack up and shut up.” But Jeremiah was a man full of the Word of the Lord and he found he couldn’t just switch off. He said, “His word was like a fire in my bones. I was weary with keeping it in. I couldn’t contain myself. I had to speak the word of the Lord.” – Jer 23:19.
If you want to be motivated to speak the Word of God, then read, study, and meditate on the Word of God. The Psalmist said, “Your Word has quickened me.” – Ps 119:50. When Peter and his fellow disciples were released from prison and brought before the local authorities and commanded not to speak the Word of God any longer Peter replied, “We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” – Acts 4:20.
5 ) He will flourish
“Whatsoever he does shall prosper.” Sometimes we are puzzled because it seems to be the wicked that prosper. The guys who pull all the dirty deals, they are the ones who enjoy life’s luxuries. David said, “I have seen the wicked spreading himself like a green bay tree” another Psalmist said, “Behold these are the ungodly that prosper in the world, and they increase in riches.” – Psalm 73:12.
The key word is “whatsoever”. The wicked only prosper in favourable circumstances, but the Christian prospers whatever his situation. Paul said, “I have learnt in whatsoever state I am therewith to be content.” So we see Paul and Silas in prison at midnight singing praises to God. And again, “As sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing and yet possessing all things.” – 2 Cor 6:10.
He does not depend on his circumstances, but on the unchanging and unchangeable God. Yes, the wicked may seem to prosper – but it is a temporary prosperity and when the wind changes his house will collapse like a pack of cards. As David said, “I have seen the wicked spreading himself out like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and lo, he was not; yea I sought him, but he could not be found.”
It is time to re-read the Bible!
The follower of the Bible may encounter hardships and trials, but ultimately we are going to prosper beyond our imagination.
When Joshua was called to fill the shoes of Moses, that great and revered leader of the Children of Israel, he must have done so with great fear and trepidation. But God gives him a commission and this advice, “This book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth (don’t stop talking about it) but you shall meditate upon it (think about it) day and night, that you may observe to do all that is written therein. then you shall make your way prosperous and then you shall have good success.” – Joshua 1:9.
Charles Spurgeon was once asked how he would defend the Bible. “Defend the Bible?” he said, ” I would as soon defend a lion. Let it alone it is well able to defend itself.” It is not a sickly child that has to be constantly pampered and protected. It is a roaring lion that is well able to defend itself. It doesn’t have to be rewritten, it needs to be re-read. It does not have to be defended, but practiced. It is a fire that burns up the chaff, a hammer that breaks the hardest rock in pieces, a sword that pierces into your inmost soul until you are no longer reading the Bible, but the Bible is reading you.
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