Updated: Mar 24, 2022
Recipes. Who needs them? That pretty well sums up my sentiment when it comes to cooking. Recipes are good to consult, but only as a springboard for my brilliant enhancements. They are so hard to read anyway, especially when peering through the tomato sauce I’ve just spilled on the page. Furthermore, the authors were obviously expecting improvements. How else can we explain the glaring shortcomings? Recipes call for all-purpose flour, but any cook worth his salt knows that you should only use whole wheat flour. Ingredient lists always call for too much sugar and never enough butter and eggs. Why would you use pinto beans when the inspired substitution of beef and cheese is so obvious for Mexican casserole dishes? Etcetera!
By now, I’m sure you are aware that you are privileged to look inside the frenzied and creative mind of a world-class chef. My challenge, however, is convincing others of that obvious fact. Recalling when my children were young and in the home, how great a trial of confidence I endured as a master chef! When I was in the kitchen, suddenly going out to a restaurant swelled to majority opinion. Mercilessly, I was assaulted by complaints like:
“Dad! What did you put in this stuff?!”
“Mom is cooking tonight, isn’t she?!”
“Please, Dad, not ‘leftover salad’ again!”
Oh, the arduous and wearisome path of the trailblazer.
Now that you can understand my trials, I should move on. Improving cooking recipes is certainly open to the bold, but the recipe for true success and eternal life must not be tampered with. Far too often, we can approach the Bible the way I approach Betty Crocker—with a take-it-or-leave-it attitude, a superior attitude, a let-me-pass-judgment-on-this attitude.
The Holy Bible is an eternal gift and perfect recipe, originating from Heaven’s Throne. The Author of the Salvation’s recipe is absolutely perfect, and His Book is the exclusive dispenser of truth and light, containing the only formula for redemption. It is the gift from Heaven which the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul identified as the chief gift to earth through the chosen people (see Romans 3:2)! God’s will and all eternal realities and truths are the treasures revealed in its pages. The noble and wise prize it and search it out! When Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6), He was not stating an opinion! He was proclaiming an eternal reality with nothing less than everlasting consequences.
It is nothing short of tragic that fallen humankind, dangerously unprepared to meet the Lord, will recklessly judge the Bible.
Christ’s Church is God’s light on Earth, and our holy and high calling is to feed on God’s Word so “that [we] may know how [we] ought to behave [ourselves] in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). Because, we are the light of the world and the salt of the earth, we must shine and permeate! Anywhere our light does not shine will be dark, and any place our salt does not fall will rot! This calls us to the Word so that we can shine in the world, in the marketplace, in the halls of government, in the courtroom, in the home, in the prison, and in the Church!
Did you know that the longest chapter in the longest book of the Bible—Psalm 119—is a reading primer for children in the original Hebrew language? In eight verse blocks, starting with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the first word of every verse starts with that letter, and the passage moves systematically through all 22 Hebrew letters. Amazingly, this hallowed chapter, which is intended to teach children to read, has dedicated every verse to lauding the holy Scriptures. We are called to value every aspect of God’s Word and to live and propagate the wonder, power, and blessedness of this holy gift.
Psalm 119:1-8 (Aleph) is what could be called the opening praise section of the passage. But notice the question and answer in verse nine that sets the direction for the whole chapter: “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word.” The Psalmist makes clear here that if we want to live the upright life, cleansed from our past sins and set apart from the world, then we must give earnest and daily heed to God’s holy Word! Using descriptive terms for Holy Writ (law, testimonies, ways, precepts, statutes, commandments, righteous judgments, word, etc.), this passage extols God’s Word as the gift from His hand intended to lead us to His Heaven! We are even promised to have more wisdom than our enemies, our teachers, and even the ancients (verses 98-100) if we meditate upon and internalize His holy Word. It calls to mind the singular purpose of the forty-year sojourn in the wilderness. The Children of Israel were humbled that they might learn “that man does not live by bread only, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD does man live” (Deuteronomy 8:3).
It is the Bible that tells us of His salvation, and God’s Word is the holy gift which He uses to administer that redemption. It is the instrument of our salvation: “...Receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21); of our sanctification: “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17); and of our spiritual success: “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success” (Joshua 1:8).
So, my simple and urgent desire for God’s holy Church is that we will be people of one Book! May God help us to feed daily upon His Word so we can live above the world and be the light of the world! The Psalmist declared, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11). May that discipline truly be mirrored in us!
May you, by the perfect and powerful “recipe” of God, enjoy salvation and sanctification in Jesus Christ the Lord. “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen” (Jude 1:24-25).