It is called by many names – law, testimony, precepts, commandment, rules or decrees. It is described as being perfect, sure, right, pure, true and righteous, desirable, sweet. It revives the soul, imparts wisdom, gives joy, enlightens, warns, rewards obedience. It is the composition of words that were literally exhaled by our Creator. It is Scripture. And it is beneficial to us, in its entirety:
“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 competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Every part of it – Old or New Testament, prophecy or history, narrative or dialogue – is profitable in some way. It instructs us in God’s character and ways, convicts us of sin, corrects us from going astray, trains us in the way of righteousness. It equips us for every circumstance and to do every good work possible, that our faith might be shown to the world around us.
And we ignore it, read it hastily, forget to remember it. We treat it as junk mail or a facebook news feed, scanning for anything that we think is relevant and neglecting the rest. We compartmentalize it, “doing devotions” just to check it off the list, then go through the rest of our day without it. We often are merely hearers, reading through chapters at a time, but never seeking fresh insight or application.
Yet God gave us the entire writings of Scripture as a love letter to His children. He wants us to pore over it, finding every nuance. He wants us to remember His words, think on them through the day, live like we believe what we’ve read. He wants us to learn from His children in the past, to follow the examples of righteous men and be warned by the examples of the disobedient. He wants us to understand His faithfulness through all generations, from the beginning of time until the end of the world. He wants us to know what He’s done in the past, before we were born, and what He will do in the future, when time ceases to exist. He wants us to know that those who follow His words will prosper in the end, that the wicked will receive their just punishment.
He wants us to know Him.
“The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul;
the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.”