The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. – Isaiah 40:8 (NKJV)
When my parents bought a rustic one-room cabin that sat on wooden piers in the mountains of western Pennsylvania, Dad promised Mom he would modernize it. He made good on his promise, adding a bedroom, installing electricity, building kitchen cabinets, insulating the walls and ceiling, and laying a concrete block foundation—no small feat in swampy, poorly-drained soil (a.k.a. mud).
Indoor plumping was still on the to-do list when Dad died 13 years later. By then, my older brother and sister were married and living in other states, and I was about to graduate from college and accept my first real job. By the time Dean and I married and took over ownership of the place, the foundation had cracked and shifted. Freezing and thawing of the ground in winter caused it to expand and contract, moving the foundation up and down with it. The concrete block couldn’t take the stress and buckled.
When we rolled up our sleeves to repair the damage, we discovered that the first course of blocks didn’t even go below the frost line. Even I know the importance of building a structure on solid rock. The ground shifts, but the bedrock remains steady.
The same is true for our personal life. The constant heaving of events, big and small, can cause our foundation to buckle unless it’s built on something solid, unmovable. The same is true for our nation.
I was glad to see our President take his oath of office with his hand on not one, but two, Bibles—Bibles which had belonged to two American giants, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King. I prayed that the spirit and faith of these two great men would inspire and guide him as he leads our country for the next four years.
What is the significance when you rest your left hand on the Bible and take an oath? It means that you mean what you say, you aren’t lying, you’ll keep your promise, and you acknowledge that you are accountable to God—not a “Higher Power”—but God Almighty, El Shaddai, El Elyon (God Most High), Elohim, Yahweh, Adonai—the one and only God, the true God, with different names that refer to the various facets of His being. You’re acknowledging that the Book you are swearing on is His Word.
There are those who are working to dispose of this tradition, saying it’s outdated. Another group has published A Jefferson Bible for the Twenty-First Century, a mix of the work of Thomas Jefferson and the American Humanist Association. The “Jefferson Bible,” originally titled The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, includes only the moral teachings and non-miraculous doings of Jesus gleaned from the four Gospels. To this, the AHA added edited portions of the Book of Mormon, the Hebrew Bible, the Quran, the Buddhist Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita.*
While this may make interesting reading, it’s not the Bible, the one and only inspired Word of the one and only God. And God warns us of adding or taking away from—twisting—His Word (Revelation 22:18–19).
While there may be many translations, there is truly only one Bible, one Book we know is the Word of God, one Foundation, one Rock upon which we build our lives.
Don’t be fooled. Don’t build your life on the shifting sands of pick-and-choose human opinion. Build it on the unchanging, steadfast, Solid Rock!
Forever, O Lord, Your Word is settled in heaven. Your faithfulness endures to all generations. (Psalm 119:89) Alleluia! Amen.
Special-Tea: Read Matthew 7: 24–27
*Information from “Jefferson Bible Published” by Diane Markins (Presidential Prayer Team website, Morality in America, http://www-m2.presidentialprayerteam.com/morality-in-america/)