The Bible is the Word of God – not many people that I know would argue against that statement. But the Bible is not His only Word. You’ve heard the philosophical question that goes something like, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?” Certainly, physicists and engineers would argue that it does. But we don’t need a calculation to prove it to be true. God spoke his word into the void, and it was heard! God’s Word truly is The Most Powerful.
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. (Genesis 1:3)
We are most familiar with words being delivered as either spoken or written and we receive them by hearing or seeing. But, regardless of how the word is delivered, we don’t fully receive it until we understand it. I am confident that God has delivered words directly to me that I never received because I did not comprehend that they were, in fact, words from God. Most likely I was listening more closely to my old man, also known as distraction.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. (John 1:1-5)
I think I need to establish what exactly I am talking about by “receiving” and “comprehending” God’s word. I am referring to times when, for example, I read a scripture like Luke 16:9 “And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings.” Here, God’s word – in fact, a direct quote from Messiah – was delivered to me through the scripture; I received it, but I do not (yet) fully understand it. I know that with prayer, meditation, and studying the context, I would be able to comprehend it. And one day that will happen. Until then, that word delivered to me has little value.
And, I am also referring to times when God delivers a word to me that is not a scripture. There have been a few times when He has “spoken” to me. Sometimes I heard the word but did not comprehend it until it was too late to act. Upon reflection, I realized that God was speaking to me, prompting me to some action, and I was too slow to realize it. Other times I did hear, understand, and act. Acting on God’s word is the “goal,” but, to use a soccer analogy, recognizing it after some reflection is the “assist.” In other words, practicing our ability to identify the words God delivers to us – even if the identification comes too late – is how we draw closer to Him. Practice.
But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. (James 1:22-24)
Sometimes a memory of someone suddenly comes to mind for no apparent reason. That could be the Word of God speaking to you, prompting you to connect with that person. Have you ever heard a “Word” like that? Did you act on it? Were you a Doer of the Word? In connecting with that person, you very well could be the answer to a prayer that they had sent up.
What are other ways God’s word can come to us? How many ways does God speak to us? A friend of mine was recently feeling discouraged, so he decided to step into a church to hopefully “feel the presence of God.” The choir was practicing and the hymn they were singing immediately lifted him up and his discouragement evaporated. He told me, “That song was exactly what I needed to hear.”
Surely you’ve witnessed a beautiful sunset, unable to take your eyes off it. Or, the low, full sun illuminating a distant grove of trees with a contrasting blue sky. Or the invisible song of a bird filling the space around you with a sound you could never reproduce. Undoubtedly, something in nature has grabbed your attention and caused you to stop what you were doing and acknowledge the beauty before you. In Genesis 2:9, God created trees that were beautiful to look at. Why?
The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; Their voice is not heard. (Psalms 19:1-3)
The rest of that psalm is so beautiful. You really should read it – right now… The Heavens are telling us of the Glory of God without using “words!” The beauty of the sky is a declaration of His great work. Is it even possible to explain to someone how great God’s creation is using just words? I think you need some graphics to help! Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words… When we experience something beautiful, is it God’s Word, declaring His glory?
Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:11-17)
Someone once pointed out to me that, of the implements making up the armor of God we are given here in Ephesians, the only offensive weapon we have is the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. I always took comfort in that, knowing that having scripture written on my heart and mind are the weapon I get to use against the adversary. That was one incentive I had to read my Bible! But, I am seeing that the word is not only the scriptures. My weapon to attack the spiritual forces of wickedness is the Whole Word of God! The beauty that surrounds me, the giggle of a baby, the smell of hyacinth, the taste of honey, the warmth of a hug, a majestic waterfall, and whatever else stimulates my senses, declaring the glory of His creation, are all implements I get to use for defeating the spiritual enemy. So put on the armor of God and join the fight!
Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:2)
Peace to you and glory to God!