|The Importance of God’s Word|
|Posted on:||2015-01-21 01:45:15|
“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God, “when I will send a famine on the land— not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord”
Amos 8.11 (ESV)
“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.”
Hebrews 1.1-2 (ESV)
We have access to hundreds of thousands of good sermons today. Online, radio, digital books, and smartphones are devices that provide access to good sermons on God’s word. How can God’s word in Amos 8.11 be true today? We have abundance of God’s word, not famine. Yet, God says that He will send a famine of hearing the words of the Lord?
God told Amos to sound that warning because the people of Israel hardened their hearts and deafen their ears toward God’s word. As a result, they were attacked and crushed by the Assyrian army. The Assyrian had a cruel policy toward anybody they defeated: they would torture the prisoners, root them out of their land, and poison their soil so that they wouldn’t go back and grow anything to eat. It was total annihilation. After the destruction of Israel and their capital Samaria in 721 BC, they were scattered all over the place. They had no prophet, no word from God, and even if they wanted to hear, they couldn’t find it.
Is it possible the famine of God’s word can happen today when we have thousands of sermons and Bible teaching materials around us? The answer is a loud Yes. The difference is this: the famine in our time is not imposed by the situation, but by our own choice and desire. While Israel didn’t have prophets or written Bible after they were conquered by the Assyrians, we have tons of good materials on the word of God. However, we also see the multiplication of false teachings and unbiblical sermons today. The preaching of God’s word has become the preaching of human opinion and thoughts.
As we approach the return of Christ, Paul warns, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions” (1 Tim. 4.3). It is by choice that spiritual famine is happening today. While we have access to God’s pure word, we are often tempted to choose those words that affirm our lifestyle, instead of those that challenge us to return to the Bible.
How important is God’s word for us? Very important. How important is it for the church? Extremely important. If famine of bread and water can kill us physically, the famine of hearing of God’s word will surely kill our spiritual life. Jesus warns that man doesn’t live from bread alone, but from every word that comes from the mouth of God. There is only one thing that can feed our souls: God’s word.
Hebrews 1 clearly affirms that God has spoken many times in many ways through the prophets in the past. During the time of the prophets (Old Testament), you read about rituals, sacrifices, Temple, and other things, and yet Hebrews 1 doesn’t mention any of those. Instead, he summarized the whole Old Testament period as God-speaking period. This tells us the priority and importance of God’s word over all other things, like rituals, ceremonies, songs or music, etc. Without God’s word being the center of a church, all singing will be empty praise, all prayers will be ineffectual, all programs will be time-killing activity, all worship will be performance, and all preaching will be pep-talk.
Hebrews further says that God has spoken in the clearest and most personal way through Jesus Christ, the Son of God. God sent Jesus to reveal who He is. Jesus is the revelation of God because Jesus is God. All God’s words point to Jesus as God’s final revelation. All sermons that claim to be God’s word should help the audience know Jesus Christ better.
God’s word is God’s revelation of Himself: His character, His will, and His ways. This is very different from what is being preached in some churches: what makes you feel better, what helps you know yourself more, and what helps you look good in the eyes of others. God’s word is ultimately about God, not about us. And yet, when we fix our eyes on God, all our needs are met. When we know God as our Good Shepherd, we will lack nothing. When we know God as our Rock of Salvation, we will feel secure and safe. When we know God as our Father, we will experience being loved and cared for.
There is a thirst and hunger deep inside us that can only be reached and filled by God’s word. That’s where the Holy Spirit works, feeding our souls with God’s word. When we open our ears to God’s word, we will be fed. No wonder Jesus says many times: Let him who has an ear hear. And faith comes from hearing the word of God.
It is time to let the word of God be at the center of our life and church. That’s how God blesses us today, and that’s how God protects and sustains His churches today. I pray that all of us see people’s desperate thirst for God’s word, and go back to the source and share the word with others. I pray that churches will once again proclaim God’s word with a non-compromising attitude, away from people-pleasing attitude.
When God’s word is the center of a church, God will pour out His blessings on them, and He will satisfy His people’s souls. When God’s word is the center of our life, we will see real transformation in us, and God’s amazing hand in our steps.