The Word, the Word, the Word
"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away" (Matthew 24:35)
By David Berg
The Word of God is the most powerful truth on earth. Words that contain the very Spirit and life of God Himself (John 4:24). The Word is the spiritual spark of God that ignites us with His life, light, and power.
Reading, absorbing, and following the Word of God is the most important thing you can do. It's the Word that keeps you in tune with God and helps you to keep going God's way. It was only when Adam and Eve quit listening to God's Word that they got in trouble. (See Genesis 3.) When you listen to God and His Word, He always tells you the truth, and if you obey His truth, you'll be blessed and fruitful. (See John 15:11; 13:17.)
Faith in the Word of God is such a vitally important principle. That's what this entire era and age of grace is built on, faith in the Word. "For without faith, it is impossible to please God," and "faith comes by hearing the Word of God" (Hebrews 11:6; Romans 10:17).
Although God is a "very present help in trouble" who will "never leave nor forsake us" (Psalm 46:1; Hebrews 13:5), He deliberately remains largely hidden and unseen behind the veil of the spirit realm. Therefore He expects us, His children, to "walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7). Most of the time the Lord seems to let us more or less fend for ourselves with very little direct, visible, or audible intervention from Him or His angelic agents. He doesn't give us a whole lot of too-easy help of openly visible supernatural assistance. Instead, He leaves a lot up to us, and He expects us to gain the spiritual strength and faith that we need from His Word.
He wants us to eagerly absorb His Word for ourselves, and thereby gain the faith that we need to meet the needs and confront the situations which we continually face, which is why the Word is so important. It is the primary means by which we receive God's communication and are made aware of His will, and thereby receive the faith and strength to carry on for Him in this life.
Where is the first place we look to find the will of God? The Word. His Word is the known, sure, absolute, revealed will of God. So even if you never receive a revelation, you never hear a voice, you never receive a prophecy, you never have the gift of knowledge or the gift of wisdom, you never have discernment, you never have healing, you never have miracles or any other gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:8-10), if you'll just heed and follow His Word, you'll accomplish a whole lot for the Lord.
The Bible is the most wonderful, supernatural, miraculous, amazing, marvelous book in the whole world. It tells you where we came from, how we got here, why we're here, how to survive while here, how to be happy while here, and how to have love, joy, and peace forever.
Regardless of all the criticism, skepticism, and lies that its opponents may hurl at it, we know without a doubt that the Bible is true because we know its author. That's something nobody can disprove. Perhaps before you were introduced to the author, before you met the Lord, you didn't care much about the Bible and didn't know whether it was true or not. Maybe you never read it or didn't even believe in it. But now that you have found Jesus and have received Him into your own heart, you know His Word is true, because you know He wouldn't lie to you or tell you anything that wasn't right. Praise the Lord!
"Treasures new and old" (Matthew 13:52)
God has given His people the major basic information that they've needed from the very beginning. Then He's given more and more as history went on, until by and by, a few hundred years before Jesus came, He began to really tell the prophets what was going to happen. And then when Jesus came, with His apostles and the early church, He gave more details. All the time God has been giving more information and more details needed by man.
But what we have in the Bible today doesn't tell us everything. It does tell us the basics of what we really need to know. And in fact, it tells us a whole lot more than we really need to know for our salvation. It also contains a lot of very interesting and important lessons, showing how God deals with men--and how we should profit by their examples. Yet it also teaches us that even if we do fall, we can look forward with hope to God's mercy, praise the Lord!
There are a lot of folks who think, "The Bible's enough; that's all we need. God hasn't spoken since then; He doesn't speak anymore. He just shut up after He gave the book of Revelation to John, and we're not supposed to get anything else from God anymore." Thank God, He's not a silent God who shut up when the Bible was finished 2,000 years ago. He's a living God, a talking God, and He still speaks and has been speaking ever since then.--Talking to His people and His prophets and His children down through the ages, ever since the days of Jesus and His apostles and the early church. He's still alive and He still talks today. Hallelujah!
