“I Write Unto You, Young Men”
“I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.” (1 John 2:14)
Dear Young Men,
In Psalms we find written: “For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven. Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth. They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are thy servants.” (Psalm 119:89-91)
There is much to communicate stability and reliability here: “For ever,” “settled,” “faithfulness,” “established,” “abideth,” “continue.” “For ever” is not something the finite mind really grasps. Perhaps it would be helpful to think in these terms: At any time the need exists, and for whatever length of time the need exists, God’s Word stands certain. If you are having a trial, whether it be momentary or continues for your lifetime, God’s promises of help are sufficient—there is no danger of applying on a day when it’s out of order, or somehow not available. As His word states in another place, His mercies “are new every morning.” (Lamentations 3:23) There is no danger of it becoming obsolete, rusting, fading out, or diminishing in any way. Our feelings and circumstances may change, but none of that has any effect on the potency of God’s promises. If it doesn’t seem to be working right, we just haven’t properly understood the directions or obeyed them yet, or else we’ve gotten our vision stuck on our own ideas about what needs to be done and when. Just recently, at the end of a long day of both physical and mental exertions, the devil began to pile burdens on my mind, loading up all the things needing to be done, putting a negative look on everything that was going on around me, and generally seeking to overwhelm me with discouragement. Now the promise “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee” (Isaiah 26:3) is true in all circumstances and at all times. I didn’t feel like it was true, the devil kept bringing to mind troubling thoughts, but I called on the Lord for help, to cast my burdens on Him and keep my mind on Him. It took a fair bit of battling and setting my will to trust the Lord, but it worked. It always works if the promise is used as designed. Let us not be mistaken in this. We may not put ourselves in position to take advantage of the promise, or we may simply not understand it, or we may be slow in using it, or we may give up and not cling to the promise, but God’s word is “settled in heaven,” and His “faithfulness is unto all generations.”
The application to our lives is very significant. If we waste our time wondering whether God’s Word is true or can be trusted, we are doing exactly that: wasting time. If we settle our minds and hearts that His Word is settled and sure, then we can apply ourselves in the useful areas of finding out what it takes to meet the conditions to get the help needed; we can go to God for help, focus on doing what He tells us to do, and get the benefit of His Word.
The passage makes reference to the creation and the physical world in this way: “Thou hast established the earth, and it abideth. They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are thy servants.” God’s physical laws operate with a reliability that makes science possible. The project to land men on the moon depended on extreme reliability of the physical laws of the universe continuing on unchanged. How could we have learned to walk on the earth as little children if the laws were not unchanged? Imagine a child trying to master the coordination to walk if the force of gravity was in constant change, or the speed at which the nerve impulses in his body were traveling constantly changed, or the structure of the floor the child tried to walk on was constantly changing from liquid to solid to gas, and so on. Even with the laws being unchanged, the effort to master the skill of walking (and the effort to land men on the moon) is substantial. There is so much to master in what seems fairly straightforward. How did men learn to fly in heavier-than-air machines? There was much effort to understand the different physical laws well enough (and a lot of misinformation to wade through) to know even what to construct, and then the applying of that knowledge.
God’s spiritual laws operate with a reliability that makes living for God possible. “Seek, and ye shall find.” (Matthew 7:7; Luke 11:9) The effort to understand how they work can be substantial; but it is possible because they are “settled in heaven.” Just as in the operation of physical laws, the efforts to understand and make effective use of them may be long and arduous. We may need to learn one thing before we can understand or make use of another, or we may have some misinformation or prejudice that hinders us a long time, but if we want to live for God more than anything else, His promises are there for us to discover and take hold of. “Settled in heaven.”