CHAPTER FOUR: The Awesome God and His Word
Pastor (Dr.) E.O. Abina
It is important for all Christians who are heaven-bound and also want to enjoy serving God to acquaint themselves with the word of God and His promises. The air pilot cannot reach his destination without the help of the compass. So is the Christian who is making his/her journey to heaven. The word of God is not what a child of God should part with nor even in a day. As we need our daily food for physical strength, we need the word of God for our spiritual strength. The promises of God are the anchor of our soul. We must be familiar with them. They are not just in the Bible for fun. They have their purpose for us in our Christian life. May we be blessed through the study.
The Word of God And The Need Of It
The written and spoken word of God become necessary as a result of man’s rebellious act of disobedience to God which led to sin and consequently to his separation from God His creator. If Adam and Eve had kept their original relationship with God, we probably might not need the word of God documented to human beings and if there would be any need at all, it might not have been the form in which we have it today, in the sense that certain of its contents may not be needed. But because God wants to continue with man whom He made in His image and likeness, a book that contains His will and plans for man is necessary in order to sustain a continuous relationship with man.
The name or the word ‘Bible’ is derived from the Greek word ‘biblos’, which means ‘book’. The word of God in the Old Testament time was not in the compact form which we have it today. It was written in scrolls which should be carried, not as portable as we have it today. Both the Old and New Testaments were not written with chapters and verses as we have them today. People of God, filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom arranged it in chapters and verses for easy reference and study. We owe them appreciation for the job well done. It took probably years to make it the present form. Bible, the word of God contains many treasures that people of God need to get acquainted with God, His will and His promises.
Some Names of God’s Word
The Bible has several names by which all refer to the same word of God. We may need to know some of them:
Ø It is called the Book of the Law. Joshua 1:8; Neh. 8:
This Book of the law shall not depart from your mouth but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe 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
Ø In the Bible, the mind of the awesome God is revealed and if Joshua would incline his mind to it, he would succeed in the seemingly impossible task before him. We all need that.
Ø It is called The Holy Scriptures. John 5:39: “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me”. It is the Holy Scriptures because the Author is holy. The contents are also holy, those who study and adhere to its teachings will be holy as well. You need to study it to be holy too.
Ø It is called The Word of Life. Phil. 2:16: “..holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain”. It is the word of life because the life of God is in it and it has life transforming power for those who will study and obey it. You too can be one of them to experience its usefulness and value: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit and they are life.
It’s Description (Ps. 19)
Psalm 19 has a good number of descriptions for the word of God:
Ø It describes it as ‘Perfect’ converting the soul. It converts the soul of sinners who will read it, digest it and apply it.
Ø It also describes it as ‘Pure’ enlightening the eyes. You cannot read the word of God and still remain in ignorance. It will open your eyes to the things that are good that you may differentiate between good and bad.
Ø It is Effectual (Isa. 55:10,11): “For as the rain comes down and the snow from heaven and do not return there but water the earth and make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void but it shall accomplish what I please and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it”. This is the more reason why we should take the word of God more seriously. It should be noted that the word of God has both immediate and cumulative effects. Whatever the awesome God says, His word will do, it will certainly do it. God said to Jeremiah: “…I am ready to perform My word” (Jer. 1:12b). God will never let His word go without accomplishing His desired will. Take note of that. “God is not a man, that He should lie nor a son of man, that He should repent” (Num. 23:19a). He does what He says in His word.
- It is Enduring (I Pet 1:24,25): “…because All flesh is as grass and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers and its flower falls away but the word of the LORD endures forever.” The word had been written for some thousands of years now, yet, it still continues and will continue forever. The awesome God lives forever, His word lives forever and the people of God who are born again by the word will eventually live forever: “Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven” (Ps. 119:89).
Some Comparisons of the Word of God
The word of God is compared with some elements we see day to day in order for us to remember its usefulness for our spiritual life.
Ø Lamp (Ps 119:105): “Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path” You need a lamp to walk in the darkness, so also a child of God needs the word of God as a spiritual lamp that will enable him walk in this world of darkness without stumbling. There are many things in this world that can make Christians stumble but as long as we walk by the word, we will not stumble. It is a light to our path, that we might not miss the way of righteousness.
Ø Fire (Jer. 5:14): Therefore thus says the LORD God of hosts: “Because you speak this word, behold, I will make My words in your mouth fire and this people wood and it shall devour them”. In essence, the word of God works like fire, both to those who take it seriously and those who hold it with levity. To the former, it gives good result, to the latter, it gives a negative consequence because of their attitude to it. Unbelievers don’t want to listen to the word of God in that they will consider it as a curse to them when it hit their evil ways of life. For us believers, the word sometimes burns in our heart which of course, is a good sign. Like those two disciples on Emmaus road, who after the Lord Jesus spoke to them in one of His post-resurrection appearances said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” Next time you hear, read or study the word of God, do it with an open mind and you will see the result. When it burns in you, please do the right thing.
