In our previous post, we have looked at four metaphors that describe the word of God.
Let us continue our next metaphor
The Word Of God Is A Two Edged Sword
“For the word of God is living and powerful,
and sharper than any two-edged sword,
piercing even to the division of soul and
spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a
discerner of the thoughts and intents of
the heart. “ – Author Of Hebrews (Heb 4:12)
Here it tell us that the word of God is a living and powerful weapon. We need to have this understanding about the word of God. For it is not a dead literature or a mere piece of ancient writing.
If we regard the word of God is one that is living and with vitality. Our attitudes towards the bible will be different compared if we were treat it as a mere ancient document. If we believe that the bible is the word of God and it has spirit and life, we will read it with a different attitude and heart .
That is why we need to understand that the word of God is living and powerful. It can bring us comfort and strength in life. For Paul explains
“For whatever things were written
before were written for our learning,
that we through the patience and
comfort of the Scriptures might have
hope. “ – Paul (Rom 15:4)
Paul told us that the bible is written specially for us, it is written to bring us hope, endurance and comfort. This is something ordinary literature cannot do. Today in the world, we have many self help books and book discussing religion and philosophy. There are times such literature bring us comfort, happiness, it may even inspire new thoughts within us. They may even be able to point us to new direction in life, inspires us to do what we normally would not do.
I do not deny the fact that common literature can provide help & comfort or even inspire us to think positively. But today if we were to face a hopeless situation, that is the time when these book are unable to give us strength.
Learning to find strength in the words of God
Let us recall the story of Elijah, how he slept under the broom tree and prayed to God for death. Was Elijah dying because of hunger? No, for we knew that he was afraid and disappointed. How did Elijah overcome his predicament?
Initially we read of an angel offering him food and drink, but after eating he continues to sleep. The second time the angel offered him food and drink. He comforted Elijah saying “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.” After that we read that Elijah had the strength to walk for many days. Is the root of the problem hungriness?
Sometimes if the problem is merely exhaustion, we only need to rest before we regain strength. But what happens when we are tired in spirit? How can one receive strength in spirit? Physical food and rest can replenish our physical strength. But only the word of God can give our spirit hope and strength.
Life on earth is full of worries, we are pressured from work, sometimes our superior threaten us by withholding our salary. There are many problems in life which we want to run away from, they make us feel that our lives are not worth living.
These are all signs of being tired in spirit. That is the time we need the words of God the most.
Prophet Amos once said
““Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord God,
“That I will send a famine on the land,
Not a famine of bread,
Nor a thirst for water,
But of hearing the words of the Lord.” – Amos (Amos 8:11)
And Jesus reminds us
“It is written, ‘Man shall not live by
bread alone, but by every word that
proceeds from the mouth of God.’”- Jesus (Matt 4:4)
The bible is the word of God, it is a book where we can gain strength and help from God. If we do not listen nor read from it, we will never be able to get any strength and help for our spirit. If we view the bible as ordinary literature and the sermons as mere oratorical speech and not the words of God. How can we ever be moved by the Holy Spirit? The Spirit of God will only work within us if we believe and desire the word of God. That is when we receive strength from God.
This is the reason why the author of Hebrews says that the word of God is living. It can generate strength within us and his words are not empty words.
The Word Of God That Never Fails
Before Joshua dies, he spoke his last words to the children of Israel
“Behold, this day I am going the way
of all the earth. And you know in all
your hearts and in all your souls that
not one thing has failed of all the good
things which the Lord your God spoke
concerning you. All have come to pass
for you; not one word of them has failed.
Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all
the good things have come upon you which
the Lord your God promised you, so the
Lord will bring upon you all harmful things,
until He has destroyed you from this good
land which the Lord your God has given you.
When you have transgressed the covenant
of the Lord your God, which He commanded
you, and have gone and served other gods,
and bowed down to them, then the anger of
the Lord will burn against you, and you shall
perish quickly from the good land which He
has given you.”- Joshua (Jos 23:14-16)
The last words of Joshua is important and similar to the last words of Moses. He reminded the Israelites that they are the chosen people of God. He told them that the word of God will always come to past. For God had fulfilled every promise he made to Abraham.
For God said, “ I will bless you and you will be a great nation”. At that point of time Abraham had no son, he had Isaac at the age of 100. From Isaac came 2 children, by the time Israel entered Egypt, they were numbered to 70.
Eventually they became a great nation, their numbers grew so great that the Pharaoh was afraid of them and wanted to destroy them. But yet the more he opposed the more they continue to grow. For it was the will of God. Eventually Moses brought them out of Egypt and Joshua led them into the land of Canaan. God fulfilled his promise to bring them into the land of Canaan. That is why Joshua told them that Gods promise will always come to past.
Where is our blessing? Why Can’t We See It?
Similarly let us believe and esteem the words of God. For everything that God had spoken in the past had always been fulfilled. we often mind what others have to say and we often forget what God told us. Let us remind ourselves of the blessing that God had promised us in the scriptures.
But sometimes we wonder “Where is our blessing? why are we unable to see it?”
