There is a blessedness of joy and hope when we look to the Bible for comfort and consolation in our times of deepest need. It is in the scriptures where the Lord has given to mankind the answers to all the questions he is likely to ask, and ask he certainly does in times of deepest despair or sorrow.
But our grief will have only a temporary lift when we think to find answers apart from those given in truth, in the Book of books. When alternative answers to the most burdened questions are sought, our sorrow may be lifted temporarily but they can have no lasting comfort without a permanent answer.
For centuries Christians have found those answers met in the contents of the Bible, It is this volume of work given to man by his loving creator, that discerns all the thoughts and intents of the heart and brings utmost comfort to the weary soul. It is the Bible that answers truly the nature and the character of God; this knowledge has long blessed the child of God for they have come to know him in truth and know his purpose for them.
But much has changed in the last century, the Bible has been both added to a taken away from, both by the scholar who supplants it and the pastor who conceals it. This change has left even those called by his name in great perplexity, for they have turned to other sources that do not profit them. Sources in the guise of alternative books and philosophies, entertainments and music, religions of man, or even addictive substances such as drugs and amusements; these have come to bring temporary relief to lives misunderstood in the interpretation of their respective troubles.
Like the three friends of Job in the Bible, these become “miserable comforters” (Job 16:2) which ultimately do not profit the troubled heart, giving false answers that seem right, yet do not heal, but ultimately harm. This is where most Christians and the world are today, Christians have lost their first love, rather than the Bible they seek alternatives just like those not called by his name, little distinction is now found between those who do not know God and those who profess to know him. Where now will the world find comfort when those who have the truth on their book shelf neither read it nor believe it?
But consider if you will the words of just one Christian man not too long ago, as he speaks of only one short Psalm of the Bible, how even this small Psalm he speaks so fondly of for the benefit of the whole world, one short passage in a volume that contains so much more. This is Henry Ward Beecher’s introduction to an exposition of Psalm 23.
A PILGRIM OF GOD
A CHARACTERIZATION OF THE SHEPHERD’S PSALM
by Henry Ward Beecher
“THE TWENTY-THIRD PSALM is the nightingale of the psalms. It is small, of a homely feather, singing shyly out of obscurity; but, oh, it has filled the air of the whole world with melodious joy, greater than the heart can conceive! Blessed be the day on which that psalm was born!
“What would you say of a pilgrim commissioned of God to travel up and down the earth singing a strange melody which, when once heard, caused him to forget whatever sorrow he had? And so the singing angel goes on his way through all the lands, singing in the language of every nation, driving away trouble by the pulses of the air which his tongue moves with divine power. Behold just such an one! This pilgrim God has sent to speak in every language on the globe. It has charmed more griefs to rest than all the philosophy of the world. It has remanded to their dungeon more felon thoughts, more black doubts, more thieving sorrows, than there are sands on the seashore. It has comforted the noble host of the poor. It has sung courage to the army of the disappointed. It has poured balm and consolation into the hearts of the sick, of captives in dungeons, of widows in their pinching griefs, of orphans in their loneliness. Dying soldiers have died easier as it was read to them; ghastly hospitals have been illuminated; it has visited the prisoner and broken his chains, and, like Peter’s angel, led him in imagination, and sung him back to his home again. It has made the dying Christian slave freer than his master, and consoled those whom, dying, he left behind, mourning not so much that he was gone as because they were left behind and could not go too.
“Nor is its work done. It will go on singing to your children and my children, and to their children, through all the generations of time; nor will it fold its wings till the last pilgrim is safe, and time ended; and then it shall fly back to the bosom of God, when it is issued, and sound on, mingled with all those sounds of celestial joy which make heaven musical forever.”
Perhaps Christians may consider again the words of God for their comfort, seeing so many have been so greatly comforted by them in years gone by. Perhaps there may be a return to that Blessed word that the devil has tried to hide in obscurity. Certain it is however, that no lasting comfort will ever be found in the alternatives.
If one Psalm can be spoken of in such a way as this, what do we say of the entire volume?
“Search the scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me”
The words of Jesus Christ found in John 5:39.
Hope Baptist Church Sunbury