Ps. 119:14 – “I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as [much as] in all riches”
Ps. 119:16 – “I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word”
Ps. 119:18 – “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.”
Ps. 119:20 – “My soul breaketh for the longing [that it hath] unto thy judgments at all times.”
1 John 2:5 – “But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.”
Do you long for an intimate relationship with God?
You cannot have an intimate relationship with God without having an intimate relationship with the Word of God. I have heard Christians who treat the Word as though reading it were only an intellectual thing, and if you really want intimacy with God then you find that in worshipping Him. They base their relationship with Him on the feelings they have and emotional experience while in a time of worship. But what is worship?
I truly believe that you cannot know true worship without an intimacy with the Living Word, through His written Word. As we come to know His Word, interacting with Him there, and it touches our heart, our response is a true worship of heart back to God, adoring Him, surrendering to Him, being cleansed by Him. Our heart joins His heart. All barriers are removed.
For anyone who has the Holy Spirit living in them, the Word of God, the Bible, is not a dead letter. It is not something we study with our minds apart from the Holy Spirit. It becomes alive as we read it. It speaks to our hearts, drawing us closer to the very heart of God, enabling us to understand the heart of the one we love, as we choose to believe and surrender to that Word. True worship comes as we are able to interact with that Word.
If you were in love, how would you act if you got a letter in the mail from the one you loved and longed to be with? You’d sit down with that letter as if nothing else mattered, and read it, and read it over again, and again, cherishing the words that were spoken to you by your loved one. The Bible is the love letter from the lover of our soul, revealing His very heart and mind to His children. As we sit down and read it, His Spirit begins to interact with us, making it a personal Word to our hearts. We respond to it, out of love, surrendering our own hearts back to that Word, becoming more acquainted and intimate with the one we love.
We cannot ever divide the Word and the Holy Spirit. They are one. Some think themselves more spiritual for their spiritual experiences or gifts. But they hardly know the Word. They don’t think it important when the Word is misused, abused, or twisted, just as long as there is some spiritual high they are having. But if spiritual experience doesn’t come from a fresh revelation from the Word of God to our hearts, making a love for that truth that has given us life, a love we cling to, then what is our experience? What has it taught us? His Spirit and His Word are one, and will never contradict the other. His Spirit will never work outside of His Word. He has given us that Word so that we can know Him. We can know His very heart and mind through His Word, by His Spirit. Without the one you cannot have the other. Without the Word, you cannot really know the Spirit, and without the Spirit, you cannot really know the Word.
“Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” John 14:23
One very sure mark of one who loves God, is a deep love for God’s Word. A deep desire to become more and more acquainted with and surrendered to all He desires will grow in your heart. The more you set yourself down in front of it, the more that desire will grow. His Word will be like the richest food at a great banquet. Some Christians treat it as though it were the brussel sprouts their mother made them eat, that they learned to eat for their health but found to be very distasteful. They’d rather go on to the desert. But – “More to be desired [are they] than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.” (Ps. 19:10) How sweet His Word is to those who have His Spirit!
The Lord gives us a rich balanced meal. More satisfying to the soul than anything else could be. As we study the whole counsel of God, we have all that our soul needs to be nourished and strengthened and delight in. Then our fellowship with other believers is enriched, our corporate worship is enriched and meaningful, and pure, and our walk with the Lord is strengthened.
Abba, I pray for that richness and intimacy in our relationships with Your living Word, that we may be daily engaging in, and not neglecting, that we may truly know You, our Living Savior.
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:12,13
“You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” John 15:3,4
As I wrote about in last week’s devotional, reading God’s Word is more than an intellectual experience. I’d like to talk about the slaying power of the Word, or the cleansing power it has. As we read His Word, which is living and powerful, our hearts are challenged. Our deepest motives are exposed. We find that it pierces our hearts with conviction, cutting out sin, exposing thoughts, intents, cleansing, purifying, making a stronghold for God Himself in our heart, as He casts down vain imaginations, and footholds of satan in our lives. We become rooted, grounded, and established in Him, His Word firmly gripping our hearts now, as we surrender our selves to it’s slaying and cleansing power.
As we read it, at times it is painful, but as we yield ourselves humbly before His Word, and let it cut through and expose our flesh and cut out sin in our lives, we are cleansed and set free. We must never run away from it. Oh, we are so often afraid to face it, or reluctant to hear what it says. But if we come there before His Word, we allow it to slay all that is of our sinful self, and make our hearts a place where God is pleased to abide.