Joshua told the people, the words of God never fails, both his blessing and his curses will come to past. If we follow his words, blessing will be upon us. But if we transgress against his words, his curses will come to past. If we do a bit of both then both his blessing and curses will be upon us.
Often the real problem lies within us, if we really uphold the words of God. The modern Christians often talk about his blessing but they ignore his curses altogether. That is why we must examine our faith to see if we believe in all of Gods word.
God is merciful and loving, he will always be ready to forgive us. But God is also righteous, eventually he must judged us for our sins. Let us learn to fear God follow his words and receive his blessing
The Two Response When Pierced : Repentance
The word of God is not just double edged. It is sharper than a double edged sword. It can pierce through our souls and reveal the evil intent within us. It reveals the secret thoughts within us. At the same time it can pierce into the heart of man.
Most man will have 2 response when they hear the word of God. One would fear God and recognised the sin within him. For we read earlier that Gods word is like a mirror. That is when it becomes a 2 edged sword, revealing your sin and piercing through your heart.
An example of this can be seen on the day of Pentecost, when the Jews heard the preaching of Peter, they were cut in their heart. Acts 2:37 is not a mere description, for they felt the pain piercing through their heart. How cold they crucify Jesus to the cross?
The preaching of Peter allow them to see their hard heartedness, wickedness, pride and ignorance. As the result they humble themselves and repented.That is when the word of God pierce through their soul like a two edged sword. God did it because he did not want us to suffer eternally in pain and suffering. He wanted to awaken us and call us back.
The Two Response When Pierced : Anger
On the other hand, there are others who, after being pierced by the word of God, became angry with the word of God. For the word revealed the shame that is hidden within their heart. In the end they wanted to destroy the word of God. This was recorded in Lk 4:28-30
“So all those in the synagogue,
when they heard these things,
were filled with wrath, and rose
up and thrust Him out of the city;
and they led Him to the brow of
the hill on which their city was built,
that they might throw Him down over
the cliff. Then passing through the
midst of them, He went His way.” – Luke (Lk 4:28-30)
These people were filled with wrath upon hearing the words of Jesus. For the word of Jesus revealed their hypocrisy. They know they cannot murder Jesus openly, but they wanted to do it badly. So they thrust him out of the city and wanted to throw him down the cliff.
The word of God is spirit and it is life, different people will have different responses to it. Some upon hearing will repent from their sins. While others became full of wrath and wanted to kill Jesus. For when Jesus pointed out their sin they were unable to accept it. They refuse to repent. These are the wicked that are often mentioned in the scriptures.
What is the Difference Between Sinners And The Wicked?
Jesus wanted to save sinners but not the wicked. Perhaps you may ask, is there a difference between the wicked and the sinners? Most will define murderers and killers as wicked, we will think that those who commit miner sins are sinners. But God uses a different approach when it comes to differentiating sinners and wicked.
In God’s eye, a murderer is still a sinner for he can still repent. The wicked are sinners who knew their sins and refuse to repent. It is not that God did not want to save the wicked but rather the wicked refused to be saved by God.
If we try to dissuade a wicked man to stop sinning, they will tell you boldly “Stop persuading me, if I perish so be it”. They are well aware that they are treading on the wrong path but they choose to do it. The devil is like that, that is why we call him wicked. The devil is well aware of the impending judgement he will receive, but he will never repent.
On the other hand, let us not be like Pharisees, even though they fear and they do many things hoping to please God. They pay the tithes, fast 3 times a week and make long prayers. These are all things that are hard to do. But all they show is external piousness, they do not repent from their own sins. They too, wanted to kill Jesus.
True Knowledge Of The Word Of God
“Now we have received, not the
spirit of the world, but the Spirit
who is from God, that we might
know the things that have been
freely given to us by God.
These things we also speak, not in
words which man’s wisdom teaches
but which the Holy Spirit teaches,
comparing spiritual things with
spiritual.” – Paul (1 Cor 2:12-13)
If we want to understand the word of God, we would need guidance of God to understand his will and his words. For we are able to read but we cannot fully understand it. For Paul mentioned earlier
“But God has revealed them to us
through His Spirit. For the Spirit
searches all things, yes, the deep
things of God. “ - Paul (1 Cor 2:10)
Paul tells us that the spirit of God searches all things. Indeed only a spirit of man can understand the things of man. We may have a pet but our pets will never understand us fully. In the same way, the words of God can only be understood by the spirit of God.
We cannot use the wisdom of man but we need the spirit of God. That is why we need the Holy Spirit to guide us to understand the scriptures. While human wisdom can help us analyse passage and rationalize thoughts, it may even help us know the original text and understand the verse better.
It cannot guaranty that we would be able to understand the things of God. If knowledge of biblical Hebrew is so important, why is it that those who read the Hebrew scriptures in its original form are unable to see that Jesus is the messiah that they were waiting for? Why is it that they are unable to see how Jesus fulfilled the prophecies about the messiah?
Jesus once spoke to his disciples
“I still have many things to say to you,
but you cannot bear them now. However,
when He, the Spirit of truth, has come,
He will guide you into all truth; for He will
not speak on His own authority, but whatever
He hears He will speak; and He will tell you
things to come.” – Jesus (Jn 16:12-13)
Paul calls the word of God the sword of the spirit. that is why we need the Holy Spirit to abide in us and teach us. Only then will the word of God be powerful within us. For the Holy Spirit will work with the word of God. We need both of them in our hearts.
