Not Idle Words - They Are Your Life

April 10, 2011

Many wonder why believers read the Bible every day, following a reading guide that will allow them to read through the whole Bible from cover to cover in one year, then going through the same cycle year after year. They wonder why we do not get tired of reading it over and over. The apostle Paul offered a simple answer to this question when he said, “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” (Heb. 4:12). Because the Word we read in the Bible is active, it creates hunger and craving in us, in the same manner that we hunger and crave for our daily bread. Moses, whom God used to give his Word, put things in their right perspective when he said, “Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. They are not just idle words for you—they are your life. By them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess” (Deut. 32:46-47).

To unbelievers, the words of the Lord are idle because they read the Bible just for the sake of reading—to gain some information or knowledge. Therefore, it is spiritually unproductive, inactive and not beneficial. For it to be active and beneficial, we have to be like the prophet Jeremiah who said, “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O Lord God Almighty” (Jer. 15:16). Just as we swallow and digest our food, we should also receive the Word gladly and meditate on it. It is only then that it can bring nourishment to our spirit. Let us not be discouraged when we do not see quick results, for just as our body will take a while to assimilate the nutrients of the food we eat, our spirit will also take some time to digest God’s Word. However, we will surely be strengthened as we keep reading and meditating the Word.

Even in times of great trials, the Word of the Lord will actively work in us and will benefit us. Job found this out and uttered, “I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread” (Job 23:12). Job realized that in making his choice, his daily bread could only sustain him for the day. On the other hand, the Word of the Lord can sustain him through eternity. Jesus magnified this truth when he said, “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). No amount of food is enough to sustain a man. Even if he fills his stomach with the best of foods, he will be hungry in no time. God so created a man so that he will not be self-sufficient, but will be dependent on God for his daily bread. It is for this reason that Jesus had to teach his disciples to pray, saying, “Give us today our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11).

Due to the tendency of men to be self-sufficient and proud in times of plenty, the Lord warned, “Because you did not serve the Lord your God joyfully and gladly in the time of prosperity, therefore in hunger and thirst, in nakedness and dire poverty, you will serve the enemies the Lord sends against you. He will put an iron yoke on your neck until he has destroyed you” (Deut. 28:47-48). The Lord pronounced this warning after he assured his people of the best of his blessings. In fact, this was preceded with a scarier warning: “If you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you” (Deut 28:15). It is one thing to be cursed but to be overtaken by curses is something else—curses come one after the other. All these will happen if we do not take the word of the Lord seriously.

Friends, it is high time that we make the word of the Lord our joy and our heart’s delight. Let us read it day and night and treasure it more than our daily bread. We might not understand it all now, but let us just obey because the Lord said, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law” (Deut. 29:29). As we read and meditate, the Lord will reveal his truth in his word. Let us always remember that the words of the Lord are not idle—they are our life. Hallelujah!