Jesus said, "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life" (John 6:63). His Word is the very life of God. That's what gives us spiritual life and food and nourishment and strength and health. Which is why a good, wholesome, balanced diet of His Word is essential if you wish to grow and stay close to Him.
Jesus Himself is called "The Word of God" in the Bible (Revelation 19:13; John 1:1,14). Jesus is the Word, He is the Spirit and the life, and you have to have a dose of Him every day, a good feeding and feasting and drinking, if you're going to grow and stay healthy spiritually. Just like you have to eat in order to have physical strength, you have to feed from the Word, drink of the Word, to have spiritual strength.
"As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby" (1 Peter 2:2). That's a picture of a baby who must have its mother's milk in order to live. Without receiving nourishment from the good, wholesome, nourishing, encouraging and feeding truth of God's Word, you will starve and eventually die spiritually. You have got to be fed spiritually or you will never grow up spiritually, you will never fully mature, and you will stay a spiritual infant or babe because you haven't properly fed from the milk of His Word. Just like a baby has a natural, instinctive, and irrepressible God-given desire to suck and draw the milk from its mother's breast, so we should hunger and thirst for the pure milk of the Word. If we are healthy spiritually, we should devour it, drink it in, and cry out to God for it just like a baby does for the milk of its mother.
The great prophet Jeremiah said, "I found Thy Words and did eat them, and Thy Word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart" (Jeremiah 15:16). Job said, "I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food" (Job 23:12).
There's nothing more important to your spiritual life than the Word. Because the Word is love, the Word is God, the Word is Jesus, the Word is everything. His Word is just that important.
Jesus said, "One thing is needful, and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall never be taken away from her" (Luke 10:42). What is the "good part" that Mary chose? The Word. She sat at Jesus' feet and listened to His Words. This is something that is so needful, so necessary, you've simply got to do it. To rest in the Lord and sit at His feet and hear from Him and His Word.
If you put the Word first, the Lord will always give you time somehow to take care of the other things. But you say, "I've got so many other things to do now and so much work to do, how am I ever going to find time to read the Word every day?"
If you get so busy with a little here and a little there that you don't have time for the Word of God, I'll tell you, you'll crack up that way. It's dangerous to neglect the Word. The minute you start crowding the Word out of your life, you are getting too busy. You can't just let things slide and get so busy with other things that you neglect your inspiration, the spiritual food and nourishment that you need from the Word.
Of course, once you have a good feeding, a good meal, you can get pretty full and be satisfied for quite a while. But pretty soon you need another one. And it's the same way with your spiritual food; you need to regularly take time with the Lord and His Word to make sure you get your spiritual food and inspiration. Try to set aside time each day in which you can quietly commune with the Lord through His Word. When you see the difference it makes in your walk with the Lord, you'll wonder how you ever got by without it.
"Open thou mine eyes" (Psalm 119:18)
Did you know that you can read the Word, but hardly get anything out of it? People can sometimes read passages over and over, and it just doesn't sink in. The Bible says, "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Corinthians 2:14). Unless we read the Word in a prayerful and receptive attitude, looking to the Lord and His Holy Spirit for guidance, it can be difficult for us to understand some things.
Unless the Holy Spirit reveals some things to you, enlightens your mind, you can be blind to certain truths that have been right there in front of you all the time. But if you earnestly pray, as David did, "Open thou mine eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy Law" (Psalm 119:18), the Lord is faithful and will answer your sincere petition. Ask the Lord to "give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in knowledge of Him, so that the eyes of your understanding will be enlightened," and you won't be disappointed. You will indeed behold wonderful things from His wonderful words. Praise the Lord! (Ephesians 1:17-18).
