Summary: The Word is Your Life The Necessity of the Word, part 1 Deuteronomy 32:44-47 1. The Necessity of Listening to the Word (44) 2. The Necessity of Taking the Word Seriously (45-47)
The Word is Your Life
The Necessity of the Word, part 1
We are starting our fall series today, “The Word is Your Life,” three weeks to help us see how important the centrality of the word is to our lives. Today we will look at the necessity of the word; next week we will look at reading and meditating on the word; and then we will look at sharing the word with each other. My desire to teach this series came out of an article I read on bible illiteracy, the recent comment by Victoria Olsteen, and seeing those who profess Christ yet are making decisions contrary to the word and whose lives are strewn with wreckage. Today I want us to look at the necessity of the word to get a picture of how necessary it is for our very existence.
1. The Necessity of Listening to the Word (44)
Moses and Joshua are standing in front of Israel and reciting all the words of this song warning Israel not to neglect God. God uses words to communicate. The word is God's means of disclosing himself to us. It is the ultimate disclosure of Jesus to us and the Jesus is the ultimate disclosure of the Father to us. God communicates to us in words so that we can know him and communicate to him. If you want to know God the Father and Jesus the son you must listen to this word. It is also by this word that we know God's will. Notice that Moses recited all the words of the song. It is important that we pay attention to all the word, the whole counsel of God. If you are not giving yourself to this word, listening to God through reading this word, then you are not going to know him or his will for you. Moses recited all the words as a song which was a tool to help them remember it. Memory is a powerful tool in the hand of God and if you put this word to memory it becomes an invaluable tool in the hand of God. It can explode like a bomb in the moment of temptation to destroy the power of sin or it can be like an alarm that goes off to warn you of danger. Let me encourage you to commit it memorizing this word.
2. The Necessity of Taking the Word Seriously (45-47)
Moses tells Israel take to heart all the words he has spoken to them. Take to heart means to think about, to dwell on, and commit it to memory. There is this sense to weigh it carefully and thoughtfully and seriously. When we take something to heart we are giving it thought, engaging it, reflecting on it. When we choose to take the word to heart, we consider how it relates to me, then the Spirit applies it to the heart in a way that it changes our affections and desires. Are you taking the word to heart? I don't wake up every day full of faith and wanting Jesus. But I do understand the necessity of the word in my life and daily consumption to maintain my spiritual life. I take it to heart to rekindle my affections for God. But it is not just for us, we are to take it to heart to evangelize and disciple the next generation, Moses tells them to 'command it to your children that they may obey all the words of this law.' That speaks to all of us. All of us are to pass on what we know to the next generation.
Then he gives the reason to take it to heart and command the next generation, 'because it is no empty word, it is your very life and by this word you shall live long in the land.' Moses describes the word two ways. Negatively, the word is not an empty word, meaning it is not useless, ineffective, or without truth or power. Positively, it is your very life, meaning your very existence is found in it. In both the Old Testament and New Testament God's people are called by his word; he brings forth our salvation by his word; and he sustains us by his word. That is why Jesus said, “it is written man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” There are at least four truths with that statement. First, there is more to life than just our physical dimension, there is a spiritual dimension which transcends the physical. Second, the spiritual dimension takes precedence over the physical dimension. Spiritual life is eternal; this physical life is temporary. If you are only living for this life, you are going to have a rude awaking some day. It is our spiritual lives that puts this life into perspective. Third, food sustains physical life but the Word sustains our spiritual life. Notice he says every word, putting an emphasis on the whole word of God. Fourth, when Jesus said 'it is written' he was declaring that his life is found in and guided by God and no other voices, including Satan.