Live by the Word

When I was in high school, I had the privilege of visiting the United StatesHolocaustMemorialMuseum in WashingtonD.C.  The museum offers an incredibly moving experience, and is filled with three-plus floors of token items that survived Nazi Germany, as well as annals and memorabilia that endured World War II.  In addition, video footage from the time period is shown on multiple television screens throughout the exhibit. 

During my visit, there is one video in particular that I remember watching.  This video gave the tourist a synopsis of what it was like to live as a Jew under Nazi Germany rule.  It spoke of the 1920s and the inflation that inflicted the German national economy as a repercussion of World War I.  I specifically remember the narrator of the video talking about the scarcity of food, and how it literally cost thousands of dollars just to buy a loaf of bread. 

 


Can you imagine that?  Bread, one of the cheapest foods that you can buy in America today, was thousands of dollars (or quite possibly more.)  For these people, bread was an essential daily diet item, and it suddenly became a scarce commodity.  Their survival depended on the availability of food, and many died or suffered through malnourishment until death as a result of famine and empty pockets. 

As a spiritual parallel, I’d like to offer up this question: If the Word of God was taken from you today, how long could you survive...spiritually speaking? 

God’s Word is essential to our spiritual health.  Jesus said in Matthew 4:4 that “’People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”  It’s a reflection of the Old Testament sentiments of Joshua, as is written in Joshua 1:8:

8"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 success.”

So what’s the practical application of this idea?  I’ve broken it down into three categories that should help you as you utilize God’s Word to grow in your faith. 

 

READ THE WORD

The Bible is a book written by God Himself (along with the help of many divinely appointed men).  Paul writes to Timothy that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)  So apparently, the Word is important. 

But do we really treat it as though it’s something we can’t live without?   Do we meditate on it day and night?   Or do we leave our copies of the Scriptures on dusty shelves and in unopened smartphone apps? 

As believers, we must read the Word.  It should be a part of our daily practice of worship and devotion to the Lord of our lives.  Starving ourselves from the Word by deprivation will only lead to spiritual anorexia.  And this takes us in a direction opposite from what God desires of maturing believers.  (1 Cor. 3:1-3, Heb. 5:11-14)


HEAR
THE WORD

Hearing the Word of God preached and taught by others is constructive.  For some, an audible communication of Scripture brings new life to God’s story.  As we listen to the truth of the Word, God equips us for service and we gain the passion and encouragement we need to couple our faith with actions.  This pattern honors God, and as Jesus himself said in Luke “...blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice."

 

MEMORIZE THE WORD

Words are powerful.  They can unite nations.  They can destroy relationships.  The Word of God bears even more power.  So what could be better than putting God’s Holy Word into your heart and mouth?

Moses challenged the children of Israel to do this very thing.  As they wandered through the wilderness, he encouraged them with these words:

6 you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. 7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. 8 Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. 9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Juicing seems to be all the rage amongst health fanatics as of late.  I’m certainly no health freak, but if I were to use a citrus squeezer to squeeze a lemon, I would expect to get lemon juice from the lemon.  Not apple juice. 

The same can be said of us.  Jesus says in Luke 6:45: “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.”  We will be squeezed....we will be tested (by God) and tempted (by Satan).  If the Word of God is written on our hearts and rests on our tongues, we will almost certainly respond to our trials by ‘producing what is good.’ 

Therefore, it is profitable for us to memorize the Word of God.  It is beneficial to us for our purity, our prayer, and our power over Satan.  In times of need, the Holy Spirit will bring to mind verses that speak to our circumstances.  (Even while writing this devotion I have referenced several verses that I have memorized over my lifetime.)  But if we don’t attempt to memorize Scripture, we are like an unarmed warrior. A bow does one no good if there are no arrows in the quiver.

 

LIVE BY THE WORD

“12 For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” Hebrews 4:12

God’s Word is alive.  Read it.  Hear it.  Memorize it.  May God grant you a burning desire to be consumed by all He has to say in His Holy Book.  

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