A lot has to do with your desire to hear from the Lord and your hunger and receptivity. "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled. For He hath filled the hungry with good things, but the rich (full) He hath sent empty away" (Matthew 5:6; Luke 1:53). If you read His Word prayerfully, and sincerely ask God to guide you, He always answers the hungry heart.
So much has to do with your attitude. The Scribes and the Pharisees of Jesus' day were fluent in scripture. They knew it by heart; they copied it all the time by hand. But because they were self-satisfied and self-righteous, they were anything but "hungering and thirsting after righteousness," and their hearts were hardened and their spiritual ears were deaf and they were devoid of understanding. They resisted the truth of the Word that they read, and truth resisted loses its power over the mind, and they didn't even realize how spiritually alienated they were from the Lord.
But if you sincerely seek the Lord as you hungrily read His Word, He will speak to you through it. And the more dearly you begin to love His Word and the more you study it and feed from it, the more you will grow spiritually and the more you will find that God can speak to you clearly and directly through His written Word.
When the Holy Spirit quickens a passage or a verse to you, applying it to your personal situation, it brings the Word to life. The Lord will bring His Word to life as you read it and give you answers to your problems and prayers. When He applies it to a situation, it suddenly becomes alive. It's no longer just mere words, but all of a sudden it hits your heart and you really get the point. "The entrance of Thy Word giveth light; it giveth understanding to the simple" (Psalm 119:130).
"Study to show thyself approved unto God" (2 Timothy 2:15)
The more you study the Word, the more it will become a constant source of pleasure to you--a source of enjoyment, inspiration, encouragement, edification, information, and continuous guidance. Real study time is not only reading time, but also listening to God time. When you begin to stop, look, and listen to the Lord's recorded written Word, you are immediately putting yourself in the position of being willing to listen, so then the Lord can begin to speak to you and give you His living Word.
To feed from the Word and spiritually graze in the green pastures by the beautiful still waters of His Word that He has for you (Psalm 23), you need to bear in mind what my teacher used to tell me in typing class, that the most important thing is not speed but accuracy. When you're reading the Word of God, it's accuracy that's important.
So read the Word carefully, prayerfully, and thoughtfully. You can miss a lot of the meaning, the real depth of what the Lord's talking about, unless you stop to think about it and apply the Word to your personal situation, and ask, "How is that true and how is that so?" Not with a questioning or a doubtful attitude, but one of faith, knowing that you can learn even more if you search further and dig deeper.
He says, "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15). If you will diligently and prayerfully labor in His Word, He will greatly reward you, and you will agree with David, who exclaimed, "Thy Word is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver" (Psalm 119:72).
Effects of the Word of God
The Word of God always has an effect. No one can hear or read the Word of God without being somehow influenced. Everyone who hears the Word is affected one way or another. Here are some of the dramatic effects that reading and living in the Word will have.
GIVES LIFE AND VICTORY
"His delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season" (Psalm 1:2-3).
The wonderful water of God's Word can revive you even if you seem to be spiritually dead. Even if you've neglected it for a long time, if you'll only drink it in again, you can again become beautiful and fruitful. Just as we've seen seemingly dead trees, shrubs, plants, and gardens which were utterly barren and lifeless and leafless spring to life and become productive again when properly watered, so the water of His Word can bring you, though spiritually withered, new life and virtual resurrection if you will soak in His Word.
No matter what's wrong with you, if you'll just read the Word with an open and receptive heart, it will get you straightened out. It's reading the Word that kindles the desire to change in your heart--because you will be inspired, revitalized, renewed, invigorated, challenged, enthused, and filled with faith from His Word.
The Word is the secret of victory or defeat. It's the secret of success or failure. It all depends on how you treat the Word, and how you live in it and live on it, or try to go on without it. That's the secret. The secret of power and victory and overcoming and fruitfulness and fire and life and warmth and light and leadership is the Word!
