Why are those blessed, who hear and obey the Word of God?
(Francis Bourdillon, “Short Sermons for Family Reading” 1881)
“Blessed rather are those who hear the Word of God and obey it.” Luke 11:28
The Word must be obeyed–as well as heard. We must not hear it carelessly. Nor must we be hearers only, forgetting it as soon as heard. We are to guard it and keep it–to treasure it in our hearts as a precious possession. We are to believe it and to follow it–then the full blessing will be ours.
Why are those blessed, who hear and obey the Word of God?
1. Because the Word of God tells us of the Savior, speaks pardon and peace, and opens to us God’s wondrous way of saving sinners. This can be said of no other book, and no other thing. The works of God in nature tell us much–but they do not tell us this. Many books of man are written on these subjects–but they are but man’s books after all.
2. They are blessed also, because the Word of God is a sure guide. It is a difficult path through the wilderness of this world. Many hindrances and perplexities meet us–and many different rules are offered for our guidance: fashion, custom, prudence, man’s opinion, etc. But the Word of God is the only sure guide. A simple, humble, earnest following of this guide–is the wisest, happiest, safest course! The poorest and most unlearned who through grace take this course–have more security for going right than the greatest and wisest who follow any other path. Therefore they are blessed who hear and keep the word of God–because they have a sure guide through life.
3. The word of God also comforts in trouble, and therefore they are blessed who hear it and keep it. This world has its sorrows as well as its difficulties–sorrows many and great; but the word of God has comfort for all of life’s sorrows. It is full of comfort. It has promises and declarations of God’s love. It contains examples of mourners whom He has comforted–and these in great number and variety. There is no kind of trouble for which some suitable comfort may not be found in the Bible. In time of deep sorrow–a comfort and consolation are found in the Word of God which are sought in vain in other books. It is the best of all books for those in trouble.
“Teach me what I do not see.” Job 34:32
I am now especially in the school of God. He has taken me aside to teach me. The whole world is a training place, and all of God’s dealings with His redeemed children are to teach and discipline them. But God is giving me more than general teaching now. He has taken me aside from the great school of the world, to speak to me alone–doubtless because I need this special teaching.
It is my earnest desire to learn of God. It is my great wish that this time of severe illness may not be sent to me in vain. Lord, give me a humble and teachable heart. Let no pride or hardness or carelessness of mine–come between me and Your teaching, nor hinder me from receiving the impressions of Your grace.
“Teach me what I do not see.” There is much that I do not see.
There is much in the Word of God that has, I am sure, a deeper and more spiritual meaning than I have yet attained to seeing.
I am not fully acquainted with my own heart.
I have but a faint and shallow knowledge of the riches of God’s grace in Christ Jesus.
I do not fully see His precise purpose in sending me this present illness. I know that it comes to me for good, and that He takes me aside to teach me–but I would know His gracious will more clearly and distinctly, so that I may learn the very lessons which He is teaching me, and receive the very blessing which He designs for me.
“Teach me what I do not see!” Lord, I turn to You as my teacher. I am blind and ignorant–but You know all. All that it would be for my soul’s good to see and know–graciously teach me. Open my heart to understand the Scriptures–may Your Spirit unfold Your Word to me.
Teach me to know myself–let me see myself, not in the light of self-esteem, or in that of the world’s opinion, but as I am in Your sight.
Reveal Christ to me more fully. Let me know more of His unsearchable riches. Cause my heart to be more deeply affected with His dying love, and teach me to clearly see the infinite value of His great atonement.
Whatever special fault You mean to correct by this chastisement–enlighten my conscience to see it.
Whatever in my way of life You would have me to change, as contrary to Your will–oh, show it to me now for Your mercy’s sake.
“Teach me.” I might read books, or I might ask man’s advice. I do not disregard either. But now, O my God, that You have taken me thus aside–now I turn to You as my teacher. Who teaches like You? Oh, teach me now–teach me by Your Spirit–teach me Yourself.
Teach me, as You alone can teach–in my heart. Let me not only understand Your holy will–but experience it and follow it. Let me not only have an insight into Your truth and Your dealings–but let me receive a deep and lasting experience of Your grace, and may my every thought be brought into subjection to You.
Teach me by whatever means You may see good to use. I do not ask so much that this time of trial may be shortened, and that Your chastening hand may be removed–as that I may receive all the blessings of such a time, and profit fully by Your chastening.
Lord, I would not choose–choose for me. Order all for me. Keep all in Your own gracious hand. Deal with me after Your own wisdom and love. Only “Teach me what I do not see”–yes, all that I ought to see and know for my soul’s health. By Your dealings, by Your Word, by Your Spirit–graciously teach me!
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You may want to read the whole of Francis Bourdillon’s helpful book, “Alone with God–Helps to Thought and Prayer, for the Use of the Sick“.
“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of His appearing and His kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth, and turn aside to myths.” 2 Timothy 4:1-4
That time has arrived! Church-goers today will not endure “sound doctrine.” Those . . .
who preach the total depravity of man,
who insist upon the imperative necessity of the new birth,
who set forth the inflexible righteousness and holiness of God, and
who warn against the eternal and conscious torment awaiting every rejecter of Christ,
find it almost impossible to obtain a hearing! Such preachers are regarded as puritanic pessimists, and are not wanted.
In these degenerate times, the masses demand that which will soothe them in their sins–and amuse them while they journey down the Broad Road which leads to eternal destruction! The multitude is affected with “itching ears” which crave novelty and that which will amuse them.
Not only are many of our Seminaries cesspools of spiritual corruption,
not only are hundreds of our pulpits now filled by traitors to the cause they profess to champion,
not only is every cardinal doctrine of the faith attacked and denied by the very ones paid to defend them–
but the evil effects of such teaching from our religious leaders have influenced multitudes of souls committed to their care.
The man in the pew, following the lead of his teachers, has lost faith in the Bible as a Divine revelation, and in consequence, no longer submits to its authority.
(Thomas Doolittle, “Love to Christ Necessary to Escape the Curse at His Coming!” 1693)
“If any man does not love the Lord Jesus Christ–let him be Anathema! (or accursed).” 1 Corinthians 16:22
To be Anathema is to be cursed really–sentenced to real pains and real torments. These will be . . .
and so universal–
that they shall wring out a confession from you: “Now I am accursed indeed!”
To lie in these flames which cannot be quenched, to burn in this fire in which I cannot be consumed–is such a curse, and so intolerable, that will make you curse the day in which you were born, and curse the time you ever lived in this world–because not better improved, to escape that curse you lie under in Hell.
You shall cry out and roar, “Woe is me–a poor miserable wretch! I am tormented in this place, and cannot have one drop of water to refresh and cool my parched tongue! Woe is me–a poor cursed scoundrel! I am in pain–in extremity of pain–and have no ease! Alas! I toss and tumble in this bed of flames, and cannot rest! If I wander from one side of Hell unto another–I cannot find one corner where I might have a little rest! Oh! cursed creature, that I did not love Christ! If I had loved Christ as much above the world, as I loved the world above Christ–then I might have been among the blessed saints, and not in the midst of such a cursed crew! Had I loved Christ so much more than sin, as I loved sin more than Christ–then I might have been a blessed one. But because I did not love Christ–I am now this cursed wretch! I am as cursed as cursed can be! I was told that, for lack of love to Christ–this would be my accursed state. And now, for lack of love to Jesus–it is my accursed state forever! I was told that if I do not love Christ–I would be Anathema! I did not love Christ–and now I am Anathema!”