Recently I watched an episode of Larry King Live that featured a five-member panel made up of ministers who were there to give their thoughts on the subject of God and war. While I think it is completely appropriate for Christians to respond to the issues of war and peace in our times, I believe those responses must be rooted in something other than personal opinion or political preference. I was amazed as I listened to several from that panel express individual beliefs that had no basis whatsoever in the Bible.
In all of life, in fact, we must ask the question, How does the Word of God come to bear on this issue? I go to the Word of God when I face the imponderables and "unexplainables" that creep in from time to time. When there's war, when there's death, when there's tragedy, when there's cancer in a child, when there's an accident and we don't understand, where do we go? We go to God and to his Word.
According to 2 Timothy 3:16, the Bible is useful for "teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." God's Word not only restores our spiritual strength and sets our feet on the right path once more, but it also helps to keep us there, on the course marked out for maturity.
One of the best things I did as a young Christian was to begin to memorize Scripture. Not only did the practice help to keep me far from sin, but it also cleansed me from the sin I did happen to discover. I've been studying, pondering, and reflecting on God's Word for many decades now, and my hope is that I will always crave this marvelous Book of Life.
After all, it's the truth that transforms. It's the truth that alters attitudes. It's the truth that hijacks bad habits and evicts errant ways. It's the truth that introduces insight and brings grace and peace to life. It's the truth — about heaven and hell, life and death, right and wrong, joy and sorrow, wrongdoing and forgiveness — that gives meaning to our minutes and makes sense of the sum total of our days.
I remember reading one time that the great evangelist Billy Graham once struggled with the veracity of Scripture. Recalling those wobbly and wavering days, Graham said this:
When I accepted the Bible as the authoritative Word of God by faith I found immediately that it became a flame in my hand. That flame began to melt away unbelief in the hearts of many people and to move them to the side for Christ.
I found that I did not have to rely upon cleverness, or oratory, or psychological manipulation, apt illustrations or striking quotations from famous men. I began to rely more and more upon the Scripture itself and God blessed it….
I believe every person on the planet indeed is hungry to hear the Word of God. We long for our mouths to be controlled, for our hearts to become more compassionate, for our lives to somehow count. But we're not sure how to get there. We don't know where to turn.
But there God stands, ready to intervene, anxious to enhance our appreciation and comprehension of his inspired, inerrant Word, his Holy Scripture — the Bible...on which we can lean.
When was the last time a history book saved your marriage, healed your wounded spirit, encouraged your teenage child, corrected a sinful habit in your life, or gave you courage and hope in the face of disease, despair, or even death? Unlike any another known book, people who embrace and consume the Word of God will be changed.
Maybe you find yourself there today. Life feels rather uncertain, and you're not sure where to turn. Let me challenge you to open this book — God's Book. You never know what you might discover or what God will supernaturally reveal to you when you open the marvelous pages of his Word! The Bible is an inexhaustible storehouse of spiritual riches, wisdom, counsel, and truth. And it's yours to consume today.