In our previous post, we have looked at four metaphors that describe the word of God.
Let us continue our next metaphor
The Word Of God Is A Measuring Line
“Then I raised my eyes and looked,
and behold, a man with a measuring
line in his hand. So I said, “Where are
And he said to me, “To measure
Jerusalem, to see what is its width
and what is its length.”- Zechariah (Zech 2:1-2)
Prophet Zechariah saw a vision of a man with a measuring line. He was instructed to measure Jerusalem, to check its width and its length. The measuring line is a standard for length. Today it can also refer to the standards we use to measure our words and our actions.
Throughout history, men had used different standards to measuring actions and words. Asian cultures would choose standards such as the words of Confucius and Buddha , while western cultures will use words from famous philosophers like Plate and Socrates as standards . Besides philosophy, there were also various religions and their all uses different standards of morality. We heard of many of these standards and sometimes we are unsure which is the best standard for measure.
Prophet Isaiah once posted a question to the people of Judah
“And when they say to you,
“Seek those who are mediums
and wizards, who whisper and
should not a people seek their God?
Should they seek the dead on behalf
of the living? To the law and to the
testimony! If they do not speak
according to this word, it is because
there is no light in them.” – Isaiah (IS 8:19-20)
Over here Isaiah said that instead of seeking the dead for the living, why not seek the Lord of life? But even if we are interested in Christianity, we know that there are thousands of denominations. But the words of Isaiah tells us that the standard use by God is one. It is the standard based on the words of the bible. For those who do not speak according to his word has no light in them.
Isaiah is not talking about the laws and standards of men, but the words and oracles of God. That is why Christians ought to use the word of God as our measuring line. The bible is the word of God and it is the standard we ought to use. If we have a doubt, a discussion or a dispute. Let us not base our points on perspective of men from our denomination . But rather we should examine it according to the words of God.
For we are not saved by the words of a pastor or a denomination, but we are saved by the Lord Jesus. The truth of the scriptures is not define by the church or any person of influence. Even though various denominations may offer different perspective and views regarding the truth. But their words is not the truth. For Truth is only found in the words of Jesus. For Jesus once told us
“I am the way, the truth and the life.”- Jesus (Jn 14:6)
“If you know these things, blessed
are you if you do them.” – Jesus (Jn 13:17)
“The words that I speak to you are spirit,
and they are life.”- Jesus (Jn 6:63)
This is why Christian ought to follow the words of Jesus as our standard. The word of Jesus was first taught by Jesus to his disciples, the disciples handed them to the church as the foundation. That is why every church must first be build upon the foundation of the truth taught by the apostles and the prophets with Christ as our the chief cornerstone.
That is why we need to read the bible to understand the words of God. For the teaching of Christ, the apostles and the prophets are all recorded in the bible. Today many in the world like to quote from renown preachers, theologians as well as linguist who understand ancient Hebrew and Greek. They follow them for their feel that their explanation are logical and they are experts in their field of knowledge.
As the result, these people influence the majority in their thoughts.But is truth defined by the majority? There are many truths held by the majority which cannot withstand the test of time. Over time, they are proven wrong. Can we use their words as our standard? What if their teaching goes against the truth written in the word of God?
Let us consider which truth can save us.
A Truth That Saves
Paul once told Timothy
“and that from childhood you have
known the Holy Scriptures, which
are able to make you wise for salvation
through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God,
and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof,
for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
that the man of God may be complete,
thoroughly equipped for every good
work. – Paul (2 Tim 3:15-17)
The scriptures are precious for it contains the word of God. It can save lives and help us gain the wisdom of salvation. When Paul mentioned scriptures at the point of time, he is specifically referring to the Old Testament. He used them to build up his faith which is in Christ Jesus. But today we believe that both the Old and The New Testament were given by God so that believers in the end time would have access to both the words of the prophet and the teaching of the apostles.
