Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Word of God for the People of God

One of the bits of trivia I learned today was that the English Bible has a bit more than 783,000 words in it.  More precisely the King James version has 783,137 words, but I think the first number mentioned is roughly representative of any English translation you may be fond of.

And the reason I sought this bit of trivia out was because of something I had read in Jeremiah.  In chapter 37 Jeremiah is imprisoned by King Zedekiah.  The king is going through a fairly tumultuous time and so he seeks Jeremiah out and in verse 17 asks him,

"Is there any word from the Lord?"

The same verse holds Jeremiah's reply,

""There is."  Then he said, "You shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon.""

This was not the message King Zedekiah was hoping to hear. 

The basic message of the entire book of Jeremiah to this point could be summed up as a warning for God's people to repent and turn back towards Him, or else some really bad things are going to happen to them.  And after repeatedly, and blatantly, ignoring this warning Zedekiah asks God's prophet if he has heard anything from God.  To put Jeremiah's answer into more modern words he could have said, "Yup.  Same old, same old."

I don't know how much of the Old Testament was completed at the time of Zedekiah's question but there had clearly been enough of it revealed to Zedekiah that, if he really listened to it, he could have easily understood what God desired of him and his people. 

Zedekiah had God's revealed word and was without excuse.  I believe that is also true for us today and even more so than it was for him, because in the Old and New Testaments we have the full and complete revelation of God.  We may not everything we want to know, but we have everything we need to know.[1]  783,000 words worth.  And every one of them is a good and precious word from God.  

It is the word of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God!

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

[1] See Articles 2,3,4,5 & 7 of the Belgic Confession:

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