|Bible Code Digest: May/June 2007 Continued
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The Seventh Benefit of Studying
the Bible: Peace and Assurance
In the first benefits article, we looked at the real purpose and value of Bible codes. The purpose of Bible codes is to serve as another witness to the authenticity of the Hebrew Bible as a text that was authored by God. Now if God is the author, then what He wrote must have great value and pertinence to everyone. So its content conveys usages that far exceed the value of receiving a few reliable predictions. Given that, we continue our review of the benefits of studying the Bible. In this article, we look at the benefit of having peace and assurance.
Loving God's Law
Great peace have they who love your law,
and nothing can make them stumble.
—Psalm 119:165 (NIV)
Loving God's law, delighting in His Word, meditating on Scripture and letting it instill in us its meaning, this brings great peace and assurance into our lives. As discussed in the earlier articles in this series: guidance, wisdom and insight, blessings, being strengthened, knowing our troubles have a good purpose, and being confident about our security are all available to us as we study God's Word and watch it transform our lives. Add to that peace and assurance. It is a profound list of promises that will be accomplished in our lives as we study God's Word.
While the words peace and assurance are not specifically used in the following passage, the meaning of those words is expressed clearly.
Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper. —Psalm 1:1-3 (NKJV)
Let's focus on the second and third verses. For the man or woman who delights in God's Word and meditates on it, we are told that person is like a tree planted by a source of unlimited water. They will bear fruit, not wither, and will prosper. As we delight in and meditate on God's Word, we are planted securely by the unlimited source of God's Holy Spirit. His Spirit will nourish and guide us, and that nourishment and guidance will have three results in our lives: 1. Good will come out of our lives, 2. We will not wither away or die spiritually, and 3. Whatever we put our hands to will prosper.
This may seem like an astonishing range of promises, but the focus is really on the power of God's Word and on His Holy Spirit. It is the Word and the Spirit working in us that brings about these amazing results. The time we spend reading the Word and meditating on it causes changes in our lives that lead to these results. Who does not want to be the man of Psalm 1 and have that kind of remarkably blessed life?
The Path of Obedience
In Proverbs, we are admonished to remember God's Law and keep His commands, so that we will have a long life, have peace, and find favor with God and man.
My son, do not forget my law,
But let your heart keep my commands;
For length of days and long life
And peace they will add to you.
Let not mercy and truth forsake you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart,
And so find favor and high esteem
In the sight of God and man. —Proverbs 3:1-4, (NKJV)
Peace results from gaining wisdom and understanding from God's Word, something more precious than monetary wealth.
Happy is the man who finds wisdom,
And the man who gains understanding;
For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver,
And her gain than fine gold.
She is more precious than rubies,
And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.
Length of days is in her right hand,
In her left hand riches and honor.
Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
And all her paths are peace. —Proverbs 3:13-17 (NKJV)
When our ways please God, when they are righteous and blameless, the result is peace and assurance. God will even make our enemies to be at peace with us.
The work of righteousness will be peace,
And the effect of righteousness,
quietness and assurance forever. —Isaiah 32:17 (NKJV)
Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright;
For the future of that man is peace. —Psalm 37:37 (NKJV)
When a man's ways please the LORD,
He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. —Proverbs 16:7 (NKJV)
As we are transformed by God's Word, we become very aware that God is our provision. He provides peace and safety, and He provides for our physical needs.
He makes peace in your borders,
And fills you with the finest wheat. —Psalm 147:14 (NKJV)
I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;
For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. —Psalm 4:8 (NKJV)
You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You. —Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV)
When reading and meditating on Scripture, it's often helpful to look at opposites. If we want to learn more about having peace, what does Scripture say about not having peace?
"There is no peace,"
Says my God, "for the wicked." —Isaiah 57:21 (NKJV)
But your iniquities have separated you from your God;
And your sins have hidden His face from you,
So that He will not hear . . .
The way of peace they have not known,
And there is no justice in their ways;
They have made themselves crooked paths;
Whoever takes that way shall not know peace. —Isaiah 59:2, 8 (NKJV)
In very plain language, we are told that our sins separate us from God and that we will not know peace if we take that path.
Earlier, we read about the blessed man in Psalm 1. Continuing in Psalm 1, we find the opposite:
The ungodly are not so,
But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
For the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the ungodly shall perish. —Psalm 1:4-6 (NKJV)
Living in an ungodly or unrighteous manner creates chaos, and in chaos, there is no peace. Quite a contrast to the peace and abundance of the blessed man, who has unlimited nourishment and will prosper and bear fruit.
If you ponder the remarkable promises of peace and assurance found in Scripture for those who love, study, and meditate on God's Word, and you contrast those with the crooked, destructive, chaotic path of the ungodly or unrighteous life, the choice is clear. We find our hope and future in God, who has only thoughts of peace toward us.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,
says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil,
to give you a future and a hope.
—Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)
Scripture quotations marked "NIV" are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked "NKJVTM" are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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