If we follow the teaching of the scriptures, it will make us wise for salvation. As Christians we definitely believed in Jesus but have we follow all the commands given by the Lord? If we choose to obey half of it can it save us?
Today we have many denomination each with different understanding of the scriptures. That is why we need to find out and ask ourselves, which of them are indeed the teaching of Jesus. If we were to read the bible we will find the truth. Anyone who abides by the word of Christ will not add and subtract from it. Those who follow the instruction of Jesus will only see one set of truth. They will follow the example of Christ whole heartedly.
They will choose to follow the baptism of Jesus, and follow the sacraments instructed by Jesus only. They will try their best to follow every instruction. For they know it is not right to add and subtract from the commands of God.
For in the great commission Jesus instructed his disciple
“teaching them to observe all things
that I have commanded you; and lo,
I am with you always, even to the end
of the age.” – Jesus (Matt 28:20)
The disciples follow everything commanded by Jesus, for they know that the words of Christ are living and filled with the power of God. We need to follow his words with the same attitude. If we follow the scriptures only, there will not be many versions of Christianity. For during the time of the apostles, there is only one church. Today we have seen and heard many denominations. These denomination came as the result of people using their wisdom to add and subtract from the word of God. There were people did so even when the apostles were alive. That is why they receive a rebuke from Paul.
“I marvel that you are turning away
so soon from Him who called you
in the grace of Christ, to a different
gospel, which is not another; but there
are some who trouble you and want to
pervert the gospel of Christ.” – Paul (Gal 1:6-7)
Paul reminded the church of Galatia that a gospel that is different cannot save the soul. That is why he warned them severely in the verses that follow
“But even if we, or an angel from heaven,
preach any other gospel to you than what
we have preached to you, let him be accursed.
As we have said before, so now I say again,
if anyone preaches any other gospel to you
than what you have received, let him be
accursed.” – Paul (Gal 1:8-9)
What Does It Mean To Stand By The Truth?
Every Christian have the responsibility to protect the pure gospel. We are not to add to it or subtract from it. Even Elder John who is a disciple of love, was strict about this. John wrote in the book of 2 John
“Whoever transgresses and does not
abide in the doctrine of Christ does
not have God. He who abides in the
doctrine of Christ has both the Father
and the Son.
If anyone comes to you and does not
bring this doctrine, do not receive him
into your house nor greet him;
for he who greets him shares in his
evil deeds. “ – John (2 Jn 9-11)
Those who fear God will abide by his word and not transgress it. Besides the words of Jesus there are no other truth. If one were to preach another gospel and go beyond the words of God. John told us not to receive them, for if we do we have a part in his sin.”
But applying this verse brings about a practical issue, for we all have friends and relatives who do not believe in God. From where I came from in Asia, we have Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu friends. They follow another religion and can we receive them?
John is not referring to our day to day interaction with people, for everyone is entitled the freedom of religion and we need to extend courteously to all men. If we see a man hurt, we should render our help even if he is a heretic. This is the basic duty of men, and we ought to help anyone who is in trouble. But if one attempts to lead us away from our belief, that is when we need to take our stand. In a similar fashion we should not take part in activities that promote his belief.
For example if someone ask for a donation for humanitarian reason. If it is used to reconstruct houses or construct hospitals and schools to benefit the community, we are obligated to help. But if he asking for donation to construct places of worship, then we have the right not to help.
Having a stand in faith require discernment, it does not stop us from interacting with people with other beliefs.
Measuring The Temple OF God
Once Prophet Ezekiel recorded in Ezekiel 40-43. There was a men given a measuring line to measure the temple of God. God wanted to know the dimensions of the temple.
“Now there was a wall all around
the outside of the temple. In the
man’s hand was a measuring rod
six cubits long, each being a cubit
and a handbreadth; and he measured
the width of the wall structure,
one rod; and the height, one rod.” Ezekiel (Eze 40:5)
This is because a temple build not according to the measure of God is not the temple of God. It is important that every church hold on tot he word of God. We need to use it as a measuring line to measure the temple. And that measure is the word of God.
