I've always wondered how they come up with the pull date to stamp on milk cartons. I'm sure there's some scientific way they go about it. Or maybe Jerry Seinfeld is right in his bit about the cows being the ones to tip off the milkers, turning around during the milking and whispering, "This stuff's July 3rd." :)
Either way, I totally buy into it. The milk in my fridge is stamped October 2nd, and I fully believe that milk will be good right up until the 2nd--and probably not a moment after. And standing in my kitchen getting a bowl of cereal ready, I have all the faith in the world in the little date that someone somewhere stamped on the side of my milk carton.
Why then am I less convinced about some of the things I read in the Word of God? Why do I put more stock in the pull date on my milk than in truths like
"The last will be first and the first will be last" (Matthew 20:16). If I really believe this, then there's really no need to worry about my ranking. In anything. I don't need to go first. I don't need to be at the front of the line. I don't have to even be right.
"Honor the LORD with your wealth and with all the firstfruits of your produce; Then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine" (Proverbs 3:9-10). It's right there in my Bible, but do I believe it? Am I totally convinced I can take that truth to the bank--and literally, to my bank account?
"He forgives all your sins--as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us" (Psalm 103:3, 12). Do I believe He's really talking about my sins? All of them? Am I slam-dunk convinced that His mercy is available to the areas in which I need it most?
And not only are we believing Him on the promises in His Word--are we convinced His warnings are certainly worth our heeding? Yep, I'm a believer that the jug of milk in my refrigerator is going to spoil after October 2nd, and am not about to try drinking of it after that point. But are we believing God's warnings that are stamped into the pages of our Bibles?
Do we believe that debt enslaves the borrower to the lender?
That the pursuit of any sort of illegitimate relationship will lead to entrapment?
That nagging is like a constant dripping to those who hear it?
That gossip separates close friends?
That pride precedes a fall?
That he who has the Son has life, but he who does not have the Son does not?
It seems sometimes we treat what we read in God's Word as just words, or even as nice ideas or mere suggestions rather than the definitive authority for our lives. I know I'm guilty of that. But we can take truth to the bank--both promises and warnings. If it's in the Bible, it is a given. It is certain. It is sure.
And it is far more worthy of my trust than some date on the side of a milk carton.
LORD, convince us in a new way of the truth we're encountering in Your Word. You've given it to us and fully intended it to be the last word--the perfect authority--in our lives. Strengthen us to completely trust in what we find on those pages.