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Heaven is Not My Home
A book by Paul Marshall
"We ought to study not only God's Word but also God's world.” - Paul Marshall
For several years, I have read books about God’s calling. One of those books was Vocation by Paul Marshall. I liked it so much I chose to read another by Mr. Marshall entitled Heaven is Not My Home (Word Publishing). I commend both of these excellent books to you. Here are a few key points from the book, Heaven is Not My Home.
First, we need a light for learning.
Marshall quotes one of the most memorable lines in the longest psalm:
“The word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path" (Ps. 119:105)
Marshall askes, “Do you stare at the lamp?” No. You don't buy a flashlight so you can hold it up to your face and stare into it. The purpose of a lamp is to illuminate other things. In the same way, God's Word is meant to be a light for revelation of who God is, and of His creation. The Word of God helps us to see properly the world that God has made.
In the Bible, we don't find specific details about how to build buildings, or have happy marriages, or compose music, or to understand the physical components of the universe. However, in the light of God’s Word, we can study the world and learn about all things.
Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, our minds have been darkened by sin. Therefore, it is only in the light of God's Word that we can understand the creation as it is.
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Rom. 1:20-21).
Without a sound knowledge of the Word of God, we are left with a distorted view of God's handiwork.
Next, we need light for direction
God's Word is more than a light; it is a light on a path. It is meant to shine on the pathway before us. We point the light forward and down, hitting the ground about six feet ahead. We shine it on the path to see where we are going. The light helps us see the stones, cracks, gullies, and slopes to know where to place our feet without falling.
Paul Marshall writes:
"As we study the Scriptures, we need to shine them on the questions that lie before us on our pilgrimage. This includes not only questions concerning our personal life and the church but also the farmer's questions of how and what to plant or how to make our daily bread, and for all of us, how to deal with fields, factories, studies, politics."
"We ought to study not only God's Word but also God's world; we study the world in the light of the Word. We need to study not only Isaiah but also industry. Not only Philemon but also politics. Not only Acts but arts. It is not for us to choose between knowing the Bible or the world; we need to know the world biblically."
Then, with God’s light, we are to move into all the world
"What is so important to learn from Scripture is the connection between human responsibility and human freedom. We are bound to the Word of God and free to work out our service to God. Throughout Scripture we can find a continued story of human development in life and society. People everywhere continue to create new things. This cultural development does not stop at the end of biblical revelation. The command to fill the earth and bring forth fruit shows us that historical changes and development are very real, very much part of God's intention for human life."
Finally, with freedom and responsibility, we make choices.
"We are called by God to create, to develop, and to adapt what is about us in response to the guidance that God has given us. The nature of being human, or being made in the image of God, is that we are given responsibility for the earth. And real responsibility often comes when the answer is not obvious, when the laws and rules leave open several options, or when many different laws and rules apply at the same time. We are not just interpreters but also judges or deciders."
This is real responsibility in a real world
"We have to make real decisions about how we can put flesh on what God has shown us to be the path of peace, hope, stewardship, and justice. God gives us real responsibility. Our responsibility is both frightening and challenging. We cannot shrink from it."
© John Henry • YWAM Student Centre