Devotion in Motion: Deciphering the Old Testament, part 2

34 ¶ Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.

35 “But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.   ~ Acts 10:34-25(NKJV)

 By Bro. John L. Cash

Well, I was called away by duties from writing my devotion last week, but this week I’m back to my series about the purpose (and dark stories ) of the Old Testament. (Click here if you missed Part 1 of this series.) I have to tell you, I’m feeling a little overwhelmed today at the prospect of it all. I feel like I could write a book about this matter (or maybe some sort of encyclopedia.)

But I don’t have time to write all that, and you don’t have time to read it. So I’m going to write a few small “pieces of the puzzle” during the next few weeks, and hopefully we can fit them together into part of the big picture as we go along.

First of all, let me begin by saying I believe that the Bible is God’s Holy Word and that it is perfect, authoritative, and without error in the original manuscripts. That’s kind of an old-fashioned idea. But I wholeheartedly believe in the complete truth and trustworthiness of the Bible.

Now, having made clear that I believe the Scriptures are true, here is an interesting thing. There are many times that the Bible accurately records the words that a person said, but the words that the person was saying were wrong. The Bible tells the truth of what the person said. But the words of the person are not true.

Perhaps the best way to explain this is with an illustration. In John 9:31 we read “We know that God does not hear the prayers of sinners….” Now to me, that’s a pretty sobering thought. Before I was saved, I prayed that God would give the gift of salvation. But if that verse is true, God did not hear me. And the truth is, I sin each and every day. If that verse is true, God is still not hearing my prayers because I am most certainly a sinner. And that verse is a part of the Bible.

who said itHowever, there’s something important to notice here. WHO is speaking (in John 9) about God not hearing the prayers of sinners? Well, it’s NOT God who is saying it.  It’s NOT Jesus who is saying it. It’s NOT any of the holy Apostles speaking this dreadful sentiment.

Those words were said by “the man born blind” who Jesus had just healed. He’s just a regular guy. He is NOT speaking under the direction of the Holy Spirit. And what that regular guy has said is utterly and completely wrong.

So, when you’re reading the Old Testament this week, ask this question: “In this passage, WHO is speaking; the Holy Spirit or man?” And as ever, man’s opinions don’t count for much. But we must always listen to and completely obey our Saviour and Lord.

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 29 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days has a desk-job at a public school, where he used to teach Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where this past week has been very pleasant and not nearly as hectic as the one before it.)  Their kids include Spencer (age 24), his wife Madeline (age 24), and Seth (age 20).