Today's Word of Encouragement
May 4, 2020
BE READY TO GIVE AN ANSWER
Tuesday, April 5, 2020
In the ‘Vau’ (V) section of Psalm 119 (vv. 41-48) the writer makes two requests:
May Your lovingkindness (chesed: goodness, kindness, mercy) also come to me, O Lord, Your salvation according to Your word; so that I will have an answer for him who reproaches me, for I trust in Your word (vv. 41-42), and
. . . do not take the word of truth utterly (ad: entirely, completely, forever) out of my mouth, for I wait for Your ordinances (v. 43).
The best answer that can be given to those who would criticize our faith in Jesus Christ, who would mock our Christian convictions, conduct, and conversations, is the truth of God’s Word. It was the defense Jesus gave when attacked by Satan (Matthew 4:4,7,10), it should be ours when we are put to the test. Albert Barnes wrote, “A man of little learning, except that which he has derived from the Bible, may often thus silence the cavils and reproaches of the learned sceptic; a man of simple-hearted, pure piety, with no weapon but the word of God, may often thus be better armed than if he had all the arguments of the schools at his command.”
King David teaches us to give an ‘answer’ (anah: response, give an account; reply) to those who reproach (charaph: to defy, despise, insult, taunt) us. The Apostle Peter wrote (1 Peter 3:15), . . . sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence. . . .” In both passages the tenor of the text is to calmly respond to those who are in ‘attack mode’. We should learn from David (who was a warrior and could fight at the drop of a hat) to respond to criticisms and accusations of those who stand opposed to our faith or our testimony with a calm and clear word from God. A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger (Proverbs 15:1).
Nothing is really accomplished by heated arguments. We’ve all experienced them and we know the results of them. Usually arguments become heated because we interject our opinions rather than stick to truth. It’s hard to argue truth. And, when someone wants to argue the truth, we should follow the counsel of The Gambler: “know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, know when to run.” We need to respond (not react) with the truth, hold to the truth, and walk away when the truth is not appreciated or accepted. Jesus told His disciples when He sent them out to witness (Matthew 10:14), Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet.
The psalmist tells us the extent to which our witness for Christ can reach (v. 46), I will also speak of Your testimonies before kings and shall not be ashamed. We may think that could never happen to us. Do you think the Apostle Paul ever thought that? It doesn’t matter if he did or didn’t – the Holy Spirit gave him the opportunity to tell governors, kings, and the Emperor of Rome about Jesus. He didn’t plan for it, but he was ready for it. Who knows whom the Holy Spirit will bring into our circle of influence that we might speak the truth of Jesus Christ? I don’t know that we should plan on speaking to the Governor or the President, but we should be ready for it should the Holy Spirit give us opportunity. In the meantime, let’s all be consistent in our witness to everyone who asks us the reason for the hope that resides within us.