THE OLD BOOK

Jul
2018
14

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“The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.” (Isaiah 40:8)

Several decades before the fictional Dr. Spock of Star Trek fame became a household word, another Dr. Spock was making a name for himself providing child-rearing advice for millions of Americans. On July 14, 1946 – Dr. Benjamin Spock released his book, The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care, which would become one of the best-selling books of the twentieth century. Unlike his own mother’s fairly stern parenting style as well as leading child care experts prior to the 1940s – Spock encouraged a gentler approach to bringing up children, telling parents to trust their own instincts and common sense. Mothers heavily relied on Spock’s advice and appreciated his friendly, reassuring tone as he offered practical tips on everything from toilet-training to calming a colicky baby. Later in his life, he was motivated by politics, explaining, “It isn’t enough to bring up children happy and secure, you need to provide a decent world for them. And this is why I have expanded my horizon.”  While much of his advice is appropriate today, some has been replaced and even discredited. Spock suspected that he was being punished for his liberal politics. Some referred to him as the overly-permissive childrearing expert, even labeling him as the corruptor of a generation.

While the effectiveness of most advice books wanes with the evolving of each successive generation, there is one such book which has stood the test of time – The Holy Bible.  While many dismiss it because it references people and events from long ago, this doesn’t make it outdated or irrelevant. It tells us about an unchanging God and His eternal presence. Just as pertinent is the aspect of human nature as part of God’s very own creation. While our culture has developed over time, we need God no less than those who walked the earth thousands of years ago when the first texts were written. The Apostle Paul would have us know that the child-rearing advice and lessons for life we obtain in the scriptures is the best we will ever receive.  He says: “You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work” (2 Timothy 3:15-17).”

Over eight decades before Dr. Spock published his book, George Washington Carver was born in 1864 near the end of the Civil War. He was the son of a slave, orphaned as a baby, and raised after the abolishment of slavery by his former owners, Moses and Susan Carver. Carver became a prominent African-American scientist and inventor, and he is best known for the many uses he devised for the peanut. In 1920, Carver spoke at the United Peanut Association of America’s convention. His success gained him an invitation to speak before Congress about peanuts and the need for a tariff. Carver captivated their interest by drawing them into his testimony about the many products he had made from peanuts. The story is told that when he was asked how it came to be that he knew so much about peanuts, he said he had learned it from an ‘old book.’  This prompted the question as to the name of the book. He replied that it was The Bible. Then someone asked if all the things he had learned about peanuts had come from The Bible? He replied that was not the case but that old book taught him much about the One who had created peanuts. “Then,” he said, “I asked Him what to do with them, and He showed me.”

God’s Word, as found in the Holy Scriptures, shows us the way to lead a blessed life. As he praised his Maker, the psalmist said, “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105). In those days, a lamp would only illuminate, at best, a few feet ahead of one’s steps at night. Sometimes in life, all we need is enough light to take the next step as “we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). As we make our journey, we can take advice on that faith from lots of sources.  This might include the reading of an old book.  As you make your selection – pay attention to the One who guided its words, and know that any advice worth remembering will stand the test of time for all generations.

REFLECTION: Do you view God’s Word as an old book full of stories about how to live a good life? Or do you see it as a living, breathing document that has relevance until the end of time?  How would you provide sound rebuttal to someone who says that the truth of The Bible is that it seeks to justify itself?

A NEW LOOKUP  DEVOTION IS UPLOADED EACH WEEK. THE NEXT WEEKLY POSTING WILL BE ON SAT. JULY 21, 2018.  COMMENTS ARE WELCOMED.

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