Summary: This is an overall encouragement to be good stewards of God’s Word by hearing it, learning it, and using it.
August 21, 2005 The Stewardship of the Word
Several weeks ago I went to the Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl with my kids. The movie producers tried their best to capture the attention of the audience through three dimensional images. After about the first three minutes of enjoying the images, I realized that this movie just wasn’t going to cut it. It had to have one of the most atrociously boring story lines ever.
This shows me that even with all of our attention on visual special effects, our value of words is not completely lost. They are still important and they still have power when they are used correctly. God’s Word addresses the usage of words.
Proverbs 10:19 When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.
Proverbs 18:4 The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.
With all of the talk shows and radio programs today, we can tell that there is no lack of people using words today. Tons of books are still being written. Many movies are still being made. But the movies aren’t selling like they used to. Not all talk shows make it. Not all books are smash hits. Why? Because the words that are spoken - even with images - still have to make some sense and have some meaning behind them.
Think about what a commodity we have in the Bible then. This is God’s eternal Word - God’s powerful Word. When God speaks, it has to be powerful because of the nature of the speaker. Think of creation for instance. God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky.” (Ge 1:14) In the blink of an eye there were billions of stars, the sun and the moon all by just saying, “let there be.” Wow. There’s some powerful words.
What is just as awesome is when God puts His words in men’s mouths. One story that struck me is when a man of God went to speak against the king of Israel - Jeroboam. Here this risen slave had come to power and decided to set up golden calves at Dan and Bethel. As a result, 1 Kings 13:1-5 says,
By the word of the LORD a man of God came from Judah to Bethel, as Jeroboam was standing by the altar to make an offering. He cried out against the altar by the word of the LORD: “O altar, altar! This is what the LORD says: ‘A son named Josiah will be born to the house of David. On you he will sacrifice the priests of the high places who now make offerings here, and human bones will be burned on you.’” That same day the man of God gave a sign: “This is the sign the LORD has declared: The altar will be split apart and the ashes on it will be poured out.” When King Jeroboam heard what the man of God cried out against the altar at Bethel, he stretched out his hand from the altar and said, “Seize him!” But the hand he stretched out toward the man shriveled up, so that he could not pull it back. Also, the altar was split apart and its ashes poured out according to the sign given by the man of God by the word of the LORD.
Notice throughout this story what is emphasized - the Word of the LORD. When the man of God spoke the Word of the LORD, those words produced results.
God’s Word - throughout the Bible - touts itself as having that kind of power. One passage that I have the confirmands learn is Hebrews 4:12 - For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Another popular one is Isaiah 55:10-11 - As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. God’s Word claims to do miraculous things - even raise the dead! Therefore we sing in a Mighty Fortress that one little Word can fell the devil.
If only we believed it. If you really believed this with all of your heart, you would read your Bible every night. It would come before television and even homework. You would say to yourself, “I need to memorize this Word.” You would wait on the edges of your seats for the readings every Sunday. Unfortunately, this is what we know. A majority of you do not read your Bible every night. You do not listen tentatively during the readings. You complain about memory work. You don’t even know your Ten Commandments. You consider Bible class to be too early in the morning. What is worse, is that you expect God to be proud of you because you made it through confirmation years and years ago. You think that you already know enough of the Bible because you know what the difference is between the humiliation and exaltation of Christ. Your actions confess to the LORD that you don’t really believe His Word is all so powerful after all.