God gives his Word to us to instruct us and to fellowship with us. God speaks to us to show us how to live and to show us who he is. To both inform us and invite us into fellowship, yes relationship with him. Such is the Word of God. The God who speaks, by his very word, are his acts accomplished. Much could be said of “speech acts” and how God accomplishes by the speaking of his Word, but that must wait for other discussions. Packer does elaborate briefly on the creative aspect of God’s speech – that by his Word – God literally brought the universe, the earth, and all that is within it, into being. Packer goes on to describe in this chapter the many diverse ways God speaks to human beings, the crown of his created order:
- He gives them commands
- He gives them his testimonies
- He gives prohibitions
- He proscribes law
- He gives his very precious promises
Unique to the Word of our Lord, is that his word is an absolutely sure and true word. In his Word we find no falsehood. Oh how great it is to know that what God says is certain – that there is a sure footing for the troubled and world wobbled legs of man. God’s Words are the expression of a perfect mind, a perfect vantage point, and they describe the world, including my own soul, as it truly is. Packer ends this chapter with two very important insights. First, God’s commands are true (Psalm 119:151) and second, God’s promises are true. God’s commands We are made by God for certain purposes, and his commands proscribe to us how we function and function well. When we obey there are blessings for us – as we are functioning in the beauty of the way of God…when we wander and live by our own proclivities, we languish, lack peace, reap our own whirlwinds of sin and death. If only this thought would attend deep in my soul in every moment – but alas, like the old hymn:
Prone to wander, Lord I feel it Prone to leave the God I loveWhat to do but continue with that same song, yet as a plea…
Here’s my heart Lord, Take and Seal it Seal it for thy courts above.Packer closes with an appropriate mentioning of sexuality and a view that would involve “God’s Commands.” Nowadays some would maintain, in the name of humanism, that the “Puritan” morality of the Bible is inimical to the attainment of true human maturity, and that a little more license makes for richer living. Of this ideology we would only say that the proper name for it is not humanism but brutism. Sexual laxity does not make you more human, but less so; it brutalizes you and tears your soul to pieces. The same is true wherever any of God’s commandments are disregarded. We are only living true human lives so far as we are laboring to keep God’s commandments; no further.
JI Packer, Knowing God, Americanized Edition (Downers Grove: IL, Intervarsity Press, 1993) 114.God’s promises The chapter ends with a appropriately optimistic assessment of what God’s promises should mean in our lives. I will only quote a portion of Samuel Clark’s comments on promises – it sums up what I want to be true for my own life.
A fixed, constant attention to the promises, and a firm belief of them, would prevent solicitude and anxiety about the concerns of this life.So, it would, so it would… --------