Summary: God’s Word has no equal. It is a transforming, life-changing, eternal Word.
The Unchangeable, Irreplaceable, Timeless Word of God
Introduction - Memorized scripture @ Hanoi Hilton
When Howard Rutledge’s plane was shot down over Vietnam, he parachuted into a little village and was immediately attacked, stripped naked, and imprisoned. For the next seven years he endured brutal treatment. His food was little more than a bowl of rotting soup with a glob of pig fat --- skin, hair, and all. Rats the size of cats and spiders as big as fists scurried around him. He was frequently cold, alone, and tortured. He was sometimes shackled in excruciating positions and left for days in his own waste with carniverous insects boring through his oozing sores. How did he keep his sanity?
In his book, In the Presence of Mine Enemies, Rutledge gives a powerful testimony as to the importance of scripture memory. Some excerpts follow:
“Now the sights and sounds and smells of death were all around me. My hunger for spiritual food soon outdid my hunger for a steak. Now I wanted to know about that part of me that will never die. Now I wanted to talk about God and Christ and the church. But in Heartbreak solitary confinement there was no pastor, no Sunday-school teacher, no Bible, no hymnbook, no community of believers to guide and sustain me. I had completely neglected the spiritual dimension of my life. It took prison to show me how empty life is without God, and so I had to go back in my memory to those Sunday-school days in Tulsa, Oklahoma. If I couldn’t have a Bible and hymnbook, I would try to rebuild them in my mind…
“How I struggled to recall those scriptures and hymns! I had spent my first eighteen years in a Southern Baptist Sunday school, and I was amazed at how much I could recall. Regrettably, I had not seen then the importance of memorizing verses from the Bible, or learning gospel songs. Now, when I needed them, it was too late. I never dreamed that I would spend almost seven years (five of them in solitary confinement) in a prison in North Vietnam or that thinking about one memorized verse could have made the whole day bearable.
“One portion of a verse I did remember was, ‘Thy Word have I hid in my heart.’ How often I wished I had really worked to hide God’s Word in my heart. I put my mind to work. Every day I planned to accomplish certain tasks. I woke early, did my physical exercises, cleaned up as best I could, then began a period of devotional prayer and meditation. I would pray, hum hymns silently, quote scripture, and think about what the verse meant to me.
“Remember, we weren’t playing games. The enemy knew the best way to break a man’s resistance was to crush his spirit in a lonely cell. In other words, some of our POWs after solitary confinement lay down in a fetal position and died. All this talk of scripture and hymns may seem boring to some, but it was the way we conquered our enemy and overcame the power of death around us.” (Excerpts from Nelson’s Complete Book of Stories, Illustrations, & Quotes, Robert J. Morgan, Pp. 57-59)
God’s Word radically changes lives through Jesus Christ. Let’s examine the first aspect of God’s Word.
THE VARIETY OF SCRIPTURE 16a "All scripture"
The Word is Intellectual
It has history, poetry, & prophesy. It details the past without any error and predicts the future without any mistakes. It describes in prose and poetry every situation in life. The elite can’t understand it but the simple lives for it.
It is Emotional
The Word describes our anxieties, depravity, pride, humility. It encompasses and understands our every emotion in life. God has already been there and knows our situations.
It is Spiritual
God exposes our sinfulness and provides His righteousness through Jesus Christ. It is THE ultimate book on our spiritual lives.
Ill – WWII & Jacob DeShazer
Mitsuo Fuchida was the pilot in charge of one of the most successful aerial attacks in recorded history. Under his command was a squadron of 860 specially selected pilots, & on Dec. 7, 1941, Fuchida’s squadron bombed Pearl Harbor.
He quickly became one of the most highly decorated pilots in the Japanese air force, & the one most hated by the American forces. That included Jacob DeShazer, a young B-25 bomber pilot who longed for the day when he would be able to pay Japan back for what they had done.
One day that opportunity arose as DeShazer became a part of the very first bombing raids over Japan. But after dropping his bombs on the city of Nagoya, DeShazer lost his way in the heavy fog & was forced to bail out when his plane ran out of fuel.