That is why we should emphasise on the word of God as well as prayer. For the sword of the spirit is the word of God. The holy spirit will work together with the word of God to encourage us and give us strength.
That is why we should not just pray, we need to read the bible and understand it. Then it would become a useful and powerful weapon of the Holy Spirit
The Word Of God Is Like Medicine
“My son, give attention to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings.
Do not let them depart from your eyes;
Keep them in the midst of your heart;
For they are life to those who find them,
And health to all their flesh.”- Solomon (Prov 4:20-22)
The word of God is like a medicine. Even though we are healthy and well at the moment. We may fall sick at times. The worst illness happen when we are sick in our spirit, for the best doctor cannot cure the matters of the heart.
We need medicine for the heart in order to cure such illness. The word of God is the best medicine for our heart. That is why Solomon describes it so, for the word of God gives health to everyone and it can allow us to remain healthy. For a joyful heart is good medicine.
In the past, and sometimes even in our modern world. There are people who thinks that illness were a result of spirit and ghost. But today science have taught us that diseases are clause by virus. As the result we can heal ourselves now. But the Psychiatrist tells us that if we are sad, it will weaken our immune system. Therefore our emotional well being is related to our physical health.
The word of God can bring joy and comfort to our hearts. It can broaden our minds and give us the strength to forgive the people who had hurt us. As the result we could control our temper and choose not to fight. We could use this medicine to help us.
A Medicine that Enlarge Our Hearts
But how can it help us achieve peace in our hearts? How can it help us forgive and let go?
Only the word of God can help us and the Psalmist explain it clearly
“My soul melts from heaviness;
Strengthen me according to
Your word.”- Psalmist (Ps 119:28)
“I will run the course of Your
commandments, For You shall
enlarge my heart.” -Psalmist (Ps 119:32)
Our hearts can be bound by our hatred and wrath, it can also be bounded by sorrows and worries. For there will be words that will make us angry, and words that will break our hearts. That is when we need prayers, and we need to believe and mediate on the words of God. It can melt the heaviness and strengthen us, it can enlarge our hearts if we follow his commandments.
The Psalmist continues to plead with the Lord
“Remember the word to Your servant,
Upon which You have caused me to hope.
This is my comfort in my affliction,
For Your word has given me life.” – Psalmist (Ps 110:49-50)
It is by remembering the words of God we can find hope. It can give us life and give us comfort. That is why the word of God is the best medicine for the heart. It is the reason why we need to read and ponder over them. That is why we often make children memories bible verses in Sunday school. For we want them to keep the words in their heart. Only then can the word of God comfort them when they are in trouble. For if we do not know the verse, how can we be reminded of it?
The Right Medicine For the Right time
Every good doctor is able to prescribe the right medication for the right diseases. In a same way, Christian must learn to make good use of the word of God. For if we abuse the word we will bring more harm than good to the people who hear us.
For example, we remember the 3 friends of Job who came to visit him in hope of bringing him comfort and counsel. They wanted to help him, but they make use of the wrong medication. They insist that Job’s suffering was a result of a judgement of God. And they went on to say that we all have sinned.
That is when Job defended himself asking them to point out his sins.
When they are unable to do so, they claim that it is the will of God. They advised Job to be humble and receive it. Their words brought more anger and disappointment in Job. Job calls them worthless Physicians who are only here to pass judgement.
As Christians, we are guilty of that at times. But we ought to know that the words of God are given to save people and not to harm them.
A Concluding Story
There was a preacher who debated with a unbelievers and that man is hardened in his heart. That man refuse to believe and in the middle of the debate he asked “Do you truly believe that all the words in the bible and all the instructions from Jesus? “
The preacher replied yes, and the man referred him to Matt 5:39
“But I tell you not to resist
an evil person. But whoever
slaps you on your right cheek,
turn the other to him also.” – Jesus (Mat 5:39)
Before the preacher could say anything, the man gave him a slap and he was in shock. So the man replied “Please do not be angry, but if you truly believe in the words of Jesus, please turn your cheek to me now”
The preacher replied “Well, I have this verse for you. Jn 3:36.”
“He who believes in the Son has
everlasting life; and he who does
not believe the Son shall not see
life, but the wrath of God abides
on him.”- Jesus (Jn 3:36)
The unbeliever was wise, and but as the preacher was showing him the scriptures, he let down his guard. Before he could finish reading, he received a punch in his stomach.
The preacher replied “Here is how the wrath of God looks like”
Both of these man know how to use the bible, but they use it only to teach and hurt others. They use it to vent their anger and frustration. This is not the right way to use the word of God.
Sometimes we behave just like these two me. But we need to know that God wanted people to repent and return to him. God wanted to save their souls and wake them from their slumber. Therefore we need to ask ourselves
“Are we using the word of God to help the ones in need?”
Let us learn not to use it merely to give others a lesson or to ridicule people. For if we do so are we suppose to be good or useless physicians?