Thus saith the Lord

Paul writes to his “son in the faith” in 2 Tim 3:16

16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness

All Scripture is God-breathed (Gr. θεόπνευστος). Not only did God choose to breath the universe into existence as we read in Ps 33:6 – “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth,” but God choose to breath out Scripture. Scripture is not a product of man, but of God. 359 times do we read these words, “Thus saith the Lord.” It is God-breathed and thus carries divine authority and is profitable for the guiding of both faith and life.

The Holy Bible

Concerning faith it tells us in whom to believe, the one true God of the Bible, in what to believe, His Holy truth. Concerning life, Peter explains it best in 2 Pet 1:3 – “everything pertaining to life and godliness.” All that this life entails for the believer, everything under the sun, and more importantly walking in “the newness of life” (Rom 6:4), we have been provided with the sufficient and sustaining power to manifest godliness, holiness, and obedience to His precious Word.

The church cannot simply give lip service to this great doctrine, but must weave this great thread of truth into the fabric of church governance and living. Depending on their “diet,” it may take a church body a while to attain to a high view of Scripture. Just “think in every line you read that God is speaking to you” is what the Puritan pastor Thomas Watson would say to us.

To this day, we only transmit what we have received. The human authors received their message directly from God. Jeremiah testified, “the word of the Lord came to me” (Jer 1:4). God put His words in his mouth (v. 9). Paul did not “confer with flesh and blood” (Gal 1:16). He received his message directly from the Lord. The Apostle John was explicitly told, “what you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches” (Rev 1:11). Though no apostles exist today, we continue that same level of commitment to transmit only what we have received. I love the practical advice Paul gives to the church at Corinth, “learn not to exceed what is written” (1 Cor 4:6).

At times we may have to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints” (Jude 3) because of the culture we live in, but we must be faithful to declare to all, “thus saith the Lord.”

It begins in the pulpit. It is lived out in the attitudes of the people as they remind one another that our opinions or feelings are not the end-all, but it is what God has revealed in His Word that matters. Truth matters. May God instill in us a greater love and appreciation for His Word and may we be faithful to not “turn aside to the right or to the left” (Deut 5:32), but to “observe to do just as the Lord” our God has commanded us, for His glory, for His Name’s sake.

The Superior Supernatural Weapon

What comes to mind when you think of the Word of God? Listen to the author of Hebrews describe the Word of God in Hebrews 4:12

12 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.

It is living and powerful. It likens the Word of God to a two-edged sword. In fact, it is described as “sharper than any two-edged

sword” – much sharper than any sword on the face of the earth. That makes it the superior supernatural weapon that has been placed in our hands. Men have died by God’s sovereign providence for you and I to possess the Word of God in our hands. It comes as no surprise that God preserves His Word. “The grass withers, and the flower falls off, but the word of the LORD endures forever” (1 Pet 1:24-25).

But beware, my beloved, the Word of God cuts and it cuts deep. It pierces. It penetrates. It divides. It exposes. It judges; it discerns.

Less you think of a battle sword used by William Wallace, which was said to measure 4 feet 4 inches (132 cm)

Machaira Sword
Machaira Sword

in length, this sword is different. The Greek term used here is μάχαιρα (machaira). It was short, much like a dagger. It was this kind of sword that was carried by those who came out to arrest Jesus (Matt 26:47). It was the same kind of sword that was used by Peter to cut Malchus’ right ear off (Jn 18:10). It was commonly used for execution and dreadful bloodshed. It was also the common weapon of choice to carry while traveling, usually in a sheath (cf. Jn 18:11). It was the Apostle Paul who would later make use of this sword to speak of the Sword of the Spirit (Eph 6:12). Small, easily carried, but a powerful spiritual weapon nonetheless. There was even a Jewish saying: “he who utters the Shema is as if he held a two-edged sword.”

 

To what end? What is this superior supernatural weapon able to do?  To pierce “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.” Consider the following words from the Biblical scholar and theologian Brooke Foss Westcott (1825-1901) –

The Word has unrivaled keenness: it pierces in fact to the most secret parts of man; and that not as an instrument merely but as a judge of moral issues. It is sharper than the most formidable weapon of earthly warfare: it finds its way through every element of our earthly frame: it scrutinizes the affections and thoughts of which our bodily member are the present organs…The Word of God analyses, lays bare, reveals in their true nature, reduces to their final elements, all the powers of man.”

It is to be embraced by the believer for it humbles us with a true knowledge of ourselves and causes us to run to throne of Grace when we are presented with convicting truth. The Word of God not only pierces but penetrates to the very inmost core of the individual, into the innermost heart. It produces conviction, unfolding to us in the light of truth where we are wrong, where we are wicked in our thoughts and desires. This is that “destructive energy” (Brown) of the Word of God. It is the deathful energy of a two-edged sword. Imagine a sharp sword dividing bone and marrow. Talk about intense pain. God’s Word builds us up and tears us down – building up in our weakness and tearing down where we are prideful. The Word of God encourages us, uplifts us, comforts us. Yet it also humbles us, convicts us, brings us to the end of ourselves. It is a dangerous enterprise to be exposed to Scripture.

The Scottish minister and theologian John Brown (1784-1858) rightly said –

He who is exposed to it is in a situation far more hazardous than he into whose vitals a sharp two-edged sword seems just about to be plunged.”

So why expose yourself to such danger? Why embrace such a superior spiritual sword to do its work in our lives? Because where God cuts and prunes, He promises to heal and produce fruit (cf. Jn 15:2). As the Word of God is living and active, may God revive our hearts to His will and purpose in our lives, never becoming cold or dead in our affections for His powerfully efficient, all-knowing, penetrating Word of God. Pray like the psalmist in Psalm 143:11a

11 Revive me, O Lord, for Your name’s sake!