Bible - handle with care

The recent image of the President of the United States holding aloft a Bible ...

Dave Gobbett | 19:33, 14 Jun 2020

[This content was first shared on 4th June as one of the 10:30am Daily Devotionals]

Holy ScripturesThe recent image of the President of the United States holding aloft a Bible outside St. John's Episcopal Church in Washington DC is likely to stay in the mind of many for a long time. Asked if that was his Bible, the President responded: "It's a Bible"

This photo opportunity with a Bible was presumably intended to convey the message that the President was affirming Bible principles. Yet, as we know, to create that photo opportunity, tear gas had been used to dispel a peaceful protest against the brutal treatment and death of George Floyd at the hands of the police. It seemed a very bizarre exercise.

I do ... want to remind us about the power of God's word.

I don't particularly want to comment on the spirituality of Donald Trump. Others are much better placed to do that. I do however want to remind us about the power of God's word. The Bible isn't something to simply hold up in front of a camera, to pose with and look impressive. The Bible is a book to be opened, read and examined. One Bible verse in particular reminds us of the incredible power of the Bible. It is in Jeremiah, chapter 23 verse 29:

"Is not my word like fire," declares the Lord, "and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?"

We may think we're just holding up a Bible to look impressive, when actually that Bible is a powerful and deadly weapon that can cut down and destroy, can build up and heal. It's like fire it brings down those who proudly set themselves up. It humbles the proud and lifts up the lowly. It speaks of God's truth and his concern for justice. It tells us that all human beings are made in His image and deserve to be treated with value, dignity and respect. That applies whether you're male or female, black or white, rich or poor, born or unborn.

we are all of equal value to God

In other words, we are all of equal value to God, and his word requires us to treat others with dignity and respect. That is why the Black Lives Matter movement resonates with so many of us. There is no place for the kind of oppression that has sadly faced Afro-Americans and indeed people of colour in the UK and around the world for generations.

So the challenge to us is to open the Bibles we have and allow God's word to do its work inside our heart. It's very easy to point the finger at others and the way they choose to use God's Word, What is more important is to recognise that however we may choose to use it or misuse it, God will have the last word. It is the Bible itself that tells us that he will bring down kings and rulers. Elsewhere in the scriptures we're told that the days of human beings are like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But the word of the Lord is enduring and unchanging.

God's Word urges us to receive the grace that he offers

God's Word will bring us to repentance. God's Word urges us to turn and to be changed by God's Spirit as he works in our lives. God's Word urges us to receive the grace that he offers us because of Jesus, the Word made flesh, who came to speak God's truth and grace to a broken and hurting world, a world in desperate need. Covid has damaged and destroyed lives. Economic doom and gloom is present and predicted. There is fighting on the streets. Injustice and oppression of people who are made in God's image is widespread.

God's Word offers a better way. It speaks of hope in our brokenness. It speaks of a future where one day every tribe and nation and tongue, irrespective of the colour of their skin will be around the throne of Jesus Christ, worshiping and praising him for his great work of salvation. That is God's Word to us today.

The Bible ... needs to be opened ... so that its power can work through our lives

The Bible isn't a prop to make us look good. It needs to be opened, read so that its power can work through our lives. It will change us, bring us to repentance and bring hope even in the most difficult and challenging situations we have to face in our lives.

Related content
Daily Devotional - 4th June

Document Actions