Finding God’s Treasure
-In God’s Word-
There was a man called Heinrich Schliemann, who as a boy read a translation of Homer’s account of the defeat of Troy by the Greeks. In the latter part of the last century scholars largely held that Homer’s "Iliad" was entirely fictitious and that ancient Troy never existed - an unlikely story made up to make a specific point. Schliemann vowed one day he would find the ruins of the city of Troy. He spent most of his formative years making a fortune and then spent his retiring years searching for the city of his youthful dreams, with the aid of his fortune.
With the permission of the Turkish Government he excavated the site near the Dardanelles where he believed from his research that the city had once been located. Ironically, he found not only one ancient city of Troy, but the ruins of many other cities, each built upon the ruins of the previous, as in the case with many archaeological discoveries. One day, from the excavations o Troy, a small casket was uncovered that contained a set of exquisite jewels. Schliemann adorned the jewels upon his young Greek wife, Sophia. She was frequently pictured wearing these jewels in the very early days of photography because her husband claimed them to be the jewels of Helen of Troy. Whether they were the jewels of the great Helen, we may never know. The point is that here we have a man who was prepared to sacrifice everything for a dream of treasure.
The Proverbs writer instructs us to search for wisdom and understanding as if you were searching for hidden treasure.
We find God’s treasure in God’s Holy Word.
The Bible was written by 40 different authors over a period of 1,600 years. It is written in three languages: Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic. The writers come from a variety of backgrounds: prophet (Jeremiah), priest (Zechariah), shepherd (Amos), king (David), servant (Nehemiah), doctor (Luke), tax collector (Matthew), and Pharisee (Paul).
The Bible was written on three continents: Asia, Africa and Europe. A gap of more than 400 years separates the writing of the Old Testament from the New Testament. The scriptures were first written on sheepskin, goatskin, papyrus and parchment.
The scriptures were written in different settings. The first five books called the Pentateuch, (five scrolls) books of Law, were written in the desert wilderness of the Sinai Peninsula. Some of the Psalms were written while David kept watch over sheep in the hills of Judea. Daniel wrote from the courts of Babylon. At least four letters of Paul were written while he was in prison.
Yet when you read the Bible as a whole, recorded over all those years by so many different men, written under so many different conditions, you will find that they all are telling one story and follows one theme. All scripture bear the mark of one author, God.
How do we know that when we study the Bible we are actually studying the Word of the Lord? Like mining for gold how do you tell the difference between fools gold and true gold. The characteristics of true gold distinguish it from iron pyrite, fools gold.
The Proverb writer in Proverbs 2:1-8 NLT outlines the value of finding treasure in God’s Word.
1 – “Listen to me and treasure my instructions.”
3-4 – “Search for wisdom, insight and understanding like you are searching for hidden treasure.”
7 – “The Lord grants a treasure of good sense to the godly.”
Proverbs 2:1-4 NIV translates verses 1-4 with three “ifs.” Verse 1 – “…If you accept my words and store up my commands within you.” Verse 3 “…If you call out for insight and cry out for understanding.” Verse 4 “…If you look for it as for hidden treasure…”
It is our responsibility to search the scriptures as if looking for hidden treasure because in God’s Word we find wisdom. When you find wisdom you discover how to apply God’s Word to your life. You discover how to make right decisions in life and as the Proverb writer promises your life will be filled with joy.
As you study and apply God’s word to your life “Then you will understand what is right, just and fair and you will know how to find the right course of action every time. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy.” Proverbs 2:9-10 NLT
Of all the writings in history the Bible is unique. It stands above all other writings.
I. God is the Author of the Bible.
We stand on the authority of the Bible because God is the author of the bible.
God’s Word is inspired. When we say God’s Word is inspired, what do we mean? 2 Timothy 3:16 – All scripture is God-breathed/inspired and useful for teaching, rebuking, correction and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
“God breathed/inspired” means the difference between life and death. Genesis 2:7 “The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” The breath of God gave life to dust that God shaped into a man. Without God’s breath you would have a heap of worthless dirt.
It is the inspiration and breathe of God that moved men to write God’s word. 2 Peter 1:20-21, “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” “Breath” and “Wind” come from the same word in Hebrew, “Ruach.” “Wind” and “Spirit” come from the same word in the New Testament, “Pneuma.” Having the Bible written by men carried along by the Holy Spirit makes God the author.
