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Hebrews 4: The Word of God

I understand that there is some discussion about the true meaning of the Word of God in Hebrews 4:12. Let’s take a look at it.

Heb 4:12  For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Heb 4:13  Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

There are two main interpretations. On one hand, the Word of God could mean the Scripture. After all, that is how we refer to it all the time. The Word of God could also mean Jesus Christ Himself following the tradition laid out in John 1.

Personally, I had always thought about this verse meaning the first. After all, it seems that the Bible meets all of criteria in verse 12, and in our popular vocabulary, the Word of God normally means the Bible. However, given that verse 13 applies a personal pronoun to presumably the Word of God, it seems to me that perhaps the second is the better interpretation.

All of these criteria could certainly apply to Jesus, and I think that they might actually fit better. Jesus was a discerner of the thoughts of people when He was on earth. As a result, it makes sense that He would still be able to do that. He would still be able to understand what we are going through because He Himself had experienced it.

My commentaries are divided on this issue, and I’m sure that there are people who can make a compelling case for either side. However, the implications for you and me are that whether it is Jesus Christ Himself or our Scripture, we are talking here about the truth of God. In either case, we are not hidden from the sight of God, and God is able to see our inmost thoughts. Therefore, we need to be vigilant that even in our thought lives, we’re doing whatever we can to focus on Him and glorify Him there as well.

1 Samuel 6: Respect the Word of God

1 Samuel 6 most definitely inspired a certain scene in Indiana Jones.

1Sa 6:19  And he smote the men of Bethshemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the LORD, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men: and the people lamented, because the LORD had smitten many of the people with a great slaughter.

1Sa 6:20  And the men of Bethshemesh said, Who is able to stand before this holy LORD God? and to whom shall he go up from us?

That is a lot of people who all died at once, but this passage particularly stood out to me because God does not change.

The Ark of the Covenant was one of the most respected items in Israel, and God would literally communicate with the people of Israel from the mercy seat on top of it.

We found out yesterday that it was not good to worship it, but it is not good to totally dismiss it.

Lev 16:2  And the LORD said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat.

Even Aaron had very specific rules that he had to obey when he went before the Ark. The Levites were assigned to take care of the Ark, and because God was very specific about that, it is no wonder that it was a major problem when people were opening it and not respecting the way that things were supposed to be done. God had set rules in place, and they did not change just because time had passed.

Many people want to make the argument at times that the rules that God laid out change. Somehow, God, who is unchangeable, changes. Doesn’t that seem a little bit contradictory?

The Word of God is the Word of God. It hasn’t changed. Parts of it have been fulfilled by Jesus Christ, and that explains why we do not need to perform ritual sacrifices anymore. Jesus finished it out once and for all. However, it does not change what the Word says.

This is just a great illustration of how the Ark of the Covenant still need to be treated a certain way even though time had passed. God makes His rules for a reason, and it is our duty to follow them.

Deuteronomy 12: Do Not Abandon the Bible

The tribe of Levi must have felt like the outsiders. In a way, they kind of were.

God set them apart to be the tribe of priests, but because of that, they did not receive any land like every other tribe.

However, even though their set up was a little bit different, God still made sure that they were provided for in Deuteronomy 12.

Deu 12:19  Take heed to thyself that thou forsake not the Levite as long as thou livest upon the earth.

It quite frankly would have been disastrous if the Israelites had abandoned the Levites. As the priests, they were in charge of running the offerings that God had mandated. Without those offerings, it would have been impossible to follow the commandments of God, and that ties back to what I wrote yesterday.

If the Israelites followed God, they would be blessed, but they would be cursed if they did not.

We can see this kind of thing happen in our lives as well to some extent. People throw away the Bible and discount its value. However, without the Bible, it is impossible to understand what God requires as we develop a relationship with Him.

The document is full of guidance and teachings that illustrate what our lives should look like as a follower of God.

2Ti 3:15  And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

2Ti 3:16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

So, just like the Israelites were told not to abandon the Levites, I would encourage all of us to not abandon the Bible. It is one of the best tools we have to grow nearer to God.

Numbers 7: Talking to God

I think that living through Numbers chapter 7 must have been pretty awesome to say the least. Moses had an amazing privilege at the end of the chapter.

Num 7:89  And when Moses was gone into the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with him, then he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubims: and he spake unto him.

Moses was able to be in the tabernacle and talk to God in person. Of course, he had already seen the back of God, but I imagine this experience must have been pretty cool as well.

However, as I thought more about this experience and how exceptional it must have been, I realized that we have the Bible today, and because it is the Word of God, we can have a similar experience.

2Ti 3:16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

I was also thinking that Jesus was referred to as the Word, and since He is our intermediary whenever we pray, we still have this type of relationship with God. We can talk to him as well.

Joh 1:1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Joh 1:2  The same was in the beginning with God.

Therefore, even though we probably don’t conversationally speak to God like Moses seems to have been able to, the important part is that we still have ways to interact with God. Because He is unchangeable, He hasn’t gone anywhere. He is still there, and He is still just as powerful and loving as He was with Moses and the Israelites.

Though the means may be different, the end result is the same, and we should be grateful that God wants to develop a relationship with us and help us draw nearer to Him. That is a wonderful privilege.

Exodus 31: It Is Time to Step up and Be a Leader

Exodus chapter 31 is remarkable to say the least. Look at how the chapter ends.

Exo 31:18  And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.

Moses was literally given two tablets made of stone that had the Ten Commandments written on them. These tablets were written by God himself. This type of thing does not happen every day.

Moses had just had this excellent experience talking with God, and now he had to go down the mountain and presumably share all that he had learned about God.

In some respect, this is exactly what we are supposed to do every day of our lives. We have the word of God written in a book. Even though I don’t know of anyone who has had a Bible literally handed to them from heaven, the significance is identical. The Bible is the word of God just like those tablets were. It is our ultimate authority.

When we read the Bible, we can learn a lot about the character of God as well as how we should treat ourselves, each other and most importantly God.

2Ti 3:16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

I don’t mean to discount this process at all. We need to spend a lot of time in the Bible to learn, but there also comes a point where we need to go down from the mountain so to speak. We need to share what we know to help other people come near to God. This is most obviously represented by the Great Commission.

Mat 28:18  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

Mat 28:19  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Mat 28:20  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Of course, I am sure that Moses would have been perfectly content to remain on the mountain forever with God. After all, what could be better than that type of direct interaction?

However, when God returned back to heaven, Moses had to go down and lead the people of Israel. He now had to put all that he had learned into practice. As we will find out, the Israelites needed his leadership more than ever.