Jesus told us that His words should abide in us, and that "as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in Me" (John 15:4,7). So in order to have the strength to do our job for the Lord, we have to spend time getting filled up with His Word. As the old saying goes, "You cannot do the Master's work without the Master's power." And to get it, you must spend time with the Master, feeding from His Words.
Even getting out the Word to others is not as important as getting into the Word yourself first. We need to get the Word in as well as out. Otherwise, you'll never have the spiritual strength and stamina that will sustain you, unless you yourself are drinking in the Word and being spiritually nourished and strengthened by it yourself first.
"Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17).
Every word you read gives you more faith, strengthens your faith, and drives away your doubts and fears. Faith is not something you can try to have. It is something that is built by faithful study of God's Word. You have it because you're full of the Word of God.
The best way to encourage your faith is to bury yourself in the Word of God. Encourage your faith with His Word and hang on to the Lord and you won't have to try to hang on to your faith, because it will come automatically. "Faith comes by hearing the Word of God"; it's an automatic thing. Just read His Word and you will believe.
"Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you" (John 15:3).
The only way to be thoroughly cleansed from the spiritual stench of the old stinking soiled clothes of your past life and your old sinful self, is a good bath in the pure water of the Word to thoroughly wash away all the old pollutions and any further desire or taste for them.
So if you need cleansing, go to the washing of the pure water of the Word, and let His truth cleanse you and rid you of all the filth and hogwash of this world and your own sinful heart (Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 12:2). "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to Thy Word ... Cleansed with the washing of water by the Word" (Psalm 119:9; Ephesians 5:26).
"The law of his God is in his heart, none of his steps shall slide" (Psalm 37:31).
He says, "Henceforth ye should no more be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine. But be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord" (Ephesians 4:14, 1 Corinthians 15:58). If your faith is founded on God's Word, it doesn't matter how you feel; you know the Word is still the same. God's Word is still just as effective and unchanging regardless of your feelings. And it is your faith in the Word that counts and will pull you through in times of severe trials or tests. "For this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith" (1 John 5:4).
The Word of God is your spiritual ballast. If you retain the Word in your heart, and your faith is founded on the Word, they will preserve you no matter what you may go through. Even though you may sometimes be weakened, you will still stand if you keep on God's firm foundation of faith, balanced firmly with His Word.
"The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God" (Ephesians 6:17).
The Word of God is our spiritual sword that drives away and defeats the Devil every time we use it. When Jesus Himself was tempted by the Devil, He fought back with the Word. (See Matthew 4:1-10.) So when the Enemy comes around, take out your sword and whack away. Just bury him in a flood of truth, and he and all of his doubts and fears will flee. Sock it to him with the sword of the Spirit! The Word! That's the stuff that victories are made of!
"Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path" (Psalm 119:105). When you fill your mind with the Word of God, you don't have room for the darkness. So fill your mind with the light of God's Word, and the darkness will flee.
"The Word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).
When witnessing to others, never underestimate the power of the Word. There is absolute power in the Word of God. It is only the sword of His Spirit which is sharp enough to pierce the hardest armor, so that the warmth of His Spirit of love can flow into their empty hearts.
His Word is the most powerful weapon in the world, sharper than any two-edged sword, sharper than any weapon on earth. It can do more than split atoms; it has greater power than the hydrogen bomb! For it can even divide asunder the soul and the spirit of man. And can change hearts and change minds and win followers to Christ and His cause.
There's so much more that we could say about this marvelous subject of God's wonderful Word, but suffice it to say, the more you live in the Word, the closer you'll be to the Lord, and the more blessed and fruitful your life will be. Praise the Lord! So let's keep the connection strong with His Word and His Spirit, His truth and His love, in humility and obedience. His words encourage and feed our souls. God is continually kissing and encouraging us with His words to reassure us that He still loves us. Do you kiss His wonderful words? Absorbing the Word, living the Word, preaching the Word, practicing the Word, and teaching others the Word? If so, God will mightily bless you, and you'll be eternally thankful and rewarded. Praise the Lord!