Years ago when I was on Facebook, a professing believer in Christ Jesus started a thread arguing how the phrase "When praises go up, blessings come down" is not in the Bible. There were dozens of people engaged in this conversation, talking about how foolish "church folks" were when they repeat/believe this.
"God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah. That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.
Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.
Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him." Psalm 67
Confused by the fervor this post was garnering, I stated that perhaps it is a reference to Psalm 67, echoing the sentiment that there is a relationship between pure praise to God and being blessed by Him. At this, the original poster responded and said, "You know that this is not in the Bible so stop trying to make excuses for these false preachers."
Then I understood. These were not people seeking after truth. These were individuals desiring to use the Bible to mock others. Indeed, as such, they were no better - in terms of motive - than the so-called false preachers they criticized. The issue is so much bigger than that one phrase. A true search for truth needs to go beyond just what the Bible says, but seeking wisdom to understand what God means.
Not everyone citing Scripture is preaching truth...or even desires to preach the truth. When Satan tried to ensnare Jesus in the wilderness, he used the word of God. The problem was that the word was being spoken through the wrong spirit. Satan's ministers continue to do the same today.
People are defining their own religion - while calling it Christianity - and they are using the Bible to do it! There are a number of ways that the Bible is being used as a tool for sorcery to keep you from the freedom that is in Christ Jesus, and that is just the way God designed it.
I once questioned God, "Why are the Scriptures written the way that they are? You could almost twist Scripture to claim support of anything. Why couldn't they just be more clear so that it is undebatable?"
"Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! They say of me, Doth he not speak parables?" Ezekiel 20:49
"All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world." Matthew 13:34-35
God responded that this was intentional, so that only those led by His Spirit could receive the revelation of truth. Yes, people can actually use the Bible to support that which is against God, because the goal of Scripture was never about the letter.
"Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life." II Corinthians 3:6
Focusing on the letter at the expense of the spirit will always be a snare to you. In this way, people will reject truth because:
- Something is not explicitly written in Scripture. This is the argument often given to deny the Trinity, reject the rapture, denounce the ministry of deliverance for Christians, or to claim that masturbation or oral sex is not a sin.
- Something is explicitly in the Bible. People can grab unto verses in the Bible and apply it erroneously without considering the context of what is written. An example of this would be twisting Malachi 3:10 to force a tithing bondage on Christians, using Galatians 3:28 to justify matriarchal authority in the Church, or pointing to Exodus 20:8 to claim that there is a certain day in which believers must worship.
- Something is quoted from a certain version of the Bible. I have seen people actually receive truth and then all of a sudden reject it all because a certain version of Scripture is referenced. They will even say, "I was with you until you quoted from the NIV."
The linchpin for our translation from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light - and even our transformation into the image of Jesus Christ - is never based upon anything of this physical world; not even the Bible. The Bible is not to be worshiped, but the God who inspired it is. We are birthed by the Spirit, kept by the Spirit, and perfected by the Spirit.
The purpose of the Bible is not to encompass the mind of God, but to reflect it for us, so that we can be changed into His image by the Spirit. It is not the words alone which change you, but the Spirit moving upon the words.
"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." II Corinthians 3:18
Without the spirit - and in the wrong spirit - the words alone can become a sorcerer's incantation. The problem is man's mind often thinks in concretes and cannot flow with the Spirit of God, which is like the wind (John 3:8; Colossians 1:21).
"And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able." I Corinthians 3:1-2
"And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen." John 21:25
"How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter." II Corinthians 12:4
"And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not." Revelation 10:4
The Bible is not the whole of God's instruction to man, nor is it intended to be. The Bible will never tell you where you should be and what should do today. For that you need a Rhema word from the Lord. I am not advocating the type of rebellion we see throughout the churchworld where people falsely claim to be led of the Spirit in disobeying the Lord. The inspiration from the Spirit of God will never contradict the written word of God, However, obedience to the written word is what opens our spiritual ears to know and hear the spoken word of God - a Rhema word (Romans 10:16-17). We can even attain to an intimacy with God where He shares with us that which He does not openly tell others.
Don't get caught up in the letter, but pray for God to fill you with the One chosen to reveal the Truth to you and in you (who is Jesus Christ).
"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come." John 16:13
Thy Word is Truth