Ø Seed (Luke 8:11): “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God”. Because the word is seed, it has to be sown that is the reason why we should preach it. When we preach it, we sow it and when we sow it, it will germinate, grow and bring forth fruit. It cannot die, it is a living seed which will never die, it can be trampled but it will never die, it is the seed that cannot die. Sometimes, when we sow it we don’t see the immediate effect but that does not mean that it dies. It will someday germinate.
Ø Sword (Eph. 6:17): “And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”. Actually, the word of God is like a sword that pierces the heart (Heb. 4:12). In fact, Heb. 4:12 says it is sharper than a “two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit and of joints and marrow and it is the discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”. As a two-edged sword, it cuts both its speaker and the hearers, it is the discerner of man’s heart.
Ø Mirror (James 1:23-25): “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does”. There are a lot of lessons for us to learn from this passage that is so familiar to us. It teaches that:
Ø We should not be a forgetful hearer of the word.
Ø We should not be hearers only and fail to be doer, we are to be doers of the word.
Ø If we are doers, we shall surely be blessed, it is the doers that will be blessed.
Ø As a mirror, we should carry it along with us wherever we go as some women go out with a small mirror in their bags in order to check their face and physical outlook to correct and remove anything that uglifies so as to maintain the beauty. This is a good practice, never travel a day from your home without taking the Bible, the word of God with you and read it as you travel. Use it also to witness as you travel.
Some of What the Word of God Can Do
Ø Healing (Ps. 107:20): “He sent His word and healed them and delivered them from their destructions”. The word of God is able to heal and has healed many people. It is written in the word of God that “He (Jesus) was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him and by His stripes we are healed”. Some believers have taken the advantage of this particular passage and were healed from their sicknesses. The Bible even confirms that: “…He (Jesus) Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses”. That means the sickness on your body had been carried by Jesus on the cross. You can by faith claim that what Jesus carried two thousand years ago should no longer have a place in your body now. In one of Paul’s missionary journeys, when he came to Lystra there was a man who was cripple from his mother’s womb, who had never walked, heard Paul preaching the word of God and Paul observed that the man had faith to be healed, Paul said with a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!. And he leaped and walked” (compare Acts 14:8-10). The same thing can happen today if you have faith in the word for your healing.
Ø Liberty (John 8:32): “And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” The word of God is truth and it is God’s agency of freedom. It makes us free from the bondage of sin and religious rituals which are not relevant to us Christians (compare Col. 2:20-23). Make sure you receive your freedom from the authority of the word of God. God’s word is truth (John 17:17).
Ø Faith (Rom. 10:17): “So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God”. The word of God is the agency that produces faith in the heart of a good hearer. Sometimes, we pray that God should increase or give us faith, I think the best thing for one to do when one wants to increase one’s faith is to give more time for the reading, studying and meditating on the word of God, if you continue like that , you will find that your faith will increase. You can try this and see the result. It is not so much a matter of prayer. Where you need prayer in this matter is when you read the word like the psalmist, you pray: “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from your law” (Ps. 119:18). The word of God, the Bible, is our gold mine where we may dig like gold miners and discover many wondrous and precious treasures that money cannot buy.
Ø Wisdom (Ps. 19:7b): “The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple” You cannot be a student of the word of God and remain ignorant. The author is the source of all good wisdom. James wrote: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives liberally and without reproach and it will be given to him” This is a good advice for you. Ask for God’s wisdom in your ministry, business, job, career, leadership position, education and so on. You can be sure to get results. In the apostle Paul’s writing to Timothy, he commended him (Timothy) thus: “…and from childhood, you have known the Holy Scriptures which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus”. We don’t read the word of God for the fun of it. The young Timothy gave himself to the study of the word of God that gave him the wisdom to be saved. No wonder that when Timothy inclined his heart to the teaching of the Holy Scriptures, he became a servant of God whom the apostle Paul rated as a young man of “like mind” who cared for the affairs of the people of God, the Church (Phil. 2:19-23). He become the bishop of the Church at Ephesus. Our youth may borrow a leaf from this.
Ø Illumination (Ps. 119:130): “The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple”. God’s word sheds light into the heart of a serious reader and student of the word. It gives real illumination and offers meanings to its readers. It dispels the darkness in the heart and replaces it with divine illumination. If you need understanding, just consult the word of God and you will be satisfied, you will get what you need. Try it and see it.
Ø Joy (Jer. 15:16): “Your words were found and I ate them and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts”. The study and reading of the word of God should be the joy of every serious and heaven-bound Child of God. Whenever the hearing and study of the word of God becomes a burden to you, you need to check yourself, something is wrong with your spiritual life. The immediate solution to such situation is prayer and also the word coupled with your attendance at Church meetings. The word of God is not meant to make us sad. If at times it does, the outcome will be joy to the one who actually turns the right attitude to it. Check yourself, does hearing and reading the word of God bring joy or sorrow to my heart? Your sincere answer to the question will determine your next action to rectify or sustain the apparent condition.
