The powerful living Word

The Word of God includes the very sayings of God given to us in the Bible. The Bible contains God’s written revelation—all that He has chosen in perfect wisdom to reveal to us through words. In the Bible we hear of the gospel story—how God rescued His people from their sins, redeeming them through the death and resurrection of Jesus. In this great love letter, God reveals His character to us throughout the Old and New Testaments. God has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge given in His Word (2 Peter 1:3). 

As the Israelites entered the Promised Land, God gave this command and promise: “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have good success” (Joshua 1:8). The God of all knowledge assures that goodness will flow from studying His Word. Do we truly understand the power of the Word?

We have the breath of God at our fingertips—His every promise and declaration of love. 

So many times we question why God cannot simply speak to us, like a friend can to another friend. But we forget that God has spoken—and is still speaking—through His Word. Why are we not reaching for His Word in every moment? How can we love Him who we do not know, and how can we fully know His love if we do not seek His voice?

As the earnest words of our God, the Bible is so much more than a book: “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). The imagery of a sword demonstrates the immense power of the Word, as God reaches our souls and hearts through His word. Through the Spirit, the Word of God is indeed living and active in our lives (John 6:63). 

The power of the Word is demonstrated in the ways Jesus relies on Scripture. As the devil makes false claims and twists Scripture, trying to cause Jesus to sin, Jesus repeatedly responds with Scripture to fight temptation (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10). Jesus also looks to Scripture at His betrayal and crucifixion, finding strength in the truth of God’s promises (Matthew 26:53, Matthew 27:46). Jesus, the Word made flesh, argued from one of two sources throughout His earthly ministry—His own authority, or the authority of God’s Word. If the Son of God has such confidence in the Scripture, how much more should we put our trust in the Scripture!

Psalm 119 reveals many more reasons why we must cling to God’s Word—meditating on it day and night, falling in love with His commands so that they become our only delight. As the longest chapter in the Bible, Psalm 119 focuses heavily on the Word of God. The psalmist is continuously driven to praise God as he marvels at the Word. Among other themes, he reacts to the word with recognitions of freedom, wisdom, and hope. 

On the surface, it is easy to feel restricted and confined by the many commands found in the Bible. However, Psalm 119 reassures us that only by following God’s commandments can we experience freedom in full. “I run in the path of your commands, for you have broadened my understanding” (Psalm 119:32). Some versions translate the second half of this verse, “for you have set my heart free.” Both variations testify to the way God’s commands have a freeing effect, opening one’s eyes and heart. 

Furthermore, through Jesus’ death and resurrection, believers are covered by the righteousness of Jesus, who has stood in our place and fulfilled the law (Matthew 5:17). God’s righteousness requires perfect obedience of us, and we have all failed this call (Romans 3:23). Feeling discouraged by the commands of God’s Word reflects a recognition of sin, but we have hope in our Savior who gives us life. Rejoice, believer, and find freedom in the Word of God!

The one who dwells on the Scripture will find godly wisdom and guidance. “Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me” (Psalm 119:98). The psalmist is not claiming a self-righteous attitude; rather, he is declaring the wisdom of God above all earthly powers. In the same way that Jesus committed Scripture to mind, using it in times of weakness, we can be made wise by God’s commandments. 

The psalmist also describes the word as “a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). As God has revealed His divine will through the Scripture, we can look to it for guidance as we walk through life. He who knows all things will lead and light our ways according to His goodness. We would be foolish to walk without seeking this perfect light.

Throughout this chapter, the psalmist often repeats the phrase, “I hope in your word” (Psalm 119:81, 114, 147). By the unchanging word of God, believers can find assurance and certainty in God’s love and the salvation that comes by His love. “Your promise is well tried, and your servant loves it” (Psalm 119:140). The writer testifies to the truth of God’s everlasting promises, having experienced the wonders of the Word. He further declares, “great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble” (Psalm 110:165). 

Believers are instructed to let the Word of Christ dwell in us richly (Colossians 3:16). By seeking the freedom, wisdom, and hope given throughout Scripture, we experience the riches God has bestowed upon us. 
It may not always be easy to read or understand Scripture; yet, knowing the worth of the living Word, we must lean upon our God and His decrees. When you find it hard to love God’s Word, join me in praying earnestly, as the psalmist prayed. Ask the Lord to open your eyes, to grant understanding, and to make His Word your true delight. Rejoice in the promises of Scripture—in the freedom and joy that flow from such promises. Affirm the power of His commands and the faithfulness of His truth.

A Prayer Through Psalm 119

My heart stands in awe of your Word. 
Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day. 
I love your commandments above gold,
Your testimonies are the joy of my heart. 
You are always my hiding place and my shield,
I hope in your Word. 

Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. 
Make me understand the way of your precepts, 
and I will meditate on your wondrous works. 
Strengthen me according to your Word. 
Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it. 

I remember your name in the night, 
At midnight I rise to praise you. 
This is my comfort in affliction.
I hope in your Word. 

My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, 
that I may meditate on your promise. 
I rise before dawn and cry for help; 
I hope in your Word. 

Forever, O LORD, your Word is firmly fixed in the heavens. 
Every Word of yours endures forever.

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