Theme: God’s Self-Revelation in the Bible
In this week’s lessons, we are shown an abundance of reasons for which to praise the LORD.
Scripture: Psalm 147:1-20
One reason why it has been best to handle Psalm 147 according to the stanzas of the New International Version and not according to the three parts preferred by many commentators is that verses 19 and 20 stand by themselves as a climax. Of all the many blessings for which the people of God should be thankful, the greatest is that God has established a personal relationship with his people by means of a verbalized and written communication.
Do you remember how Paul wrote about the advantages possessed by Israel in Romans? He made exactly the same point as these last verses of the psalm. “What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God” (Rom. 3:1, 2).
Can any of us experience anything in life of greater personal advantage to our souls than possession of the Scriptures? Of course not! Without them we are utterly confused. We are adrift on a sea of human speculation where all the great questions of life are concerned. Is there a God? If so, what is he like? Who are we? What are we here for? If there is a God, how can we come to know him? How is our sin to be dealt with? What way of life is best? Does what we do here matter? We can never find the answer to these questions by ourselves. It is only from the revelation of God in the Bible that we can have sure answers to any of these life and death questions.
Do you know what John Wesley, that great evangelist of the eighteenth century, wrote about the Bible? He wrote:
I am a creature of a day, passing through life as an arrow through the air. I am a spirit come from God and returning to God, just hovering over the great gulf ’till, a few moments hence, I am no more seen; I drop into an unchangeable eternity! I want to know one thing—the way to heaven, how to land safe on that happy shore. God himself has condescended to teach me the way. For this very end he came from heaven. He hath written it down in a book. O give me that book! At any price, give me the book of God! I have it: Here is knowledge enough for me. Let me be homo unius libri [a man of one book]. Here then I am, far from the busy ways of men. I sit down alone. Only God is here. In his presence I open, I read his book for this end, to find the way to heaven. Is there a doubt concerning the meaning of what I read? Does anything appear dark or intricate? I lift up my heart to the Father of Lights: “Lord, is it not thy word, ‘If any man lacks wisdom, let him ask of God’? Thou ‘givest liberally, and upbraidest not.’ Thou hast said, “If any be willing to do thy will, he shall know.’ I am willing to do, let me know thy will.”1
That should be the cry of your heart if you truly value the Bible and want to thank God for it. Only the Spirit of God working through that book will bring you to spiritual life and save your soul.
1John Wesley, The Works, vol. 5 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, n.d.), p. 3. From the authorized edition of 1872.
From the study, why is it suggested that it is best not to divide this psalm into merely three parts?
What is the greatest blessing for which the people of God should be thankful?
Reflection: Are you as thankful for the Bible as was John Wesley? How can Wesley’s comment encourage you in your view of the Bible?
Application: List reasons you know that Scripture is the means of God’s provision to us, and thank him for it.
Key Point: It is only from the revelation of God in the Bible that we can have sure answers to any of these life and death questions.
For Further Study: To learn more about God’s blessings toward his people, download and listen for free to Donald Barnhouse’s message, “God’s Power and Grace.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)