- Regeneration (James 1:18): “Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of His creatures”. The word of God has the power of regeneration. No one can be born again without the word of God. The apostle Peter wrote: “having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (I Pet. 1:23). If you have not experienced being born again try the word of God, I assure you, you will see the difference.
What Should be the Believers Attitude to the Word of God?
Before we go into details of our attitude to the word of God, let us remind ourselves that our Statement of Purpose indicates GOFAMINT’s attitude to the word of God in that three times the phrase ‘word of God’ appears there thus: Preach the word of God, Teach the word of God, Live the word of God: Nothing could be clearer than this. Every child of God should develop the right attitude to the word of God in order to benefit from it and grow. The followings should be the believer’s attitude to the word of God:
Ø Delight In The Word (Ps. 119:16): “I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word”. Two things come out from this verse:
(a) to delight in the word of God: When a believer delights in the word of God, his studies and meditates in it day and night as in Ps. 1:2. And the result is that such believer “shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatsoever he does shall prosper”.
(b) not to forget: what you don’t forget, you remember and what you remember you do and doing it you are blessed (see James 1:25).
Ø Trembling (Isa. 66:2): “For all those things My hand has made and all those things exist,” Says the LORD. “But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit and who trembles at My word”. Believers should reverence God and the word of God as they reverence God Himself, perhaps one of the reasons why some believers are not blessed through the word is their negative attitude to the word. People who do not have respect for God’s word do not have respect for God Himself and they cannot prosper with that kind of attitude. The hearers of Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost and those that were blessed; were those who were cut to the heart (Acts 2:37a). Do not take the word of God lightly; the owner of the word is awesome.
Ø Search (Acts 17:11): “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so”. We often refer to these Berean’s attitude to the word of God, the reference is not as important as to cultivate their attitude. Two things are good here in this verse:
(a) They received the word with all readiness, we should be ready to receive it and check whether it is being preached or taught from the word of God.
(b) We should make a personal research into the word after hearing it.
There are several false teachers in our contemporary world. You don’t have to dump your sermon note somewhere until another Sunday when you will pick it. No, you need to go through it during the week to verify the authenticity and accuracy of what you heard. That was what the Bearan’s did and why they were commended better than the Thessalonians who met the speakers with opposition and persecution.
Ø Learning (Rom. 15:4): “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope”. A true child of God should belong to a Bible-believing Church as GOFAMINT where he or she will learn the word, grow by it and become a blessing to himself and others. You need to give yourself to the studying and learning of the word, I Tim. 4:15: “Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all”.
What The Word Does in a Believers Life
We cannot exhaust all of these because of our limited space but these few can help us in our Christian life:
Ø Restraint (Ps. 119:11): “Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You!” It was the hidden word in the heart of Joseph that restricted him from having illicit sexual affair with Portiphar’s wife (Gen. 39:9). Remember this saying by somebody: “This Book (the Bible) will keep me from sin or sin will keep me away from the book (Bible)”. Take note of that. Don’t let the word go, hide it in your heart.
Ø Guide (Ps. 119:133): “Direct my steps by Your word and let no iniquity have dominion over me”. In every area of our life, we should allow the word of God to direct us, in our job, business, marriage, trade, studies and every area of life’s endeavors, the word of God can direct us, when we look keenly into it.
Ø Standard of Conduct (Titus 2:4,5): “…that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed”. Believer’s negative attitude to the word of God makes unbelievers blaspheme God and His word. Conversely, believer’s positive attitude to the word makes unbelievers glorify God. Whether young or old, we should allow the word of God to be the standard of our Christian life (read also verses 6-14). We can still go on and on but what we have now is enough to bless us and make us grow. The word of God is able to provide every good thing you want to become in life.
Some Moral Lessons From This Study
1. We should not part with the word of God, it is very precious for us as children of God.
2. We can only know the will of God through the study of His word (John 7:17).
3. God communicates with us through the word of God, the Bible.
4. People of God filled with the Holy Spirit took pains to arrange the word of God (without tampering with the contents) in Books, Chapters and Verses for easy reference and study as we have it today. We should appreciate them though they have gone to be with the Lord.
5. Both the written and spoken words of God are essentials to our growth and blessings.
6. The studying or learning of the word of God is not an option for every child of God who would grow and make heaven.
7. The word of God has different names by which it is identified in the Bible but it is the same word.
8. The word of God contains both immediate and cumulative effects in the life of a serious hearer.
9. Because the word of God is a seed, we should be serious to sow it on daily basis; it will soon germinate and bear fruit.
10. As our gold mine, the word of God contains every good thing we want to become in life; you only need to dig into it. The deeper you dig, the greater your blessings and discovery. But you need faith to get the good results.
11. Read the word of God to get real wisdom and understanding.
12. On the Day of Judgment, the word of God will stand in favor of its doers and against those who neglect or object to it and are not its doers (Rev. 20:12).
Write in few words, your personal comments on this study and what is new to you in all the explanations: …..……………………………………………………………………