Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Proverbs 30, verse 5.
Flawless, like a gem; flawless as in without error; flawless as in trustworthy; flawless as in having no defects; flawless as in beautiful and spectacular. All these are descriptions of God’s word. If you read them again, you’ll see they’re descriptions of God Himself.
It has always been this way. The Gospel of John talks about the beginning, the beginning of everything. It talks about how God was word, the Word, in the beginning. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” It’s no irony or coincidence that God is both words and the Word, and it’s no irony or coincidence that verse 5 talks about how those words are flawless. They are the only true beauty in the universe.
So it will beg the inevitable questions that ask “what about those parts of the Bible that talk about smiting X, Y or Z?” Or, “what about all the dysfunctional people in Jacob’s family?” “Why did so many people have to die in God’s word?” And, “how come so much of Scripture is so preachy?” Is there merit to these questions? Is God preachy? And how can His words be flawless when they were written by people?
Without going too far in depth, I’ll leave it that Scripture is all divinely inspired. Think of the authors as transcribing the words God put in their hearts and ears. Some of it is historical; some of it is prophetic; some of it is parable; some of it is narrative; some of it is praise and prayer; some of it is teaching. All of it is inspired and because it is given by God himself, it is flawless. In His way, God set-right wrongs done by forebears and appointed one group of people as the example He would use to teach the rest of history. By our reckoning, it’s sad that people had to die for this to happen, and we don’t really understand the reasons after all the self-justification and navel gazing. If it’s so wrong for God to have smitten so many people, then I challenge you and I to bear zero malice, anger, or even petty envy against our fellow human beings for the rest of our lives. Those emotions, those choices, are the start and equivalent of death towards another. If we’re so much better than God, then ought we not act that way as well? So much for that.
As for the divinity of Scripture, let me ask this: is it any coincidence that so many ancient Biblical manuscripts have come down through many centuries to this one essentially unchanged? I don’t think it is. I don’t believe it’s any coincidence that great comfort and peace is to be found in reading, contemplating Scripture. Try doing that with Sandra Brown, Tolkein, Shakespeare or (especially) anything I have written. They may be entertaining, even uplifting, but they won’t give you peace. God’s word is a mysterious, flawless truth that crosses unknown dimensions from the supernatural to here.
God is love is truth is beauty is justice is perfection is holy is human is spirit is eternal. It is also the perfect shield. My wife and I were just discussing this very thing in devotions last week. God’s word is a shield, protecting us from attack, from the elements, from influences. And it’s a flawless shield at that. Imagine a shield of pure gemstone, a man-sized diamond of pure strength and impeccable beauty that could resist any attack, deflect anything thrown at it. That’s what His word is. It doesn’t just act like a protecting force: it performs.
It’s interesting that the verse mentions taking refuge. When I think of taking refuge, I think of going someplace safe, someplace peaceful and natural. There’s harmony in a place of refuge because it’s a place to find your center, to recharge in safety. I think of wildlife refuges. Have you ever been to one? On a warm day, you can park there, walk out a ways, and just sit. You’ll hear birds, insects buzzing, and nature at work simply being itself. If you stay there awhile, the white noise of regular life gives way to tranquil peace.
That’s what God wants for us. He wants to protect and shield us, and keep us in His peace and give us refuge. Time with Him in His flawless words brings that same kind of peace, that same kind of refuge from a world of combat and junk. There is refuge in His flawless word, and peace in his protecting, shielding love. It is that way now just as it has always been and always will be. God’s word is without error, without defect, without price and without end.