Dear reader, I want you to consider two short but weighty passages from the divine volume. You will find them in Psalm 119. The first is this: “For ever, O Jehovah, thy word is settled in the heavens” (v89).The second is this: “Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee” (v11).
These are appropriate sentences for the present moment. They set forth the true place for the Word, namely, “settled in heaven” and “hidden in the heart”. Nor is this all; they also link the heart on to the very throne of God by means of His own Word, thus giving to the Christian all the stability and all the moral security which the divine Word is capable of imparting.
I do not forget that in order to enter into the power and value of these words there must be faith worked in the soul by the power of the Holy Spirit. However, my present subject is not faith, nor the precious work of the Spirit of God, but simply the Word of God in its eternal stability and its holy authority. I judge it an unspeakable mercy and privilege - in the midst of all the strife and confusion, the discussion and the controversy, the conflicting opinions and dogmas of men, the ever shifting sands of human thought and feeling - to have something settled. It is a relief to the heart that has, it may be, been tossed about for many a long year on the troubled sea of human opinion, to find that there is after all something on which one may lean with all the calm confidence of faith, and find therein divine and eternal stability.
What a mercy, in the face of the unrest and uncertainty of the present moment, to be able to say “I have got something settled - settled forever - settled in heaven”! What effect can the bold and audacious reasoning of infidelity, or the sickly utterances of superstition have upon the soul that can say “My soul is linked to the throne of God by means of that Word which is settled forever in heaven”? None whatever. Infidelity and superstition - the two great agents of the enemy in the day in which we live - can only have an effect upon those who really have nothing settled, nothing fixed, no link with the throne and the heart of God. The wavering and the undecided - those who halt between two opinions, who are looking this way and that way, who have no anchorage - these are the ones in imminent danger of falling under the power of infidelity and superstition.
Ponder these things. The present moment is one of deep and awful solemnity. The arch–enemy is putting forth every effort to sap the very foundations of Christianity. In all directions the divine authority and all-sufficiency of Holy Scripture is being called into question. Truth is now at a discount, even amongst those who ought to be its guardians. Alas! men who are professed infidels themselves may become pastors and teachers in that which calls itself the Church of God! In the face of all this, how precious, how weighty are the words “For ever, O Jehovah, thy word is settled in the heavens”! Nothing can touch this. It is above and beyond the reach of all the powers of earth and hell, demons and men. “The word of our God abideth forever” (Is. 40: 8). The Lord be praised for the sweet and solid consolation of this.
Yet let us not forget the counterpart: “Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Here lies the great moral safeguard for the soul in this dark and evil day. To have God’s Word hidden in the heart is the divine secret of being preserved from all the snares of the enemy, and from all the evil influences which are at work around us. Satan and his agents can do absolutely nothing with a soul that reverently clings to Scripture. The man who has learnt, in the school of Christ, the force and meaning of that one commanding sentence “It is written” (see Matt. 4: 4) is proof against all the fiery darts of that wicked one.
Dear reader, let me earnestly entreat you to ponder these things. Let me remind you that the one grand point for the people of God, now and at all times, is obedience. It is not a question of power, or of gift, or of external show, or of numbers. It is simply a question of obedience. “Behold, obedience is better than sacrifice” (see 1 Sam. 15: 22). To obey what? The Church? No, the Church is a hopeless ruin, and cannot therefore be an authority. Obey what? The Word of the Lord. What a rest for the heart! What authority for the path! What stability for our walk down here! There is nothing like it. Thanks be to God for that marvellous Word!