This week we will look at a few of the many divine watermarks in the word of God. These hidden treasures reveal a complex design integrated into the text that expresses both the nature of God and the means He has provided for us to develop our relationship with Him.
We are going to examine four specific parts of Scripture. There are many other aspects of Scripture we could look at to see how God has engrafted hidden information into his word, but we will limit our study to these four:
1. The shortest chapter in the Bible.
2. The longest chapter in the Bible.
3. The shortest verse in the Bible.
4. The longest verse in the Bible.
Father, give us wisdom and discernment as we consider your precious and perfect word, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
1. The shortest chapter in the Bible is Psalm 117; it is also the middle chapter in the Bible, the 595th chapter:
1 O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people.
2 For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD.
Could it be mere coincidence that this is both the shortest chapter in the Bible as well as the middle chapter? I think not. I believe the Holy Spirit designed it this way to call our attention to it. The philosophical implications of these thirty-three words are vast and of great consequence. (In the numerology of the Bible, three is the number of divinity.) Psalm 117 may very well be the most profound chapter in the entire Bible in terms of sheer pith. If there is indeed one God over the nations, a kind and merciful God, a God of truth that endures forever, that is good news indeed. Even a cursory study of world religions would reveal that most of the gods worshipped by the nations are anything but merciful, kind, and truthful. Three times we are told to praise Him and three times we see his name, Jehovah, pointing to his triune nature—God in three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Jesus quite likely sang this Psalm before his crucifixion. (Mark 14:26) Traditionally, the first two of the Hallel Psalms, or Songs of Praise (Ps 113-118), are sung before the Passover meal and the last four are sung afterwards. The Holy Spirit is calling our attention to this chapter as a way of introducing us to the Godhead and inviting us by way of commandment to worship Him. In these two short verses, we see God’s nature, his desire to have a relationship with us, his trustworthiness, and our purpose in life. We were created to worship Him.
2. Having revealed his divine nature in this shortest of chapters, two chapters later we are shown how to become aquatinted with this God of mercy, kindness, and truth. Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible, touches the depths of the riches of God’s perfect word. Just as the Holy Spirit called our attention to Psalm 117 by making it the middle chapter, in much the same way He distinguished Psalm 119 by placing it in between the Hallel Psalms (Ps 113-118), and the Songs of Ascents (Ps 120-134). They say repetition is the mother of learning. Over the course of 176 verses, Psalm 119 repeatedly reminds us of the importance of God’s word. Jesus’ name is the Word. The Word is everything: everlasting, transformative, rich in poetic instruction, living, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword. Here is one of the ways that Paul describes it:
…..O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
Through the Logos, the infinite living word, we can begin to probe the depths of the wisdom in the mind of God. God has magnified his word above all his name (Ps 138:2). Psalm 119 demonstrates this principle in unparalleled poetic grandeur. Twenty-two acrostic stanzas, one for each letter in the Hebrew alphabet, Psalm 119 highlights and underscores the paramount importance of God’s word to the believer. If you want to know God, read his word. If you want to find wisdom, read his word. If you want to find freedom, read his word. If you need mercy, read his word. If you love Jesus, read his word.
…..Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.
…..Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
…..I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.
…..How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
…..Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
…..Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.
…..Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.
…..Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.
3. The shortest verse in the Bible is John 11:35:
Have you ever wondered what God sees when he looks at our world? What must He think when He sees our lies, our wars, our drug trade, and human trafficking? What is the worst thing that was ever done to you? What is the worst thing that you ever did to someone else? What does God think about these things? I think John 11:35 tells us.
4. The longest verse in the Bible is Esther 8:9. The Book of Ester tells the story of how Haman the son of Hammedutha persuaded Ahasuerus (Xerxes I), king of Persia and the Achaemenid Empire, to destroy all the Jews who lived throughout his vast kingdom from India to Ethiopia. As Providence would have it, in an ironic turn of events, Esther competed in and won the king’s Miss Universe pageant. She therefore married Ahasuerus. As queen, Esther then convinced the king to save her people from her wicked adversary, Haman the son of Hammedutha. Since the king had already issued the decree making it legal to kill the Jews, and the law of the Medes and the Persians could not be altered (a type of the law of God that condemns us all), the king issued a second decree. His second decree made it legal for the Jews to defend themselves and encouraged people to come to their aid. In effect, the king told his subjects, I don’t want you to kill the Jews anymore. I want you to fight with them against their persecutors and kill those who oppose them:
…..Then were the king’s scribes called at that time in the third month, that is, the month Sivan, on the three and twentieth day thereof; and it was written according to all that Mordecai commanded unto the Jews, and to the lieutenants, and the deputies and rulers of the provinces which are from India unto Ethiopia, an hundred twenty and seven provinces, unto every province according to the writing thereof, and unto every people after their language, and to the Jews according to their writing, and according to their language.
Just as the Jews who lived in the time of queen Esther were under a literal death sentence, likewise every person on this planet is under a death sentence with regard to their mortal souls. The soul that sinneth, it shall die (Ez 18:4, 20). Just like the Jews who lived during the time of queen Esther, we likewise have an edict from the King which has gone out into all the earth, to all kindreds tribes and tongues, which frees us from our death sentence and gives us everlasting life. Just like the edict from king Ahasuerus, you have to believe it in order for it to take effect. If those who received king Ahasuerus’s order would have said, Pshaw, this can’t be true and ignored it, it would have had no effect and the Jews would have perished. People did believe it, however, and today the Jews celebrate the Feast of Purim every year to commemorate how they were delivered. I’m sure the Jews in Esther’s day were distressed by the order from the king that they were to be exterminated. God, however, had other plans. Are you distressed by the events taking place in our world today? He has other plans for us too. It is all spelled out in the gospel. The gospel has been spread to all nations, unto every people after their language. God did this through the Jews according to their writing. He gave us a Jewish Bible, written by Jews. (Rom 3:2) If you want your death sentence lifted, I have good news, the Bible says salvation is a free gift. (Rom 5:15-18) It is available to everyone everywhere and all you have to do is take it. The Bible says the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)
…..For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
If you want this free gift, simply pray this prayer:
Father in heaven, I realize I am a sinner. Thank You for sending your Son to die for me. Lord Jesus, thank You for the precious blood you shed for me at Calvary. Please come into my heart, I acknowledge You as my personal Saviour. Lord, I repent of my sins and ask you to take control of every area of my life. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.
In closing, the longest Book in the Bible is The Book of Psalms. Found in the Old Testament, the Book of Psalms is divided into five separate books (the number of Grace): Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. So technically, there are 70 Books in the Bible, not 66. Psalms, a Book of poetry, is figurative of the Law. The shortest book in the Bible is The Second Epistle of John, found in the New Testament. The epistle begins with grace. Its main theme is the truth, in contrast to deceit. (The truth is the weapon of the Christian; deceit is the weapon of the enemy.) In Chapter 1 of his Gospel, John wrote For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. The Book of Job is the oldest Book in the Bible. Job 9:11 says Lo, he goeth by me, and I see him not: he passeth on also, but I perceive him not. The Bible’s last author, John, wrote that he had heard Him, seen Him, and touched Him. (1 John 1:1)
Father, thank You for your precious word by which we are born again and is effectual to make us wise. Thank You for all of its precious promises. Help us to abide in your word, that your word may abide in us, that we may be transformed by the renewing of our minds. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Coronavirus Update: Chinese virologist Li-Meng Yan has released a second paper alleging the CCP deliberately created and released SARS-CoV-2 as an unrestricted bioweapon. This is another indication that there may be a war with China looming. Pray for safety and protection for Dr Yan.