"Holding Forth The Word Of Life"
By Lois J. Stucky (1928 - 2014)
What a privilege God has given us – to hold forth "the Word of Life!" What else could we possibly give our fellow man in this "crooked and perverse" world that would be of such great value? (Phil. 2:15-16). This is the Word of the great "King of all the earth!" (Psa. 47:7). This is the Word of the "high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy" (Isa. 57:15).
Before we can hold forth God’s Word in a worthy way, we must ourselves hold His Word in due reverence and honor. If we want God’s favor upon us, we will hearken to the "thus saith the Lord" in Isaiah 66:2 – "…to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My Word." How easy it is to take too lightly that with which we become more and more familiar.
On the other hand, those of us who are growing older, who are becoming more acutely aware of how fleeting life is, we who see that which we thought was steadfast beginning to shake and crumble and fall – how much more intently do we want to stay on the Word of God. It is eternal! "For ever, O Lord, Thy Word is settled in heaven" (Psa. 119:89). "The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the Word of our God shall stand for ever" (Isa. 40:8). "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My Words shall not pass away" (Matt. 24:35).
And more, "Thy Word is truth" (John 17:17). "Thy Word is very pure" (Psa. 119:140). "Thy Word is...a light unto [our] pathway" (Psa. 119:105). God’s Word is a "faithful Word" (Titus 1:9). It is a "Word of life" (Phil. 2:16). Truly it is to be highly honored and esteemed!
Holding Forth to Children
How good it is for children to come to know and to love the Bible stories! That alone will not get them into the kingdom of God – they must be born again by their own personal surrender to Christ. But God’s Word is as valuable to them spiritually as the food they eat at the table is to them physically. Faith in God and His Word is the greatest preparation we can give them for the life ahead of them and the greatest inheritance we can leave them when we depart.
Like some of you readers, more than once in my young years, I received an award for a year’s perfect attendance at Sunday school. It was because my parents were training their children in the way in which we should go. I grew to know and love many Bible stories. The New Testament earned by memorizing the Twenty-third Psalm and the "Lord’s Prayer" was one of my treasured possessions.
When I received Christ as my personal Savior at about age twelve, my mother encouraged me to read the Bible and pray each day. Our dear Christian father had recently died, but he would have encouraged that also had he been with us. Conscientiously I launched into reading the Bible nightly, beginning at the first chapter. It was hard going in places, but I more or less continued on that course. A little seed had been planted by rivers of water, and though long and slow in growing, under God’s gentle tending, in His time, there would be fruit. How blessed are we whose faith is so largely encouraged by grandparents and parents in whom it first dwelt!
You mothers, who nourish a new life in your body near your heart for months, and then at your breast for an added time, yours is a sacred privilege which even the father cannot enter into. And it may be he will be equally detached in developing the child spiritually when the time comes for that. Too often the father who is a willing partner in imparting physical life has little or no thought about the child’s spiritual life. God’s plan is that parents work together in this training, with the father taking the lead. But even though the father fails, might you, mother, keep faithful. God’s Word is a safe path for little feet, someone has written. And oh, how these precious little lambs need safe paths in this day of ravenous wolves!
Let the Word of God Dwell in You Richly
I must confess and am ashamed that with all the wonderful access God gives to His Word, I have fallen short in meditating, studying, and memorizing God’s Word. It is something I work at and heartily recommend to others.
Who of us has not found, though, that life’s difficult times have a way of taking us deeper into His Word? God so graciously sustains us by speaking personally to our hearts through His Word. Certain verses will be forever cherished because God leads us to them as a rock to stand on or a shelter to hide in when the waves might engulf us. Through His Word He assures us He is with us and will never leave nor forsake us. How that endears Him and His Word to us!
And might we all strive to return our love to the Lord by obedience to His Word. "Jesus…said…, If a man love Me, he will keep My Words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him" (John 14:23). What could be more precious than that!
Holding Forth the Word of God
"Unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required" (Luke 12:48). Great responsibility rests upon us to share this treasure of God’s Word with those who have not. Making an investment in giving God’s Word is an investment with eternal dividends! God has promised that His Word will not return to Him void (Isa. 55:11). It is not given in vain.
Christians, God has called us to "be blameless and harmless, the sons of God…in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom [we] shine as lights in the world; holding forth the Word of life" (Phil. 2:15-16). We are living in an hour when Satan and those cooperating with him, are zealous to snuff out the "Light of the world." They love darkness rather than light; in fact, they hate the light lest their evil deeds should be reproved (John 3:19-20). Our challenge is to hold it ever high and to hold it forth.