God’s Word was written by eye-witnesses. Old Testament writers wrote what they witnessed and heard from the Lord of all Creation. New Testament writers recorded what they personally witnessed in the life and teachings of Jesus. The book of Revelation was written by the Apostle John as revealed to him by the risen Christ.
2 Peter 1:16-18, “We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.”
Peter, James and John were with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. Peter writes that what he heard and saw with his own eyes; he is writing down so all who read his writings can have the same assurance that he had concerning Jesus the Christ God’s only Son and Savior.
The Apostle Peter goes on to write in 2 Peter 1:19, “And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”
Peter affirmed the fact that Jesus came as the incarnate Son of God. Jesus came as the Light of the World. Through his life, death, and resurrection Jesus gives hope for the future. Jesus is coming again and until that day dawns we have the hope every morning that Jesus our morning star gives us in our heart.
As you study and search the scriptures you have the assurance you are searching the very Word of God. The Bible is God breathed and God inspired.
II. The Bible is Trustworthy
There are other sources outside the Bible to give us the assurance that the Bible is trustworthy.
Archaeology, “the science of old things” is a great resource to give evidence of the validity of the Bible. Critics of the Bible come and go, but the Word of the Lord stands true. 1 Peter 1:24-25, For, all men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fail, but the word of the Lord stands forever.” In this passage Peter is quoting Isaiah the prophet… (Isaiah 40:6-8)
At one time critics declared that Moses could not have written the earliest books of the Bible because he was not literate. But the investigations of Sir Leonard Woolley at Ur of Chaldees revealed that Ur was a civilized city. Some of the houses in Abraham’s time appear to have been two stories, build around a small central courtyard, with as many as 14 rooms. Brick stairs led to the upper story. A kitchen, reception room and private chapel can often be recognized in the ruins. Their books consisted of clay tablets; some were receipts for business transactions, some were laws; others were mathematical tables with formula for calculating square ands cube roots.
Several years ago Erick Von Daniken said the Bible backed his theory that planet earth has been visited by aliens from outer space. He said the Pyramids of Egypt could not have been built by men on earth, but were built by men from other planets. In his book, “The Chariots of the gods,” Daniken says that the vision of Ezekiel was spaceships and the angels that saved Lot and his family from Sodom and Gomorrah were robots. Jacob’s vision of the heavenly ladder was his eye witness account of Beings from outer space loading goods into their spaceship.
Archaeological research gives evidence that the great Pyramids were built by people on earth. As early as 3100 BC the Egyptians had Copper saws capable of cutting the kind of stones used in building the Pyramids.
Dr. Robert D. Wilson, a great Old Testament scholar and one time Professor at Princeton and West Minister Seminary knew 47 languages and dialects. In consultations he used an average of 21 languages every day. In his book “A Scientific Investigation of the Old Testament,” he says that “No man is intelligent enough to destructively criticize the Bible.” He concludes that all his studies show that the Bible has stood the test of every criticism and the test of authenticity.
Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Matthew 24:35 Growing up in a Jewish home Jesus studied and knew the Old Testament writings. In his life and ministry Jesus quoted from the Old Testament writings as the Word of the Lord.
III. The Bible Prepares us for Life’s Challenges
Someone sent me an e-mail awhile ago with the statements made by children about the Bible.
1. In the first book of the bible, Guinness’s. God got tired of creating the world, so he took the Sabbath off.
2. Adam and Ever were created from an apple tree. Noah’s wife was called Joan of Ark. Noah built an ark which the animals came on to in pears.
3. Lot’s wife was a pillar of salt by day and a ball of fire by night.
4. Samson slay the Philistines with the axe of the Apostles.
5. Moses died before he ever reached Canada. Then Joshua led the Hebrews in the battle of Geritol.
6. The greatest miracle in the bible is when Joshua told his son to stand still and he obeyed him.
7. Solomon, one of David’s sons, had 300 wives and 700 porcupines.
8. Jesus was born because Mary had an immaculate contraption.
9. The people who followed Jesus were called the 12 decibels.
10. The epistles were the wives of the apostles.
Wisdom comes not only from knowing the Bible but by asking the Holy Spirit to help us apply the Biblical truths to our every day lives. Knowing the Word of God does help you face life’s challenges.
In Matthew 4 Jesus used Old Testament scripture to defeat the testing and temptations of the Devil. Jesus was led by the Spirit to the desert and for 40 days and 40 nights Jesus practiced solitude and listened to God in prayer. At the end of 40 days and Jesus was physically weak but spiritually strong.
