The Weight of the Nails
Text: Psalm 139
I. For a book as concise as the Bible, it contains a surprising amount of detail
A. Detail that many ignore
B. So much detail that Reader’s Digest once took it upon themselves to produce a condensed version of the Bible, for which they were justly ridiculed.
C. I Corinthians 2:12-13 - God selected the very words to reveal to us what was on His mind
1. But why all the detail? Does a verse, such as II Chronicles 3:9 matter?
2. Some atheists argue that the Bible can’t be inspired because it contains so much trivial information.
3. Of course, the essence of the argument is that this is not the way I would have written a Bible, so therefore it can’t be from God.
D. Still think about what these details tell us
II. Small details in the world
A. Several years ago, a group did an experiment to determine what would be needed to support long term life, such as a space colony. Called Biosphere several attempts were made before the whole adventure collapsed
1. They kept running into problems. For example in one of the runs, they kept losing 0.3% of their oxygen per month – not a good thing to have.
2. They had to add on air conditioners to handle the heat load.
3. The food grown was adequate, but the people living in the biosphere constantly complained they were hungry.
4. It just never could exist isolated from the world.
B. Think about how many small details keep this world running.
1. Science is continually discovering small dependencies and interesting details that they never noticed before.
2. The one thing we are certain is that we don’t know it all.
C. Looking at the world’s precision, we cannot escape the fact that the designer of it knew what He was doing - Romans 1:20
1. And then consider that God told us He did the entire universe in six days.
D. Small details in the world are never insignificant.
E. God’s concern for small details is a source of comfort - Matthew 6:25-34
III. Small details provide evidence
A. In Luke 4:16, Jesus was teaching in Nazareth where he was rejected. He left and in Luke 4:31 we read that Jesus when down to Capernaum.
1. A small detail, but the area between Nazareth and Capernaum is quite hilly, even mountainous. Between the two points Jesus would have gone both up and down.
a. Nazareth’s elevation is 1830 feet above sea level
b. Capernaum’s elevation is 1300 feet above sea level
2. A difference of 530 feet, but over a 30 mile walk through hilly terrain.
3. Yet, Luke knew it was down.
B. “In the first half of the 16th Century, two young men, Gilbert West and Lord Nyttleton, went to Oxford, England. These young men were determined to attack the very basis of the Christian faith. Nyttleton settled down to prove that Saul of Tarsus was never converted to Christianity and West to demonstrate that Jesus never rose from the tomb. ‘Some time later,’ says author Michael Green in his book Man Alive, ‘they met to discuss their findings. Both were a little sheepish. For they had come independently to similar and disturbing conclusions. Nyttleton found, on examination, that Saul of Tarsus did become a radically new man through his conversion to Christianity; and West found that the evidence pointed unmistakably to the fact that Jesus did rise from the dead.’ You may still find their book in a large library. It is titled Observations on the History and Evidences of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, published in 1747. On the fly-leaf they printed this telling quotation from Ecclesiasticus 11:7, ‘Blame not before thou hast examined the truth.’” [Terry Benton, “Two Men Who Tried to Disprove Christianity,” 2002]
C. “It is felt that the tendency to hemorrhage is due to the fact that the important blood-clotting element, vitamin K, is not formed in the normal amount until the fifth to the seventh day of life. If vitamin K is not manufactured in the baby’s intestinal tract until the fifth to the seventh day, it is clear that the first safe day to preform circumcision would be the eighth day, the very day that Jehovah commanded Abraham to circumcise Isaac. A second element which is also necessary for the normal clotting of blood is prothrombin. A chart based on data discussed in Holt Pediatrics reveals that on the third day of a baby’s life the available prothrombin is only thirty percent of normal. Any surgical operation performed on a baby during that time would predispose to serious hemorrhage. From the chart we also see that the prothrombin skyrockets on the eighth day to a level even better than normal – 110 percent. It then levels off to 100 percent. It appears that an eight-day-old baby has more available prothrombin than on any other day of its entire life. Thus one observes that from a consideration of vitamin K and prothrombin determination, the perfect day to perform a circumcision is the eighth day. We would commend the many hundreds of workers who labored at great expense over a number of years to discover that the safest day to perform circumcision is the eighth. Yet, as we congratulate medical science for this recent finding, we can almost hear the leaves of the Bible rustling. They would like to remind us that four thousand years ago, when God initiated circumcision with Abraham, He said, ‘And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised ...’ (Genesis 17:12). Abraham did not pick the eighth day after centuries of trial-and-error experiments. Neither he nor any of his company from the ancient city of Ur in the Chaldees had ever been circumcised. It was a day picked by the Creator of vitamin K.” [S. I. McMillen, M.D., None of These Diseases, 1963, pp. 22-23]
IV. Small details contain information
A. Using II Timothy 4:13, have you thought to ask yourself:
B. Why did Paul leave his cloak in Troas?
1. Was he forced to flee and had no time to pick it up?
2. This might indicate that Paul continued to be persecuted in his later years.
C. Think of Paul’s poverty
1. Paul was willing to spend and be spent for the cause of Christ - II Corinthians 12:15
2. Winter was coming and Paul’s one cloak was hundreds of miles away.
3. Paul knew what is was to do without - II Corinthians 11:27
D. What happened to the saints in Rome?
1. They had originally welcomed Paul enthusiastically - Acts 28:15
2. Had they been scattered by the persecutions?
3. Had some of them turned against Paul? - Philippians 1:15-17
4. During Paul’s first trial, no one stood up for him in defense - II Timothy 4:16
5. During his second time in Rome, only Luke was with him - II Timothy 4:11
6. Could the love of the saint have grown as cold as the weather? - Matthew 24:12
E. Notice Paul’s fortitude. No word of complaint. No whimpering. No brow-beating of neglectful brethren. No pitiful solicitation for help from others.
F. What appears to be trivial, on reflection, takes on depths of possible meaning.
G. The only reason it appears trivial is because we had not taken the time to think about it.
V. Why was it important to know that it took about two pounds of gold nails in the construction of the inner sanctuary of the temple?
A. I don’t know.
B. But I know that it is there for a reason, perhaps for several reasons.
C. We just don’t know the right question
D. Don’t discount what seems to be trivia in your Bible.
E. Appreciate the richest that it brings to your life.