Saturday, January 16, 2016

God: The Silver-Tongued, Sterling-Hearted Shield

Proverbs 30:5-6 Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Do not add to His words Or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.[1]

There’s so much spiritual marrow for soul nourishment here! We can learn the following about God from Prov. 30:5-6 ...

1. God has spoken. God is a communicator. He is there and He is not silent. The silence of our a vast, unfathomed universe has disturbed not a few, but God, the Creator, has spoken!

2. God has made His word available! God is a revealer and a preserver of His word. He not only speaks somewhere, but He speaks here, on earth, to people. We need not go to Him to hear His words. He has come to us! The marvelous way in which He has preserved His word over 3.5 millennia testifies to His passion to be known.

3. God has spoken pure words. The word “pure” (tserufah) means “tested” or “refined”—as in the process of refining silver (Prov. 25:4)—so that all non-silver elements are removed and what is left is silver only.  God’s words are unspoiled by evil advice, unsoiled by unethical laws, unalloyed by falsehood. They are dross-free, blemish-free, stain-free.

4. God’s words cannot be improved. No addition enhances them. No deletion sharpens them (cf. Deut. 4:2; 12:32). God has spoken only pure words. They need no correction, upgrade, update, amelioration, enhancement, or refinement. There is no incoherence, no contradiction, no falsehood in God’s word.  As such, they are worthy of my complete confidence.

The fact that the one who adds to God’s word will be proved a liar shows that no truth can correct God’s word. If any attempted correction would prove untrue, then the original must be fault-free, inerrant, and wholly truth.[2]

5. God is pure in heart. The purity of God words testifies to the purity of His heart, for “out of the heart the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). Father, I rejoice that Your heart is pure gold, pure goodness, unalloyed by pettiness, deceit, or covered instability. I praise you for there is no lapse between your gold-heartedness and your words or actions as there often is with us.

6. God is a shield. He is an impenetrable, impregnable defense. This is a marvelous truth about God! Yet, without the next phrase, “to those who take refuge in Him,” it would be little comfort. Astounding truth—God allows men to take refuge in Him!

Holy Father, Your generosity, kindness, and compassion are evidenced by your making yourself available as a refuge. You shield those who take refuge in You—from violence (2 Sam. 22:3), from your wrath (Psa. 2:12), from the wicked (Psa. 137:40), from those who rise up against us (Psa. 17:7), from enemies (Psa. 25:20), from the strife of tongues and the conspiracies of men (Psa. 31:19), from condemnation (Psa. 34:20), from destruction (Psa. 57:1), and from the traps and snares of iniquitous men (Psa. 141:8). I can’t help but echo the psalmist: Hallelujah!

Why does the Holy Spirit inspire David and Agur to pair the purity of God’s word with His preservation of those who take refuge in Him?

Pure words are trustworthy words, words to stake your life upon, words worth enduring scorn and ridicule over. To trust God’s word is to trust God. To doubt God’s word is to doubt God. He will make no separation between Himself and His word (cf. 2 Sam. 12:9-10). To take refuge in someone will necessarily entail trusting their word. The point seems to be that the sterling character of God’s word marks Him as worthy of our complete dependence.

 “And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee” (Psa. 9:10). Holy, Righteous, and Heavenly Father, I trust you! I trust your word!


[1] Agur appears to be adapting the inspired King David’s Psalm 18:30 where he declares, “As for God, His way is blameless; The word of Yahweh is tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.” Proverbs 30:5 is almost a verbatim quote. The only difference is that Agur substituted ’Eloah, a poetic term for God, in place of Yahweh. Even here Agur may be following David’s lead, since the next verse in Psalm 18 uses the word ’Eloah (Psa. 18:31).
[2] For a well-done exploration of God’s motivation for inspiration and its powerful implications for how we receive and understand Scripture, see J. Michael Thigpen’s 2014 ETS paper, “’From the Mouth of God’: Inspiration and Inerrancy in Old Testament Perspective.” Caveat: This copy has my comments and highlighting still in it.

1 comment:

Judy said...

I have so much gratitude for the "living " Word of God !