Jesus is our model. When overcome by the cacophony of life’s sounds and noises, find a place of solitude and silence. The Psalmist sang out in Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.”
It was at the end of 40 days of fasting and prayer that Satan tempted Jesus. The Devil must have thought that Jesus in his weak physical condition would be no match for his temptations. Jesus stood strong and used scripture to defeat all that the Devil threw at him.
When Satan tempted Jesus he used scripture. When Satan uses scripture he takes it out of the context for its true meaning. He only gives you a partial truth and not the whole truth.
The story is told about a farmer who was walking along the road with his horse and dog. A pickup tuck came racing by and knocked them off the road and into a ditch
The farmer sued for damages, including loss of work time, claiming he had a broken leg. He also had facial injuries and several cracked ribs that kept him from work.
The defense attorney told the judge, “Your Honor, shortly after the accident occurred, my client heard the farmer say “he had never felt better in his life!”
The farmer explained, “Your Honor, after he ran me and my dog and horse off the road, we were lying in the ditch. The driver of the truck got out of his truck. Seeing that my horse had a broken leg, he took out his shotgun and shot my horse. Then noticing that my dog was bleeding and suffering terribly, he shot my dog. Then he stood over the top of my mangled body, holding his gun and asked, ‘How are you feeling?’ I said, “never felt better in my life!’”
Satan will do all he can to fool you and only give partial truth and twist the truth to say what gives him an advantage.
Satan tempted Jesus three times with three different temptations.
1. Natural Desires - Jesus was weak physically and hungry. Satan tempted Jesus: Prove your power, turn these stones into bread. “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Matthew 4:3
Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy 8:3, “It is written: Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Anytime you satisfy natural desires contrary to God’s will it is sin. It is never God’s will to satisfy natural desires when Satan is behind the temptation. Natural desires are to be satisfied only according to the will of the Lord.
Satan’s tricks are to make sin attractive and seem so innocent and harmless. “One little bite won’t hurt. One little puff is okay. One little drink is the social thing to do, you’re not an alcoholic! One short X rated film won’t hurt you. You’re a strong person.”
A spider will weave a large web and in the sunlight the web will glisten and shine like a jewel. Bugs and fly are attracted to the light and caught in the web of death. Sin may shine forth as gold, but the end of sin is death.
Satan tempted Eve, through her natural appetite and curiosity. “God is holding back on you. When you eat the fruit your eyes will be opened and you shall be like god, knowing good and evil. Genesis 3:5
Satan has a multi-billion dollar advertising industry. He sells you on sin. “If it feels so good, it must be okay.” “Everyone is doing it so don’t be left out.” “It won’t hurt to try it just once.” “After all everyone needs to have some fun and sin in their life.”
2. Lust for Power. Satan tempted Jesus to show off his power to the world by jumping off the pinnacle of the temple and prove He was the Son of God by not getting hurt. Jesus made it clear to the Devil that He did not come to the world to outdo Evil-Knivel and other great dare devils. Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:16 “Do not test the Lord your God.”
It is a sad truth that men and women are willing to yield to Satan’s lust for power to gain popularity and a celebrity status, but as we have seen in recent years their seductive popularity is nothing but a black hole of addictions and breakdown of their family. A life of fame and fortune is often a very short lived life.
3. Lust for Possessions. Satan took Jesus up into a mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of this world and all the splendor of the lands: “All this I will give you if you bow down and worship me.” Jesus told the Devil to get away from him and quoted scripture in Deuteronomy 6:13, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”
Satan has the right price for anyone who will follow him. If a Judas desires money, Satan will find 30 pieces of silver. Some people will sell their soul to the highest bidder. You may have heard about a young man who put his soul up for auction on EBay. Actually the highest bidder didn’t have to pay that much for his soul. Jesus would say to anyone whose soul is for hire: “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul.”
For every challenge that comes your way God’s Word has the answer. Jesus prayed for his disciples in John 17:17 – “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” To “sanctify” means to set apart. When you know the Word of God you are “set apart” and empowered to say “no” to the lust for possessions, the lust for power and giving in to sinful desires.
Hidden treasure is waiting for you in God’s Word. It is up to you to begin digging and find the gold and jewels of treasure. God is the author of the Bible. The Bible is Trustworthy and knowing the Bible will prepare you for life’s challenges.