Turning Points Magazine & Devotional

June 2024 Issue

Faith Keepers

From the May 2023 Issue

God Speaks Through His Word

Online Exclusive: From This Point Forward

God Speaks Through His Word

Time for some numbers that make your chin drop—at least they did mine: The number of words swirling around us on a daily basis. I picture it like a massive swarm of locusts that blackens the sky for hours on end. Except, in our case, we’re talking about endless swarms of words instead of insects. And because so many of the words are digital, we don’t see them until they land on our devices. But they’re there—at this very minute—billions of words swarming in the air, through cables, and over phones.

How many words? It’s impossible to say, of course. But we do know something about the number of vehicles that carry our words:

  • In 2022, 333.2 billion emails were sent daily.
  • In 2017, about 82 billion texts were sent daily (including those sent on third-party messaging apps).
  • In 2012, 6 billion cell phone calls were made each day (not counting calls on wired/landline phones still used in most business settings).
  • Add to these billions the numbers of books, newspapers, and websites read daily, and personal conversations engaged in, and the word count goes out of sight.

We are made in the image of God who is a God of words.

Who knows how accurate these numbers are? No one. But we don’t need exact numbers to get the point: Our world is awash in spoken and written words.

People of Words

Walk into an upscale restaurant-bar on a Friday night in an urban business district and you might need earplugs. Besides the blaring music, small groups of people will be seated and standing, struggling to make their words rise above the din. It’s people drowning in a storm of words.

Now, travel to the plains of Africa during the Great Wildebeest Migration—more than a million wildebeest, zebras, gazelles, and other animals moving from Tanzania’s Serengeti to Kenya’s Masai Mara in search of food and water. Walk among the animals and listen for words being spoken. Not a single one. You’ll hear lots of animal sounds, but not a single word.

Many things separate humans from animals, but perhaps the most important is our ability to speak—to reason, explain, and communicate with words. Human beings are people of words.

This is no mystery. We are made in the image of God who is a God of words. Theologian Francis Schaeffer put God and words into context in the title of one of his books: He Is There and He Is Not Silent. But God didn’t break the silence of the universe with noise, He broke it with words: “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3). And God continued to speak, primarily through His prophets on earth, until the coming of His Son: “God … has in these last days spoken to us by His Son” (Hebrews 1:1-2).

God has made it abundantly possible for us to hear Him speaking to us through His Word.

It is no surprise that the apostle John referred to Jesus Christ as the Logos (Greek for “word”): “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 were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:1-3).

We were created to be people of words—but not just any words: “But by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

People of the Word

Like shavings of iron to a magnet, we are drawn to words. We can’t help ourselves! As people of words, we find it almost impossible not to listen or read when we are in the presence of words. And therein lies our greatest challenge.

You’ve seen pictures of ancient and modern farmers tossing their grain harvest in the air, allowing the wind to blow away the lightweight chaff (husks) so the heavier kernels of grain can remain and be collected. That’s our task when it comes to words—separating the wheat from the chaff. If we make a diet of verbal chaff, we will suffer spiritual malnutrition.

And this is no small task. Winnowing the words of life from the billions of pieces of verbal chaff swarming around us every day is challenging. But there is an easy place to begin. We must become people of the Word. We’re already people of words; but we must separate the life-giving words from the rest. And we do that by becoming people of the Word of God.

Proverbs 14:15 says, “The simple believes every word, but the prudent [the wise] considers well his steps.” The simple, naïve, fool believes everything he hears; the wise person measures what he hears by the infallible standard of Scripture.

Psalm 19:7-9 says that the Word of God is perfect, sure, right, pure, clean, true, and righteous. That cannot be said of the countless words circulating through us and around us every day in this world. Psalm 119 offers 176 verses that illustrate ways to integrate the Word of God into one’s daily life—an illustration of the admonition of Moses to fathers about integrating God’s words into their children’s lives (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).

In other words, God has made it abundantly possible for us to hear Him speaking to us through His Word. God began speaking in the Garden of Eden, spoke all the way through the Old Testament through His prophets, manifested His Logos (Word) in the person of Christ, and inspired the writing and collection of all of it in the Bible.

The first place we should turn to hear God speaking to us is His Word.

People by the Word

People of the Word ultimately become people shaped by the Word. There are two reasons this happens.

First, because the Word of God—unlike any other collection of words in the world—is alive: “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” (Hebrews 4:12).

God’s Word never fails to accomplish the purpose for which it is given to man (Isaiah 55:10-11). Just as there was light when God said, “Let there be light,” so God’s Word is living and powerful in the lives of those who embrace it. The purpose of the Word of God is to reveal who we are in our deepest parts—soul and spirit, joints and marrow, thoughts and intents—and who we can become as we are conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29).

If we will embrace what God shows us as we read His Word, then we will be changed to conform to His Word—the second point: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).

Imagine sitting down to have a conversation with God in which He tells you what to believe (doctrine), to point out the error of your ways (reproof), to set your feet on a proper path (correction), and to guide you into a life of holiness (instruction in righteousness). That “conversation” happens when we read the Bible. The Holy Spirit opens the eyes and ears of our understanding to help us see and hear what God is saying to us through the living and powerful Word.

That’s how we become people who hear God speaking to us about our marriage, our children, our finances, our priorities, our values, and every other dimension of life. We become like the man described in Psalm 1: “He 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 whatever he does shall prosper” (verse 3). How does this happen? By delighting in God’s Word, meditating on it day and night (verse 2).

Are you as active in the Word of God as you are with email, texting, tweeting, Internet sites, and all the other ways words come to you daily? If not, you will never hear God’s voice as clearly as you need to. You will never separate the chaff from the grain. Commit yourself today to delighting in the Word of God. Let it be the diet of your life. Let God speak to you daily through the written Word of God.  

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