When someone refers to ‘the word of God’, an image of a Bible appears in my mind. However, in the last week, I’ve come to realise it’s so much more. The Bible itself is just a ‘thing’. Something that can be held, tossed around, ruined by water, burnt by fire. There is nothing powerful about the Bible itself as an item. The real strength lies in the words God speaks. It is His words, found in the Bible, that hold power.
God Speaks, It Happens
It’s recorded in Genesis that God created order out of chaos, just by speaking. He speaks – it happens. The simplest of Bible truths is found in Psalm 33:6:
“By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.”
Another example of the power in His words is found in Psalm 29:3-9.
We read the awesome impact of God’s speech. A great storm sweeping through Israel at His voice, breaking cedars, spitting flames and making the hills skip like young colts. He speaks – it happens.
God’s words can be powerful and destructive, but also gentle and caring. He promises His people in Exodus 19:5 that if they obey His voice they will become a peculiar treasure to Him above all people. The same is on offer for us. If we obey His voice, we also become part of His treasure.
Why Doesn’t God Speak Directly?
So, if His words are so important to us, why doesn’t He speak to us directly? Wouldn’t that be easier?
The problem lies in our mortality. Just as we are unable to physically see God and survive, not all of us are capable of dealing with the power of His voice. Exodus 19:16 describes His voice as thunders and in verse 19, as trumpets. The words of God searched the children of Israel’s hearts in thunders and trumpets and they pulled back from the mountain, trembling in fear. It was that unbearable that they begged Him to stop. Moses then became the messenger between God and His people.
Ezra was another messenger. In Nehemiah chapter eight, the people asked Ezra to bring out the Law of Moses to read. They listened to God’s words from dawn until noon. They were absorbed by it, thirsty for more. They were so affected by God’s words that they were in tears by the end of it.
The Almighty creates new men and women, just by using His words. Those who let His voice touch them will be strengthened and blessed with peace – Psalm 29:11. God has used a long line of prophets to speak to us, including His son – Hebrews 1:2.
In every part of our lives He is speaking to us, so that we can be transformed with peace and righteousness. Are we listening?
God’s Word Is God’s Voice
We have no prophets now, but we have access to God’s voice by reading the passages found in a Bible – the tool He has given us to hear His words and the only use it was intended for. If we read because of status, or to be the most knowledgeable of our peers, we are misguided. That isn’t its purpose.
Ezra read God’s words to know Him, and to show others the marvellous things he’d learnt.
Jesus was the same. But he didn’t just have a deep interest for the words of God. He was the word of God.
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” John 1:14 (NIV)
Jesus Is God’s Voice
What does this mean? It means we can also hear what God is saying to us by studying Christ’s life. His life will give us answers to any question we may have. When we’ve digested the word of God, the finished model will be our Lord.
And the digesting part is important. If we’re going to listen to God’s voice, we need to make sure we are really listening, taking in the word: fully digested. Not just being ‘tickled about the ears’ at a lovely phrase, but letting the words sink into the depths of our hearts.
God has said He will fill the earth with His glory. He speaks – it happens! We know we can be part of this plan because the Almighty of heaven and earth, the creator of all things, has taken the time to speak to us; organisms, destined to die, with nothing of value to offer in return.
He speaks – and we listen, glorifying Him in thankfulness.
“Every Scripture passage is inspired by God. All of them are useful for teaching, pointing out errors, correcting people, and training them for a life that has God’s approval.” 2 Timothy 3:16 (GOD’s WORD translation)