The Life-Giving Word

Michael Beck

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God has life-giving words to give us, especially when we are afflicted. In our affliction, we are to pray. (“Is any among you afflicted? let him pray.” James 5:13) Prayer involves both talking to and hearing from God.

I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O LORD, according unto thy word. (Psalm 119:107)

My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word. (Psalm 119:25)

This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me. (Psalm 119:50)

Plead my cause, and deliver me: quicken me according to thy word. (Psalm 119:154)

Hear my voice according unto thy lovingkindness: O LORD, quicken me according to thy judgment. (Psalm 119:149)

Great are thy tender mercies, O LORD: quicken me according to thy judgments. (Psalm 119:156)

quicken > Hebrew verb – chayah > KJV – live 153, alive 34, save 13, quicken 14, revive 12, surely 10, life 9, recover 8

God led the nation of Israel and His own Son into a trying wilderness.
The desert is a place of death if no sustenance is found. God promises to keep us alive If we will hear what He has to say to us.

And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. (Deuteronomy 8:3)

But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4)

word > Greek – rhema > that which is or has been uttered by the living voice; a saying of any sort as a message concerning some occurrence

The fresh manna that Christ would give us keeps us in life-giving connection to God.

It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. (John 6:63)

Though we may have begun to walk with Jesus, we depart from Him when we refuse to hear the word He would speak to us today.

From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. (John 6:66-68)

Where the specific word that Christ would speak to us is not received, Christ Himself is rejected.

I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.
And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. (John 12:46-48)

Jesus characterized His sheep as those who heard His voice. (John 10:27) The religious of His day prided themselves on their knowledge of scripture, but they refused to hear the personal word God had for them.

He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. (John 8:47)

Christ is the Logos of God. He is the Sum Total of all God’s Wisdom and Truth.
In His fullness is hidden all that God would have us know. As He quickens His Word to us, we receive “of His fullness.

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth … And of his fulness have all we received … (John 1:14,16)

In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Colossians 2:3)

We honor God when we seek out His truth that is hidden in Christ, and desire to be led into all truth by His Spirit.

It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter. (Proverbs 25:2)

It is honorable (“noble) to seek out doctrinal truth from the Word of God.

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word (logos) with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. (Acts 17:11)

Jesus told the Pharisees that if they weren’t willing to honestly investigate the whole Word (logos) concerning Him, it was doubtful they would receive any specific Word (rhema) He had to give them.

For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.
But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words (rhema)? (John 5:46,47)

The scriptures are given, not only to ground us in orthodox doctrine, but to establish our attitude and actions in His righteous ways.

And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:15-17)

Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (Psalm 119:9-11)

Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me. (Psalm 119:133)

The leading of the Holy Spirit is vital to our growth. We are to pay attention to (i.e. “mind) what God would say to us by His Spirit.

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (Romans 8:5,6)

The Lord’s word to His sheep is always designed to lead them into paths of righteousness (i.e. God’s standard of right). If they’ve gone astray in any way, it restores them to the right track.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. (Psalm 23:3)

From the whole word of God, the Spirit of God quickens to us the word of correction, comfort, or encouragement we need to hear.

I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. (Ps. 101:2)

While Martha received Jesus into her house; by hearing His word, Mary received Him into her heart.
While Martha was distracted by “many things,” Mary focused on hearing the specific word that Jesus had for her.

Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. (Luke 10:38-42)

part > Greek noun > meris – 1) a part as distinct from the whole; 2) an assigned part, a portion, share

A general knowledge of God or His Word (knowing “many things”) is a poor substitute for knowing the “one thing needful.” The custom-tailored part we hear when we’ve sought God’s counsel is indelibly stamped on our soul and will not be taken from us.

For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it? (Jeremiah 23:18)

I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me. (Psalm 119:93)

The quickened word we have sought, found and marked becomes the joy of our heart, and the faith we live by.

Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart … (Jeremiah 15:6)

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word (rhema) of God. (Romans 10:17)

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.