To the Teaching and to the Testimony!

Categories: Preacher's Blog

I wrestled with the significance of life at an early age. I wanted to know what the purpose of life was. I had no definite perspective from which to assess things—which led to muddled thinking. I even attended a seance one evening in my teen years. It did not take long to learn that was a dead end.

Ancient Israel attended seances. They asked their questions of “mediums and necromancers,” and they were chastized for it. The Lord said to Isaiah,

And when they say to you, ‘Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,’ should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living? (Isaiah 8:19).

Isaiah’s response to their request was: “To the teaching and to the testimony!” (8:20). The ASV renders this line: “To the law and to the testimony!” Isaiah is saying go to God’s word!

Jesus encourages the same thing in the story He tells of the rich man and Lazarus (Lk 16:19-31). The rich man and Lazarus die. The rich man,in torment, asks Abraham, “I beg you, father, to send him [Lazarus] to my father’s house—for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.” Much like Isaiah’s response, Abraham says, “They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them” (Lk 16:29).

The Scriptures play a significant role in the life of a believer. They contain all things pertaining to life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3). They are inspired and profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness that we might be complete (2 Tim 3:16, 17). Much more can and should be said about them, but drawing from the incidents in Isaiah and Luke, when we are searching for reliable answers to questions about life, we should shun occultic sources and to God’s reliable word. Avoid the chirping and muttering of mediums and necromancers.

The Lord wrenched the kingdom away from Israel’s first king, and because Saul refused to do God’s things God’s way, the Lord no longer answered the king when inquiries were made. Because the Lord would no longer answer Saul and because Saul had banished all the mediums and necromancers from the kingdom, Saul disguised himself in order to approach the witch of Endor. How desparate Saul must have been to consult a witch for guidance?

We do not need to be desparate. We have ready access to God’s counsel. What we need is to avail ourselves to it on a daily basis. We should learn to delight in it.

Johnny Ramsey used to say that if there was one verse of the Bible he wished the whole world knew it would be Jeremiah 22:29:

O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord.

I hear echoes of Isaiah and of Abraham’s reactions in Jeremiah’s words.

Author: Chino Church of Christ

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