Our culture is at a crossroads between life and death. This reality is evident to everyone in our increasingly sectarian society. Yet, seemingly everyone has a different solution to the massive problems before us. To some, the solution is the rise of a particular political party. To others, it is an economic recovery policy. Some believe a nuclear agreement that will deescalate the tension in Europe, the Middle East, and the Korean peninsula. Still others consider that the solution lies in an awareness of climate change. At a recent international forum in Egypt, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore urged international leaders to “choose life over death.”
An honest look reveals that our greatest problem is not an environmental one, nor is it economic, political, or military. Our greatest problem as a society is that we have forsaken the life-giving truth of the Word of God. After the giving of the Ten Commandments, Moses said, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19).
The life referred to here is not the “eternal life” of salvation. That eternal life can never be earned through the Law, but can only be received by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The life that God offers here to His people in Deuteronomy 30 is the abundant life that comes when Godly men lead their families, their churches, and their communities to live in harmony with God’s Word.
When the Pilgrims came to the shores of Cape Cod four hundred years ago, they understood this admonition fully. It was their “great hope and inward zeal,” according to William Bradford, to lay a strong foundation upon the Word of God for generations to come. For many years, the Bible, and particularly the Ten Commandments, formed the bedrock of American society. God’s Word was a standard of ethics, a foundation for law and order, and a guide for personal virtue. Today, that foundation is slowly being eroded away.
Many things have changed in the four hundred years since the Pilgrims first landed on the shores of Plymouth Harbor. But the Bible is one thing that has not changed. God’s Word still calls men and nations to find life-giving truth in its pages. The hope and prayer of the Pilgrims was that their children and grandchildren would treasure the life-giving truth of God’s Word and pass it on from generation to generation. William Bradford, the first governor of Plymouth, wrote in his journal:
Thus out of small beginnings greater things have been produced by His hand that made all things of nothing, and gives being to all things that are; and, as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone unto many.
From father to son to grandson, from generation to generation, that candle must be passed on until Jesus returns. An important part of the ministry of IBLP from its inception has been this work of passing on the life-giving truths of God’s Word from generation to generation, seeking to “turn the hearts of the fathers to the children.” With this focus in mind, we are preparing a new series of articles for the coming new year of 2023.
This new series will be called “Matters of Life and Death — Life-Giving Truths for Men: Drawn from the Ten Commandments and Illustrated in the Bible and in History.”
The series will be designed specifically to equip Christian men to lead their wives and children to love and obey the Word of God. Each Tuesday morning, we will post an article on our website that will give practical teaching on how to apply the Ten Commandments in your home. Each Thursday morning, we will post an additional article that will be biographical in nature, illustrating Tuesday’s truth lived out in the life of a man from Scripture or history. These Thursday articles will be written in a narrative style that will be engaging and interesting for fathers to share and read aloud to their families.
Prior to Thanksgiving Day, we will release a sample biographical sketch exploring the exciting life of an early governor of Plymouth Colony, William Bradford. We trust that the story of this orphan boy who later became Plymouth’s historian and governor will be a blessing to you and your families as we seek to show how Governor Bradford understood that the Word of God is indeed a “matter of life and death” and how he implemented this life-giving truth in his own pilgrimage.
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We’ll send you emails just twice a week, on Tuesdays & Thursdays, with teachings from our Matters of Life & Death teaching series. Occasionally there may be a few updates on other events or resources that may be relevant to you.