5 Every word of God is pure;
He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.
6 Do not add to His words,
Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.
I have to admit something. Recently, a friend of mine forwarded one of those many email hoaxes, and I rather harshly rebuked him for sending it. It only took me a few seconds of research on the Internet to find the truth, and I did share a link with my friend to the place where I found the information. Still, I’m a bit embarassed at the tone of the email I sent. Once it was sent, there was no “un-sending” it. I do regret that.
People who actually start such email hoaxes – e.g. kidnappings, organ theft, “birther” tirades, etc. – count on one key thing: people won’t bother to check for the truth before passing them on. If something sounds “true” or carries a “signature” from someone who seems to be in a position of authority, then people just accept what is said as the truth and then they pass it on. It’s “viral marketing” in the worst sense of the phrase.
Unfortunately, many who call themselves “Christians” consume and repeat similar “truths” about the Bible and about Christ. The sad fact is that many individual Christians read thousands of pages in books ABOUT the Bible each year while scarcely reading any of the Bible itself. And although I haven’t seen a survey on it, I think you’ll find that the same people who eat up the latest bestsellers on living a better Christian life have NEVER read the Bible from cover to cover. The strange thing is, it seems like some of the authors of those top-selling books actually RELY on the fact that people don’t read their Bibles. After all, if an author wants to “cherry-pick” verses to back up his claims, it’s best for him if people never realize that he’s taking those verses out of context, and better yet if people don’t find something else in God’s Word to contradict his thesis.
As today’s verse reminds us, God’s Word is “pure” – in Hebrew, literally “refined” or “proven pure.” There is no need to add to it nor take away from it. Unfortunately, quite a few authors and pastors blithely cherry-pick verses and even ignore whole books of the Bible. At the same time that they preach the reality of Christ, they deny the existence of hell and Satan – about which Jesus Himself spoke quite regularly. At the same time they remind people that God is all-loving, they deny that He has any standards of behavior – and yet, once again, Jesus reminds us that even those who do good deeds will be sent to hell if they don’t love God first. (See all of the Gospel of Matthew.) And in perhaps the worst distortion, some claim that so long as we worship SOMETHING, then we’ll be alright, that “all paths lead to God” – and yet Jesus clearly stated that “No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6b)
Personally, I hate junk email, and I especially hate to see friends of mine taken in by lies and deception. I hate to see false accusations spread by rumors and urban myths. So I fight it with the truth, I use the tools I have in order to shed some light on the world.
If you’re like me and you cling to the truth of God’s promises, then I pray we all take the time to “test the spirits.” (1 John 4:1-6) Read the Bible! Yes, parts of it can be quite inscrutible at first, but there is not a word wasted in there, and you will better understand EACH part by reading ALL the parts. And as for those who add to God’s Word and rely on us not reading it, they will be found out and God will deal with them appropriately. (See Revelation 22:18-19.) Most importantly, don’t feed the fires of falsehood by believing everything you read and then passing it along. Read God’s Holy Bible and allow His voice to show you the pure truth.
Heavenly Father, I thank You again for Your holy Word, which You inspired over forty men to write down for us. Teach me Your truth, Lord God, and help me to be more discerning in all things. Let me now ask for wisdom without doubting, and help me to seek the truth in Your Word rather than in the words of men. Blessed be the name of Jesus, the very Word of God made flesh! Amen.