Only by using the word of God can we have the wisdom to discern right and wrong. It will tell us if we have transgress the words of God. Knowing the word of God is not the sole duty of the preachers and ministers, every Christian must know the word of God.
In the book of Revelations, John was given a measuring line as well. This time he was not instructed to measure the temple only.
“Then I was given a reed like a
measuring rod. And the angel
stood, saying, “Rise and measure
the temple of God, the altar,
and those who worship there.” – John (Rev 11:1)
The vision of John and Ezekiel are similar, but their focus is different. Ezekiel is told to measure the temple, while John was told to measure the temple and the people. At the same time John must measure the people who are worshipping inside the temple and to leave the outer courts alone. For it is given to the gentiles, all the children of God must enter the temple.
How does our worship measure against the standard of God? It is not about how we kneel , sit or if we have raise out hands during singing. It is about whether our thoughts and actions are clean and holy. If we use one hand to sin and the other hand to pray, God will be displeased.
Even though no Christian is perfect, we need to have the attitude to change and follow what is good. Paul calls every believers a saint, that includes the members of the church in Corinth. He is not implying that they are perfect, but rather they are in the process to perfection.
God’s requirement for his children is simply “Be Holy For I am Holy” therefore Christians ought to put away our bad habits and repent. Then they will be ready in their new garments when Jesus comes to receive his bride. We know that the bride refers to the church, the church refer to the people. They must be prepared for his second coming. They need to put on the white linen, which is the righteous acts of the saints. They must follow the command of God and not to act according to their whims and fancy. IF they fit these requirements, they are regarded as righteous. For anyone who follow the acts of Jesus is considered a saint.
That is why Jesus once said.
“Not everyone who says to Me,
‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom
of heaven, but he who does the
will of My Father in heaven.” – Jesus (Matt 7:21)
Indeed the word of God is a measuring line, it is used to measure the church as well as everyone of us. God wanted to know if we match up to his standards. He is ever willing to help us, that is why we need the Holy Sprit to guide us and help us to follow the commands of God.
The Word Of God Us A Lamp To Our Feet, Light To Our Path
“Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.” – Psalmist (Ps 119:105)
The Psalmist called the word of God the lamp to his feet. Those who had camped before know how it feels like to be without light. It will be pitch black and that is why it is important to carry a torch while walking. Usually we would shine the torch near our feet, and it is important. This could prevent us from stepping onto ditch and hurting ourselves.
In the countryside there may dangerous animals such as snake on our path. That is why we need a light for our faith. By having it we would not fall into traps and get hurt. The book of proverbs also teaches us how to esteem the word of God in the same way.
“My son, let them not depart from your eyes—
Keep sound wisdom and discretion;
So they will be life to your soul
And grace to your neck.
Then you will walk safely in your way,
And your foot will not stumble.
When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
Yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet.
Do not be afraid of sudden terror,
Nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes;
For the Lord will be your confidence,
And will keep your foot from being caught.” (Prov 3:21-26)
We need to take heed of this wisdom and not allow it to depart from our eyes. For it will help us walk safely so that our foot will not stumble. We must not allow this light to depart from us. If we carry a bible and not read it, we are departing from the light. Eventually we will get fall down and get hurt. If we use it diligently, we will see dangers and avoid them. As the result we will not stumble and will not fall asleep in our spiritual journey.
Navigating The Minefield Called Life
Sometimes our walk to the kingdom of heaven is like travelling across a minefield. In order to survive, you would need a mine sweeper. Without a minesweeper, we may step on a mine which may maim or kill us. The same thing could be said about life, for some mistakes may affect us our entire life. If we do not hold on to God closely we may lose our salvation.
The bible tells us of many people who committed a mistake in their folly.
