Tuesday, February 9, 2016

All Scripture is Breathed Out by God - Part II

In the first post of this series, we looked at 2 Timothy 3:16, "All Scripture is breathed out by God" (ESV). I concluded that message by stating, "When you read this book we know as the Bible, think of it as the Holy Spirit's writings for you." In this posting, we'll look at Psalm 95 and the related verses in Hebrews 3:7-11.

Unlike many of the psalms that state, "A Psalm of David" or "A Psalm of Asaph", Psalm 95 does not identify a person's name. That psalm is among a collection of similar psalms from Psalm 93 through 100. Each one begins with either a song to the Lord or a recognition of His majesty. From that standpoint, they appear as man looking higher toward the Lord, signing praises about Him and knowing His awesome power. Again, no man is identified at the beginning of the psalm.

The first part of Psalm 95 is a song. In modern times, songs have been recorded that celebrate the words of the first seven verses.

The first part of Psalm 95 establishes that the entire psalm is written to the believing community, the so-called sheep of His pasture.

In the second part of Psalm 95, verses 7-11 were quoted in entirety in the book of Hebrews:
7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,
“Today, if you hear his voice,
8 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
   on the day of testing in the wilderness,
9 where your fathers put me to the test
   and saw my works for forty years.
10 Therefore I was provoked with that generation,
   and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart;
   they have not known my ways.’
11 As I swore in my wrath,
   ‘They shall not enter my rest.’”
Hebrews 3:7-11 ESV
I am currently studying the book of Hebrews at a Bible Institute named Psalm 19 Ministries. The institute director, Iris Godfrey, pointed out the importance of the first part of Hebrews 3:7, shown above. She noted that with, ‘Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says’, we need to understand that the voice behind Psalm 95, and for that matter the whole Bible, was the Holy Spirit. Read it again for yourself. It was not David, it was not a priest, it was not any other man, it was the Holy Spirit. That is what the text says.

The Holy Spirit breathed Psalm 95!

As an aside, I believe that the book of Hebrews is a great way of seeing hidden things in the Bible. If you were only familiar with the Old Testament writings, you would not understand the last portion of Hebrews 3:11, ‘They shall not enter my rest.’ Likely, you would think of rest as the land of milk and honey that was promised to the Israelites before and after leaving Egypt.

I believe this portion of Hebrews 3 is attempting to expose the hidden meaning of the word rest. Surrounding Hebrews 3:7-11 are two themes. In v3:1-6, the theme is God's house; in v3:12-4:11, the theme is rest. In a chiastic sense, these two themes are being compared and equated. In other words, the promised land of Moses' time is now replaced with a new land, the land of the Kingdom of God, the land where Jesus reigns, and the land where the sheep can follow into God's home. That home, I suggest, includes each and every temple within us, those who believe. John 14:2,3 defines that temple as a room, meaning a room in our heart.

If man wrote the Bible, subtleties such as the new meaning of rest would never have been written. Only our God could have done that. The Holy Spirit inspired the entire Bible.