A Landscape of Life
Jesus said, ‘Truly I say to you that the one who hears my word and who believes the one who sent me has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.’ John 5.24
In the last edition of the Breda Messenger I began to write about how much I appreciate God’s Word, the Bible. We discussed how it was a Library – a collection of 66 inspired books in which God is speaking to his world. Continuing our series and following on from the concept of Library we can also describe the Bible as a Landscape – a landscape of life. God’s Word is not only a message from Him, it is about people. It is a God-book and a people-book. It has a lot to say about life.
In the Bible you meet all sorts of people – some of them extremely fascinating. As we read their stories we can learn a great deal about the right way to live – and often the many wrong ways to live. We learn from the pitfalls they experience. We also learn from triumphs in God which many of them experience.
So, the Bible is not really about abstract formulas. It is not like a theology textbook for undergraduates. Yes, it is God’s teaching and preaching, but primarily it is a people-book. It is about people to whom God spoke, who either did or did not respond, who obeyed or did not obey. We have stories of people who found eternal life, who missed life, who spiritually triumphed, who experienced spiritual disaster. All the way through it is people, people, people.
In the Bible there is a whole section called Wisdom Literature. It too is about humanity and how we should go about the business of living. There is Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Solomon and Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament; and the Letter of James in the New. An old summary of these Wisdom books says: the Psalms teach you how to pray, Proverbs how to live, Job how to suffer, the Song of Solomon how to love, and Ecclesiastes how to enjoy. Then there is James who strikes all these notes together in the five succinct chapters of his letter.
Yes, the Bible is a Landscape of Life – a painting of how people can live – which we should pause and look at regularly. It is full of real people from whose behaviour and faith we can learn a great deal. Often they act foolishly and experience catastrophe. Sometimes they meet with God and begin to walk with him. The Landscape of Life gives us lessons about God and godliness the whole time. Study the Bible and you will learn how under all circumstances to serve God.
Sincerely in Christ