King Saul made a mistake by disobeying God and it cost him his throne. David committed adultery with Bathsheba when lust overcame him. They both stepped on a mine and its damage was great. A moment of folly can lead to a lifetime of regrets.
That is why we need to be vigilant and allow the light to shine in our path. Let our eyes not depart from the word of God. Let it be the light to guide us our entire life. The light of God is not just the spirit of God. It also refers to the word of God.
Joseph was living in a minefield when he was sold to Egypt as a slave. But how did he managed to survive the minefield? He is able to see the sin and wickedness around him. When he is approaching a mine he escaped by saying, "How can I do such great evil and sin against God “.
We often think that it is difficult to preserve ourselves in he grace of God. Some thinks that by being a hermit one could avoid sinning. But Joseph is a man just like us, he led a life in the world and he did not sin. That is because he allowed the word of God to shine into his life.
It is important for us to allow the word of God to be the light of our life.We must also allow it to shine on the dangers ahead of us. Let us not use it solely as a lamp to our feet. It must be the light of our path. Whenever we hear something suspicious, let us shine our light at it. If we see danger, let us not take that path.
Gods words is a light that shines ahead of us. It tell us what we ought to do and help us avoid traps that kills our faith.
The Example Of Abraham Old Servant
“And I said to my master, ‘Perhaps
the woman will not follow me.’
But he said to me, ‘The Lord, before
whom I walk, will send His angel
with you and prosper your way; and
you shall take a wife for my son from
my family and from my father’s house.
And this day I came to the well and said,
‘O Lord God of my master Abraham, if
You will now prosper the way in which I go, “ – Servant Of Abraham (Gen 24:39-40,42)
Abraham gave his old servant an important task. He wanted his servant to arrange and find a bride for his son Isaac. The servant was worried that he could not complete the task, for there are many problem that are in his mind. “What if the woman does not want to leave?” “How would I know if she is a good woman?”
The old servant was unsure about how could complete the task as he could see all these problem ahead. But Abraham his master said “The Lord whom I worship will go before you, you must rely on him.” Therefore the old servant followed his instruction and we know the outcome of the story. When he found Rebekah he said
“And I bowed my head and
worshiped the Lord, and
blessed the Lord God of
my master Abraham, who
had led me in the way of truth
to take the daughter of my
master’s brother for his son.” – Servant Of Abraham (Gen 24:48)
This is an example how God light a path or him.
Sometimes we do not know what will happen tomorrow, we do not know if it would be peaceful or not. It is natural for us to worry, for we know anything can happen. We do not know when disasters and misfortunes will strike. There are many things about tomorrow that we cannot understand.
But we know God hold tomorrow and his hand will guide us. We are sure of it because we read how God led the servant of Abraham to complete his task. We know that God will lead those who believe in him for he is a loving God. But are we willing to follow his guidance? Can we hold on to the hand of God?
King David tells us
“Good and upright is the Lord;
Therefore He teaches sinners in the way.
Who is the man that fears the Lord?
Him shall He teach in the way He chooses.
He himself shall dwell in prosperity,
And his descendants shall inherit the earth.
The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him,
And He will show them His covenant.” – David (Ps 25:8,12-14)
David tells us that our God is good and upright. He guides sinners in the way. Sometimes it is inevitable for us to commit mistake. But most importantly let us repent and return to the right path. For we have a good and righteous God who will lead us back to the way he chooses. Those who fear him will be taught by him.
“For this is God,
Our God forever and ever;
He will be our guide
Even to death” – Sons of Korah (Ps 48:14)
God is forever our God, he is our guide even to death. We have a living God, the God of Abraham , Isaac and Jacob. Even though they have died, but the Lord is still God. He is the God whom we can entrust our lives to. He will lead us everyday until we leave this world.
Let us continue to believe in him and let him guide us in our path. We may not know what happen tomorrow, but let us put our hands into the hands of God. For he will guide us always.