To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn. (Isaiah 8:20, NASB)
Once I read in an online forum a post by a fellow Christian who mentioned that a common argument against having the Bible as our rule of faith and practice is pointing out that the Bible is silent on the matter; and this fellow wanted some help in countering the argument. Someone else cited Isaiah 8:20, and to this, the original poster replied, almost relieved: “It is a good text”.
This verse of Isaiah is not just “a good text”. It is a strong, firm and secure indication about the right place that the Bible, the Word of God, should have in the life of the Christian believer.
The Word of God is law; it is a rule of living that must provide guidance our actions and intentions in every moment, because it is a record of God’s will. We must also keep in mind that the meaning of ‘law’ should also be extended to the meaning given to it by the ancient Israelites, an idea that is made very clear in Deuteronomy 6: The law is also teaching (as the ESV rendering of the text); is what makes us learn the way of God.
But the Bible is also a testimony. It is a living, extant record of how God decisively intervenes in the midst of human history to guide us to salvation, up to the point of the supreme sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Eternal High Priest, King and Prophet, and thus opening the doors of salvation through faith alone. The Bible is also a testimony, a record, of how a new humanity, transformed by God’s grace, was seeking to walk in obedience, hope, and faith towards the heavenly Jerusalem, the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God (Hebrews 12:22-24; Hebrews 11:10).
The text from Isaiah is very clear: “If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.” In the practice of our faith, once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3), we have the sacred and solemn duty of conform our doctrine, our teaching and our lives to the rules of the Word of God. As the context of Isaiah 8:20 shows, other may place their trust in horoscopes and stars, or they migh seek communication with the dead, to get some guidance for their living; but “we will remember the name of the LORD our God” (Psalms 20:7, NKJV). ¡Amen!
Article written for the church’s weekly bulletin, Sept. 07, 2008.