January 25

Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Living Ethically in the Light of the Bible

Introduction
Reading schedule

Matthew 8:14-17; Acts 10:1-23; Psalm 19; Genesis 43

Nature declares the glory of God. Knowledge pours forth from the heavens. But of course there are no words. The stars are silent. The psalmist reminds us that truth is communicated in different ways. We are said to be becoming a knowledge society. By that we usually mean the written, spoken and digital word. We communicate through reason and language. The psalmist calls us back to other ways of finding knowledge and truth.

As the sun travels across the sky, we are reminded that we are not in control. We did not put the sun in its tracks; someone else did. With eternal regularity it rises and sets. Who has determined its path? Who wrote the laws of nature that let nature support life? If it’s only brute fact, why does the sun bring warmth to everyone?

Creation points to an all-powerful, all-loving Creator. But general revelation raises more questions than it answers. What does it mean that the world is the way it is? How then should we live? The heavens are silent on many questions, but God is not. He has spoken in his Word to address many of our questions. When we study his words carefully and appropriately, we find truth, wisdom and beauty.

The psalmist declares that truth is more than accurate and logical. Scientists talk about a beautiful theory. When everything comes together, truth is found in beautiful simplicity and profundity. The beauty of the sun reflects the creativity of its maker. The truth of the Bible reflects the trustworthiness of its author. Its words not only bring rational truth, they give joy to the heart and light to the eyes. They are sweeter than honey.

God’s precepts are not given to frustrate and constrain us. Our souls are refreshed by living in relationship with God, just as life is enhanced by loving relationships. Our bodies feel good when we eat, exercise and rest properly. Our spirits feel good when we live according to the ways we were designed to live. Living ethically is not just about keeping rules and avoiding punishment. There is satisfaction in knowing that what we do is pleasing to God. The ethical life is beautiful. Poet John Keats wrote that ‘beauty is truth, truth beauty.’ The next line is ‘that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.’

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