Hebrews 4:12 "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart."
Recently I have seen the Lord speak to me some very specific things just through normal, plain and simple Bible reading. They have been such critical words for me, and I've been reminded how important it is to spend time with God in His Word.
We heard on Sunday an exhortation to value and use God's Word, which is our only weapon in our battle against the devil, whose aim is to defeat us in this life to pull us down and away from God, through sin and discouragement.
The Bible says, the Word of God is living and active. What does that mean? I believe the answer to that question decides whether the power God has given in His Word is available to me in my daily life.
Here in the U.S., when a family pet - say a beloved cat or a dog passes away, many times the family gets that pet cremated and stored in a wooden box with that pet's name on the box. They may bury it in the yard, or they may even put it on a shelf as a reminder of the good memories and the part of the family it was.
Before the pet passed away - the family pets the animal; they play with it, they feed it, they talk to it, they listen for it. But after it passes away and the pet is cremated and put into that box; they don't go and interact with the pet anymore. The box sits there as a memory.
What’s The difference between a living pet and one which is not living? INTERACTION
A CURRENTLY LIVING WORD
It's the same with the Word of God. It is part of my life TODAY, and it speaks to my need today, and it has real answers for my real temptations and sins and problems today. I don't look to "learn facts", but I look to God to speak to ME through it for things that are going on with me currently. It directs me and tells me which way to go and encourages me along the way - because it's really God speaking to me directing me and lifting me. I appreciate the Holy Spirit speaking to me, which He does - but He speaks through His Word, and the written Word first; so I can tell which His voice is. There's A LOT of voices we hear everyday (our flesh, our feelings, the devil, the world), and we have to know which one is really of God.
2 Peter 1:18-20 says the "most sure voice" is Scripture - God's written Word. And it says that it's more sure than any voice thundering even if we hear it from heaven.
I heard a phrase, "Why do you need a voice when you have a verse?" God has mainly spoken through His Word first, and from that as the foundation the Spirit can speak to me:
John 14:26 "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you."
There's no command in Scripture that we have to read the Bible every day. But I think having that as a general goal and discipline (even just reading a little bit - without being condemned if we miss a day) is a really good goal to have - because it opens up the opportunity for God to speak to me from His Word, and speak to me words that I need.
I have a sin or struggle or issue, some worry or temptation - and I read God's Word or, listen to a message, etc - I come to it and I EXPECT the Lord CAN AND HAS TO give me something for my situation. And so I read expecting Him to help me - LOOKING for His voice to me in there, to guide me, to convict me - for God to talk to me.
This is the INTERACTION that makes God's Word living to me.
I’ve seen God regularly give me Words I need through just reading the Bible; not any formal studying of it necessarily - just reading through it, like a cow grazing grass eating little by little. And I can testify - His word is LIVING. It’s not just for yesterday, or tomorrow. God sees into my life, all intimate details no one knows, and He speaks through His Word. And then I get a new course of action, or mind or attitude or encouragement on something that no one else could give me because nobody knows my situation like God does.
That’s what living means - I interact with it TODAY. It’s not on the shelf collecting dust like a box with ashes of a pet that passed away.
Every day we have needs. When you come to God's Word - come expecting He will say something that you need. Keep your eyes open. Say, “Speak, Lord, I'm listening.” The default for most people is - bottle everything in, or call some friend, or hire a therapist, or search for answers on the internet - ANYTHING but God's Word!! That’s because most see God's Word as dead, not living - "Someone ELSE has my answers."
One question that has sometimes come to my mind is; "What about all the saints who had no Bible, like those for 1500 years after Jesus, before the printing press was invented?"
I believe the real question is what we do with the Word we have. Not every faithful Christian has had a Bible. But whoever the true saints are - I know that they've clung to that Word which they did have, and devoted themselves to it, and studied it, and lived by it, and looked for God in it. One example I saw recently was not only before the printing press was invented, but it was actually before the New Testament was even written! - Timothy's mother (and grandmother) had enough of God's Word to teach Timothy and ground him in it, and it resulted in his salvation - and she didn't even have the New Testament!! We read about this in 2 Timothy chapters 1 together with chapter 3:
2 Tim 1:5 "For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well."
2 Tim 3:15 "... from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. "
Timothy's Mom was devoted to God's Word, and passed that on to her son - an incomplete Bible. It was God's Word, but it wasn't finished yet - and it was still able to save BECAUSE OF HER ATTITUDE TOWARD GOD'S WORD. I know many faithful, godly Christians had no Bibles at home. But I know that whatever Scripture they did have, they treasured it. And if they did have a Bible, they would have treasured that.
I was also challenged by the story of a young girl named "Mary Jones" who lived in the 1700 and 1800s, and worked from the age of 10 for SIX YEARS, working odd jobs to earn money, teaching herself to read, and then going on a dangerous journey 26 miles long, barefoot, to buy a Bible for herself, which she kept for her lifetime. Her story inspired a man to start a foundation for Bible translation, production and distribution (the British Bible Society), which still exists today. I'm humbled by the zeal this little girl had for God's Word.
Lastly, I also remember what it says of Paul as he was going about his Christian life and ministry:
Acts 18:5 "But when Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul began devoting himself completely to the word, solemnly testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ."
Paul devoted himself to God‘s Word.
So I’m challenged by his example, and many faithful before - many who had no Bibles, but were zealous for God's written Word, and clung to what they had for their daily life. I want to feed off of Scripture regularly to change my life and bless others and, and I expect the Lord to speak to me for my specific situations from it.