No help at all
Updated: Oct 4, 2022
Photo by Brandon Lopez on Unsplash
"Let the man who would hear God speak read Holy Scriptures."
I love this simple proclamation of Martin Luther.
God still speaks to us today. He does so through His Word.
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob speaks to us.
The God of Moses, Aaron, and Miriam speaks to us.
The God of Joshua, Deborah, and Samuel speaks to us.
Luther reminds us of this in his usual direct and vivid way:
"I beg every devout Christian not to despise the simplicity of language and the stories found in the Old Testament. He should remember that, however, simple the Old Testament may seem, it contains the words, works, judgments and actions of God Himself. Indeed the simplicity makes fools of the wise and the clever, and allows the poor and simple to see the ways of God. Therefore submit your thoughts and feelings to the stories you read, and let yourself be carried like a child to God."
The God of Naomi, Ruth, and David speaks to us; He does so through His Word.
We need to hear, and heed, the whole counsel of God.
We can learn to live by faith, even when hope is almost lost, by meditating on Job and Ecclesiastes. The same goes for the prophets. The God of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel still speaks today. Not only is this so, the God of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego rules over the powers and principalities, working all things for the good of those who love Him.
We need to hear and heed the whole counsel of God for faithful living during times of trouble. The God of Nahum, Obadiah, and Habakkuk is in control of history, working all things for His appointed ends.
We need all of Scripture, for it is able to make us wise unto salvation.
We need all of Scripture so that we might hate what is evil and cling to what is good.
Take to heart what Luther had to say:
"Let us then consider it certain and firmly established that the soul can do without anything except the Word of God and that where the Word of God is missing there is no help at all for the soul. If it has the Word of God it is rich and lacks nothing since it is the Word of life, truth, light, peace, righteousness, salvation, joy, liberty, wisdom, power, grace, glory, and of every incalculable blessing."
"The rule is: listen and allow the Word to make the beginning, then the knowing [God] will nicely follow. If, however, you do not listen, you will never know anything. For it is decreed, God will not be seen, known, or comprehended except through His Word alone. Whatever therefore one undertakes for salvation apart from the Word is in vain. God will not respond to that. He will not have it. He will not tolerate any other way. Therefore, let His Book in which He speaks to you be commended to you. For He did not cause it to be written to no purpose. He did not want us to let it lie there in neglect, as if He were speaking with mice under the bench or with flies on the pulpit. We are to read it, to think and speak about it, and to study it, certain that He Himself, not an angel or a creature, is speaking with us in it."
It is not easy to live by faith. Therefore, let us keep in mind where faith comes from. Faith is created, and sustained, by hearing, reading, and meditating on the Word of God. For it is the Word of God, both Old and New, which reveals our desperate, and ongoing, need for a savior. It is that same Word of God, both Old and New, which also reveals and proclaims Jesus to be the Promised One, sent for our sakes and for our salvation.
Let Jerome's warning sink in: Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.
Faith must have something to hold on to. Faith clings to the Word of God, for it is the Word of Christ, from beginning to end.
Photo by Alabaster Co on Unsplash