A while ago I wrote about the first verse of Psalm 119, where Torah is used for the word of God.
This second verse of Psalm 119 introduces a new Hebrew expression for the word of God: His ‘testimonies’. Testimony is evidence. A witness to an event may be called upon to ‘testify’ in court – to bear witness to the truth.
When we read our bibles, we’re reading ‘witness statements’ – the words of people who were there, who saw what happened and heard what was said. John begins his first letter with these words: ‘That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched – this we proclaim concerning the Word of life’.
In a court of law, the judge must weigh up the evidence and decide what’s true. I think one of the amazing things about the Bible is that all the archaeology consistently confirms the truth of what the witnesses have written. Of course, not everything has archaeological support, but there’s enough to make us sure that the Bible is ‘a reliable witness’.
And, because the testimony is reliable, it’s something that’s worth using as our guide for life. Actually, it’s indispensable. If we keep these testimonies, we will be blessed, but (and this is very important) we must also ‘seek Him with all our heart’.
People sometimes speak of the Bible as the ‘Maker’s instruction book’, and so it is. But when we seek God and find Him, we don’t just have the manual – we have the Maker Himself by our side.
I was helping my little grandson build a Lego truck. He’s too small to understand the instruction booklet. But when I showed him and guided his hand, he quickly got the idea. I may sometimes struggle with the Bible – but when I seek God with all my heart, He begins to instruct my heart. In Psalm 32:8 God says to David, ‘I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you’. It’s this, isn’t it, that brings the Bible alive. It’s as though God Himself is looking over my shoulder as I read it, explaining and applying it as I go.
Some Christians are ‘all Bible and not much relationship with God’; and others are ‘all relationship with God and not much Bible’. How we need both! It’s when we have both that His word – His testimonies – sink deep into our hearts.
Prayer: Father, thank You so much that the Bible is a totally reliable witness to Your truth. Today, as I think about Your word in the Scriptures, I commit myself to seek You with all my being and to trust You to speak Your truth deep into my heart. Amen.