Summary: Why did the author of Herbews conclude a section on resting in the Lord with some words about God's Word?
“The Road to a Better Life: Living On the Cutting Edge”
It happens so often. I’ll sit back and turn on the news, largely because I want to catch the weather and sports reports. It’s not long before the weather report comes on, and the next thing I hear is the news anchor thanking me for watching! I’ve awakened to realize I’ve missed what I tuned in to hear! Then, of course, when I go to bed I have some trouble getting to sleep! It all has to do with how to enter into a good rest.
Hebrews, chapters 3 and 4 is all about resting - resting in the Lord. And near the end of the discussion there are some unexpected words about God’s Word. The author knew God’s people needed to discover a whole new lifestyle - called resting in the Lord. And He knew that the Word leads us to that discovery. WE CAN ENTER THE REST OF GOD BY SUBMITTING TO THE CUTTING ACTIVITIES OF THE WORD. Read again verses 12-13: “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. Nothing in all creation is hidden form God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Like a surgeon’s knife, the Word of God penetrates the depths, judges the heart, and exposes the truth.
God’s Word, first of all, PENETRATES THE DEPTHS. “..It penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow…” Whenever the Word is heard - be it through preaching, reading, speaking, singing - it penetrates deep into the recesses of our being. LIKE A DOCTOR IN SURGERY, THE WORD PROBES OUR DEPTHS. It cuts into and through what nothing else can; it goes where nothing else can go. It pierces to the very core of our life.
According to Hebrews, the Word even differentiates between body and soul, between the flesh and the spirit. We are often confused about how we feel, or think, or act; we question our reactions and motives. But the Word clarifies definitively, as nothing else can do. That’s why Phillips translates ‘penetrates’ as “to the innermost intimacies of a man’s being.”
NO SURGEON CAN DO WORK ON OUR SOUL. There is no surgical procedure that can correct a bad attitude, open a closed mind, change a lustful heart, alter a rebellious spirit, refocus a judgmental eye, or clear a clouded soul. These are all soul things and only the Word can penetrate and change them. Listen to this letter from the files of the Gideon’s Bible ministry.
“One winter morning in San Diego, after I had wandered many miles along the waterfront, in a daze, I turned my steps wearily toward my hotel room. I had been drinking heavily for weeks. My mind was tortured by the thoughts of the wife and four children whom I had deserted. Just yesterday, it seemed, I had been a radio executive, in charge of two radio stations. The home in which we lived, Beverly Hills, the cars, the servants--the things money and social position can provide for a man and his family--were just a memory. I had dragged my family down with me until they were living in a little hovel, and then, I had deserted them. I had suffered a complete nervous breakdown and, worst of all, I had completely lost my voice. For a year and a half, I had not been able to speak one word aloud, each effort to talk was just a whisper. The future held no promise. I opened the door of my hotel room and flung myself into a chair in utter despair. My gaze fell upon a (Gideon) Bible on the floor. In a distracted sort of way, I picked it up and started to read. Old familiar words I had learned as a child, words of life, quick and powerful, leaped out of those pages and found their way into my heart. I fell to my knees, and spread the Bible upon the chair, and made a vow that I would not leave that hotel room, if I died of starvation, until there came into my soul a knowledge that my sins had been forgiven, until I knew that I passed from death unto life. With a surge of joy, I realized that God's promises were even for men like me. In that hotel room, I found Calvary's Cross; there I laid my burden down; there, the old man died, and a new one was born. From that place I walked in newness of life, a new creature in Christ Jesus, praise His Name! God straightened things out between my wife and me, and today she and I and our four children are back together again. The "peace that passeth all understanding" has loosed the taut nerves and muscles which had prevented normal speech, and God gave me back my voice.” The writer went on to become "First Mate Bob" on the long-time religious radio show "Haven of Rest." (1)