Jump Start # 1689
Psalms 19:11 “Moreover, by them Thy servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.”
This week we have been looking at the concept of warnings from the Bible. Our verse today reminds us that this is one of the purposes of God’s word. It warns “Thy servant.” The young preacher Timothy was told to preach the word. That included reproving and rebuking. Young preachers, like Timothy and Titus, were to “point these things out to the brethren.” Peter “reminded” his readers of truths that would help them on their journey with the Lord.
It’s hard for some folks to accept the idea that the Bible warns. They see the Bible as a green light to just about anything and everything. These same folks are surprised that the Bible doesn’t read like “Heaven’s Chicken Soup for the soul.” The Bible is not a daily devotional. The Bible isn’t quick tips for busy people. Such thinking waters down and dilutes the powerful message of God. All of the Bible needs to be read. All of the Bible needs to be understood. We all have our favorite sections of the Bible. It is easy to reduce the Bible to only our favorite parts, while ignoring the rest of it. Because Ezekiel is difficult does not mean that I can or should avoid it. It’s in the Bible. God wants me to read it and know it. The same goes for Revelation. The same goes for Leviticus and Numbers. Picking and choosing only certain books to read while never reading the others will not give me the full picture nor the complete understanding of God’s will.
God’s word warns us. That simple expression tells us several things:
First, it reveals that God loves and cares about you. He doesn’t want you to be harmed. He doesn’t delight in seeing you ruin yourself spiritually. He warns us so that we will be safe. God cares. How odd this is for some people to grasp. In their twisted thinking, they think that if God really cared, then He would step out of the way and allow us to do what we want. They hate rules and restrictions. A growing segment of the younger generation refers to themselves as spiritual but not religious. They love God but they do not want to be a part of organized religion and they definitely do not want to be defined by any doctrines. These free thinkers do not have room in their theology for warnings. If God didn’t care, He would sit back and watch us crash. The fact that He does care, moves Him to warn us about coming dangers.
Second, God’s warnings are declared, but it is up to us to do something about them. We see this with weather warnings. Sirens blowing loudly, the TV weatherman telling listeners to take cover, and some adventure seeker will go out in his backyard to film a passing tornado. Many of those folks get seriously injured by flying debris. God warns us. Do we pay attention? Do we do anything about it? Do we make adjustments? Or, do we go on our way believing that we can stand in the middle of a spiritual storm and be ok? Evil companions corrupt good morals—plainly stated to the Corinthians. The context tells us that those evil companions were fellow Christians who did not believe in the resurrection of Jesus. Do we continue to hang out with co-workers, family members and neighbors whose language, attitudes and behavior is offensive to Christ? Do we excuse it because, “it’s my cousin.” Does that matter? Do we continue to be influenced by weak Christians? God warns. Do we pay attention or not?
Third, as our passage states, when we listen and obey God’s word, there is great reward. The reward is not just Heaven, but now. The reward of a life well lived. The reward of pleasing the Lord. The best life is what God has shown us in His word. The reward of a great marriage. The reward of a family that loves and accepts each other. The reward of friendships among the people of God. The reward of having done things right and well. The reward of a safe life. There is great reward in worshipping God. There is great reward in walking through this world with confidence and hope. There is great reward in knowing that you will someday see the face of God.
Fourth, God knows us the best. He knows what we are likely to do. He knows what we need. He knows that these warnings are just the thing that will keep us safe and close to Him. We may not always understand why God says some things are off limits, but our trust in Him makes us realize that He knows what is best. He always does. God warns us ahead of time. He doesn’t make up rules as the game is being played. We know in advance what is right and what is wrong.
Warnings. They are a part of life. They are a part of our life with God. When we are warned by God, we can make the adjustments in our path that will keep us safe with Him.
Avoid…flee…beware…be alert…be warned! They’re all there in the Bible. Red lights flashing on the dashboard of life. Ignore them and it leads to trouble and misery. Make adjustments and life is good.