In the Old Testament the brazen laver was symbolic of our sanctification…. the water in the laver was our cleansing through the Word of God. The priests knew that they could not go into the Tabernacle to serve unless they first washed in the brazen laver, for God had said, “they shall wash with water, that they die not.” Ex. 30:20. Their sins were atoned for at the brazen altar, which made it possible for them to approach the Tabernacle in worship, but first they needed to stop at the brazen laver and wash all the defilement and dust from the Tabernacle court from off their bodies.
Jesus told us that every branch that bears fruit must be purged so that it might bring forth more fruit. Then He said to them, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.” John 15:3. As we sit before His Word it is our daily cleansing from the dirt and grime of this world, that we might be sanctified, cleansed, and set apart for the service our Lord is preparing for us.
Jesus illustrated this to His disciples when He washed their feet. (John 13:1-10) Peter didn’t understand what Jesus was doing and said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, ‘If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.’” Peter’s relationship with Jesus had already been established, but Jesus was letting him know that he must wash him in order to have fellowship and communion with Him. The blood of Jesus has cleansed us. We are saved by Him and are His children, but must be daily cleansed and purified from the grime of this world we live in, its influence on us, and from our daily sins.
"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8-9
From David Levy’s book “The Tabernacle, Shadows of the Messiah”—“When the priests washed at the laver, they saw their images reflected from the brass mirrors used in its construction. We have already seen that brass typified Christ in His ministry of judgment. The mirrors spoke of the Word of God, which reveals and reflects our sinful purposes and intentions. The writer of the Book of Hebrews put it well when he wrote, ‘For the word of God is living, 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’ (Heb. 4:12). On the day of judgment, Christ will judge people on the basis of the Word of God (John 12:48).”
Let us come before His Word today and let it cleanse, and purify our hearts before Him that we might be sanctified, and prepared for His service. Abba, draw us to that cleansing Word, and let it have it’s way in us. Help us not to shun it when it is hard for us to face it or when it pierces our hearts. Enable us to stay there until Your Word has had it’s full way in us, yielding to it all the way.
Revelation 21:5 - "...and He said to me, 'Write, for these words are true and faithful."
What a blessed assurance it is for us to know that everything spoken in the Word of God is faithful. We can count on His Word. What He says He will accomplish - ALWAYS!
Isa. 55:11 - "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."
God puts no higher value on anything above His Word. Should we? What is your value of God's Word? What place do you give it in your life?
Ps. 138:2 - "For You have maganified Your Word above all Your name."
Prov. 30:5,6 - "Every Word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His Words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar."
Sometimes we put more value in our own word, or the word of other people who mix God's Word with a little of the world's philosophy, maybe to take the "bite" out of it and make it a little more palatable to modern man. But that is not a faithful word. That word is a faithless word that will prove to be false. Those who put their trust in God's unchangeable, faithful Word of truth will not fall, and will not be ashamed. He'll prove His Word to be faithful by being faithful to them that keep it. He is always faithful to His Word of truth, as we keep it, believe it, and walk in it. His faithfulness is then manifested in us and to us, and through our lives. Our faithfulness in keeping His Word is only because of His faithfulness to His Word in being all in us according as He has promised.
1 Thess. 5:24 - "He Who calls you is faithful Who also will do it."
Heb. 10:23 - "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering. He Who promised is faithful."
The faithfulness of the written Word is the faithfulness of the Living Word - Jesus, (John 1:1). They are one and the same. To deny the faithfulness of the written Word is to deny the faithfulness of Jesus Himself.
He is faithful to His Word regardless of our faith or faithfulness. What He says He will do. It can be counted on. We know His Word will not fail or pass away until all is accomplished.
2 Tim. 2:13 - "If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself."
If we have such a faithful Word, how serious it is if we neglect it! What a treasure we are neglecting and ignoring as though it were unimportant. We pursue other things in this world, earnestly, as if they will give us fulfillment, when all along the faithful and true Word of God is a treasure just waiting for us to open and dig into. Our lives are enriched by it, as we do. We will find it faithful in all it promises, as we yield our hearts to it . Others lives around us are also blessed by the Word in us, as we are able to speak words of life and edification to them.
