My husband sat on the Zoning Board of Appeals in the town where we used to live. People would come before the board to settle disputes over property lines or usage or appeal a ruling. The board had a thick book of zoning regulations which the members were to consult in order to make their decisions.
Sometimes people would appeal to all the work they had put into a structure that they had placed in a wrong area without checking the zoning regulations first. “It’s already there. It’s not hurting anyone. Can’t we just leave it?”
Sometimes the board sympathized with the plaintiff. Occasionally public sentiment swung heavily toward one side.
But the board members could only make their decisions based on the zoning regulations.
Why? Because they were Pharisaical hard-nosed rule-followers who only cared about regulations?
No. The regulations were there to insure the greatest efficiency and happiness of the people and businesses of the city. To allow a structure in a wrong place or a usage of land that went against the zoning ordinances would cause problems for other people down the line.
This need to go back to the book, to make every decision in accord with the zoning regulations already in place, reminded me of the Bible.
People don’t want to hear their choices are harmful, they are worshiping a false god, they’re going in the wrong direction.
Sometimes it’s easier to go with the flow. “If I take a stand on this issue, I’ll only stir up a hornet’s nest.” But we don’t do people any favors by hiding truth.
There are some issues where the Bible allows for differences (Romans 14). We don’t die on those hills. We pray and study God’s Word and make the best informed decision we can, and we allow others to do the same.
But where God draws the line in the sand, we need to draw the line also. We speak the truth in love, with kindness and compassion.
Satan still questions, attacks, and twists God’s Word today just as he did with Adam and Eve. He even masks his falsehood by seeming as an angel of light.
Our church is almost finished reading through the major and minor prophets in the Old Testament. Many of the prophets had to contend with false prophets who told the people what they wanted to hear. When Jeremiah warned that God was sending the Babylonians to take Judah into captivity, he was considered a traitor. Who wouldn’t rather listen to the prophets who said everything was going to be all right? But who would be better prepared to face what was coming—those who listened to Jeremiah or those who listened to false prophets?
The New Testament warns:
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry (2 Timothy 4:3-5).
Who do we listen to? Those who make everything pleasant, who never mention sin and repentance, who never take unpopular stands, who promise prosperity and blessing no matter what? Or the ones who tell the truth according to God’s Word, even when it’s hard, even when it’s painful, trusting that He is good and right and true and kind and will work everything out for good in the long run?
Do we go to the doctor who says everything is okay when we have an insidious cancer growing in us? Or the one who says, “We have to treat this thing aggressively or it’s going to kill you?”
Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). John said, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). The KJV says His commandments are not “grievous.”
But His Word is not just about rules.
Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors (Psalm 119:24).
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. (John 17:17)
Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life (Psalm 119:49-50).
The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple (Psalm 119:130).
Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ (Romans 10:17).
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire (2 Peter 1:3-4).
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither (Psalm 1:1-3).
What a treasure trove we have in God’s Word! We can echo the psalmist: “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!” (Psalm 139:17). How we need to consult His Word every day and build our lives around it.
(Sharing with Hearth and Home, Inspire Me Monday, Global Blogging, Senior Salon,
Purposeful Faith, InstaEncouragement, Recharge Wednesday,
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