Sunday, November 6, 2016

Why the Bible? (part 2)

(by Pastor Joe)
The Word for Today: 2 Chronicles 34 & 35
Today's passage is a favorite for every Bible lover because it bears witness of the Word to both endure and transform. Due to years of neglect and apostasy, the Word has been "lost" in the decaying Temple to the people of Judah. The previous kings and really the entire religious establishment have not helped the situation. But the Lord raises up a boy named Josiah and things start to change. The Temple is cleansed, the idols are removed, and the Law is found. We then see its power to rebuke, convict, and turn things around.
Back on October 17, we began a mini-series on the defense of the Bible. Rather than explaining the scriptures, these three blogs are dedicated to why we trust in the Bible to begin with. We wanted to answer such questions as: "What makes the Bible unique from other religious texts?" or "How can I defend the Bible from its many critics?" Today's blog is part two of this series- the finale comes tomorrow.
Have you ever had that one person in your life who absolutely drives you nuts? I am not talking about an enemy. I mean that person who may mean well, but for whatever reason, they leave you thoroughly exhausted every time you see/speak with them. They often have an amazing ability to zap your time and energy, yet have an equally amazing inability to understand their black-hole type effect on you. I believe the inventor of caller ID had this person in mind.
In the film "What About Bob?" Richard Dreyfus stars as Dr. Leo Marvin, a noted psychiatrist who is attempting to take a family vacation on Lake Winnipesaukee. It also stars Bill Murray as Bob Wiley, a patient with a host of mental issues, and an amazing capacity to drive Dr. Leo crazy. The entire movie consists in the comedy driven by Bob's relentless pursuit of the beleaguered Dr. Marvin. During one of the climatic scenes, Dr. Leo has finally managed to kick Bob out of his vacation house, to the protest of Leo's own family. Why did he kick Bob out, they ask. Dr. Marvin responds with a classic movie line:
"You think he's gone? He's not gone- that's the whole point. He's NEVER gone!"
Leo opens the door and, sure enough, there in the doorway stands Bob Wiley.
The Bible has a certain "What About Bob?" factor to it. It just won't go away.
Believe me, people have tried to get rid of it- whether by ridicule and derision, or by actually destroying it. We remember King Jehioakim, who thought he could get rid of Jeremiah's prophecy by burning some scrolls (1). Many others have followed in his footsteps: Antiochus Epiphanes tried to destroy all copies of the Jewish Scriptures. Emperor Diocletian ordered the destruction of the New Testament.
In more recent times, we've seen many mad tyrants such as Hitler, Stalin, Mao have attempted to alter or destroy outright the Bible. Skeptics and critics in history (e.g. Voltaire, Mark Twain, Marx, Freud & Darwin) and of today (e.g. Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris) have all spoken loudly, trying to convince everyone how horrible the Bible is. It is safe to say that no other book in all of history has been subjected to the same amount of criticism, scrutiny, derision, hatred, and attempts to discredit, ban, or rid the world of its existence.
But we have good news. You cannot kill the Word, because "The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the Word of our God stands forever." (2) The Word endures, the Word lasts, the Word, unlike ourselves or any of the people previously mentioned, does not change or sway or alter to any generation's convenience or opinion. Many have attempted to bury the Bible, but as Ravi Zacharias puts it "Throughout history the Word of God has remained firm; it rises up to outlive its pallbearers." (3)
What a marvelous proof we've been given in the Word of God. Even more, what an amazing privilege we are given in handling the Word. My prayer is that in our churches and homes and lives the Bible is never reduced to being "lost" in some dusty corner in storage. Use it, read it, apply it!!! And remember, when someone or something comes around to supposedly disprove or destroy the Word, remember that the Bible is more relentless than even Bob Wiley. "You think it's gone? It's not gone- that's the whole point. It's NEVER gone!"
(1) Jeremiah 36:27
(2) Isaiah 40:8
(3) Deliver Us from Evil, p. 190

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