Shouldn't we be all the more earnest to heed His Word?
Heb. 2:1-3 - "Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the Word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him."
But let us look at the promise for those who put their trust in that faithful Word...
Ps. 125:1 - "Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever."
And we will abide forever with Him, having put our trust in the faithfulness of His Word. It is sure! It is His promise!
Abba, our Father, God, we ask for grace to be faithful to the written and living Word, that You may be seen faithful in us, being glorified through us.
Psa 107:20...."He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered [them] from their destructions."
Our Creator knows us inside and out, and knows all that we need to be whole. It is He who provided for that wholeness in Christ alone. We cannot be healed of all our soul's distresses aside from the cross of Jesus Christ. We are complete in Him alone.
Col 2:10..."And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power"
It is through the Word of God, reading His Word, believing it, receiving it into our inner beings, trusting it, and letting our minds be renewed by it, that we find healing/salvation to our souls. Through all His Word and promises, we are finding escape from the corruption of this world which causes evil desires, anxiety, stress, self-centeredness, depression, etc.
2Pe 1:3..."According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."
We try many of the different philosophies of this world to find peace and healing to our troubled souls, but we find it only draws us more inward, makes us more self-centered, and though in ways it may make us feel better or temporarily happier, it does not bring the wholeness to our soul that can only come from the cross. It does not give us the sound mind to stand against all adversity. Psychology seeks to strengthen "self," but the cross will put it to death, and in its place fill you with the fullness of God's everlasting life, here and now.
Col 2:3,4..."In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words"
Col 2:8-10..."Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:"
As we take in God's Word, we find it is more than mere words. It is more than a philosophy for us to believe. It is more than a way for us to think. We find as we put our faith in those Words, they are alive and powerful to change our lives, mold our hearts, heal our souls. This is so because of Him Who speaks the Word. He is trustworthy to make whatever He speaks powerful and true and sure. He cannot lie. It is He Who has the power to make those Words life to us.
I've shared this in other devotionals, but will here again. When I was going through severe depression and irrational fears, I made a tape of scripture, reading on both sides of the tape portions of God's Word that told me of His promises for me. I would listen to the tape all day as I went about my work, and the more I listened the more built up I became in my inner being. Those fiery darts of the devil soon became little pings that bounced right off my shield of faith. Not because of anything I did, but because I had the truth of God's Word in my heart and mind, and his lies could not penetrate. I was healed.
In another incident in my own life, I was having overwhelming depression, and feelings that I would lose my mind. Fears were overwhelming me. I was near blacking out and layed on my bed. The Lord began to pour scripture promises through my mind. One by one, His promises flooded me and as they did I was strengthened and soon in place of darkness and fear and gloom, I was filled with faith, and joy and wholeness. With His Word spoken to my heart, He healed me.
Jesus did this when He was tempted in the wilderness. When the devil said one thing, Jesus would answer by saying, "It is written..."
The devil knows his only way to defeat us is to get us to believe his lies. If we will but fill ourelves with God's truth, he has no weapon against us. God's Word takes the place of all the lies and darkness in our soul and fills us. Our minds are renewed by it, and we are kept in perfect peace.
Isa 26:3..."Thou wilt keep [him] in perfect peace, [whose] mind [is] stayed [on thee]: because he trusteth in thee."
That's what being filled with God's Word does. It causes us to trust in Him. As we trust in Him, His Word is powerful in our hearts and minds. There is no philosophy or thought, or weapon that can defeat it. He gives a sound mind to those who are filled with His Word. We begin to think as He thinks. We see things as He does, and not as the world does.
That is why, I believe, Paul admonished us to be filled with the Word as we teach one another and speak and sing to one another. He knows it is the Word that heals and brings life, and spiritual health and edification.
Col 3:16..."Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord."
If you are experiencing darkness of the soul at this time, turn to His Word. Fill yourself with it! Flood your mind with what God says, instead of all the voices of gloom and doom that come from the enemy, the world, and your own negative thinking. Let His Word richly dwell in you. I promise you, if you do, you will be healed, and you will be able to stand in the face of all adversity. His Word is healing! His Word is powerful! His Word is our life.
Abba, bring the power of Your Words today in someone's life who reads this, and heal them. In the name of Jesus our Savior I ask it. Amen