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THE POWER OF GOD’S WORD.
By Andrew Murray.
“The word of God, which is at work in you who believe” (1 Thess. 2 v13).
One of the first necessities to fruitful Bible study is the knowledge of God as the Omnipotent One, and of the power of His word. The power of God’s word is infinite. “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made . . . He spoke, and it came to be; He commanded, and it stood firm” (Ps. 33 v6-9). In the word of God His omnipotence works, it has creative power and calls into existence the very thing of which it speaks.
The word of the Living God is a living word and gives life. It can not only call into existence but even make alive again what was dead. Its quickening power can raise dead bodies, can give eternal life to dead souls. All spiritual life comes through it, for we are born of incorruptible seed by the word of God that lives and abides for ever.
Here lies, hidden from many, one of the deepest secrets of the blessing of God's word, the faith in its creative and quickening energy. The word will work in me that which it commands or promises, “It works effectively in those who believe”. Nothing can resist its power when received into the heart through the Holy Spirit. The voice of the Lord is powerful and everything depends upon learning to receive that word into the heart. In learning this, the first step is faith in its living, its omnipotent, its creative, power.
As true as this is of all God’s mighty deeds from creation on to the resurrection of the dead, it is true too of every word spoken to us in His holy book. Two things keep us from believing this as we should. The one is the terrible experience in all around, and perhaps in ourselves too, of the word being made of none effect by human wisdom or unbelief or worldliness. The other is the neglect of the teaching of Scripture that the word is a seed. Seeds are small, seeds may be long dormant, seeds have to be hidden, and when they sprout are of slow growth. Because the action of God’s word is hidden and unobserved, slow and apparently feeble, we do not believe in its omnipotence. Let us make it one of our first lessons, the word I study is the power of God unto salvation. It will work in me all I need, all the Father asks.
What a prospect this faith would open up for our spiritual life! We should see all the treasures and blessings of God’s grace to be within our reach. The word has power to enlighten our darkness. In our hearts it will bring the light of God, the sense of His love and the knowledge of His will. The word can fill us with strength and courage to conquer every enemy and to do whatever God asks of us. The word would cleanse and sanctify, would work in us faith and obedience, would become in us the seed of every trait in the likeness of our Lord. Through the word the Spirit would lead us into all truth, that is, make all that is in the word true in us and so prepare our heart to be the habitation of the Father and the Son.
What a change would come over our relationship to God’s word if we really believed this simple truth. Let us begin our training for that ministry of the word which every believer must exercise by proving its power in our own experience. Let us begin to seek this, quietly setting ourselves to learn the great faith-lesson, the mighty power of God’s word. Nothing less than this is meant by saying the Word of God is true, because God himself will make it true in us. We shall have much to learn in regard to what hinders that power, much to overcome to be freed from these hindrances, much to surrender to receive that working. But all will come right if we will only set out upon our Bible study with the determined resolve to believe that God’s Word has omnipotent power in the heart to work every blessing of which it speaks.
I think it may be confidently said that in all nature there is no other illustration of what the Word of God is, so true, so full of meaning, as that of the seed.
The points of resemblance are easily stated. There is the apparent insignificance of the seed, a little thing as compared with the tree that springs from it. There is the life, enclosed and dormant within the husk. There is the need of a suitable soil, without which growth is impossible. There is the slow growth with its length of time calling for the long patience of the farmer. And there is the fruit in which the seed reproduces and multiplies itself. In all these respects the seed teaches us most precious lessons as to our use of God’s Word.
There is first the lesson of faith. Faith does not look at appearances. As far as we can judge it looks most improbable that the Word of God should give life in the soul, should work in us the very grace of which it speaks, should transform our whole character, should fill us with strength. And yet so it is. When once we have learned to believe that the Word can work effectually the very truth of which it is the expression we have found one of the chief secrets of our Bible study. We shall then receive each word as the pledge and the power of a Divine working.
Then there is the lesson of labour.The seed needs to be gathered, kept and put into the prepared soil. And so the mind has to gather from scripture, understand and pass on to the heart, as the only soil in which this heavenly seed can grow and meet our need. We cannot give the life or the growth, nor do we need to, it is there. But what we can do is to hide the Word in our heart and keep it there, waiting for the sunshine that comes from above.
And the seed teaches the lesson of patience. The effect of the Word on the heart is in most cases not immediate. It needs time to strike root and grow up. Christ’s words must abide in us. We must not only day by day increase our store of Bible knowledge, this is only like gathering the grain in a barn, but watch over those words of command or promise that we have specially taken and allow them room in our heart to spread both root and branches. We need to know what seed we have put in and to cultivate a watchful but patient expectancy. In due time we shall reap if we faint not.
And last comes the lesson of fruitfulness. However insignificant that little seed of the Word of God appears, however feeble its life may seem, however deep hidden the very thought of what it speaks may be, and however trying the slowness of its growth may be to our patience, be sure the fruit will come. The very truth and life and power of God, of which the Word contained the thought, will grow and ripen within you. And just as a seed bears a fruit containing the same seed for new reproduction, so the Word will not only bring you the fruit it promised but that fruit will each time become a seed which you carry to others to give life and blessing.
Not only the Word, but “the kingdom of heaven is like a seed”. And all the grace of it comes in no other way than as a hidden seed in the heart of the born again. Christ is a seed. The Holy Spirit is a seed. The love of God shed abroad in the heart is a seed. The exceeding greatness of the power that works in us is a seed. The hidden life is there in the heart but not at once or always felt in its power. The Divine glory is there, but often without form or comeliness, to be known only by faith, to be counted and acted on even when not felt, to be waited for in its springing forth and its growth.
As this central truth is firmly grasped and held as the law of all the heavenly life on earth, the study of God’s word becomes an act of faith, surrender and dependence upon the living God. I believe humbly, almost tremblingly, in the Divine seed that there is in the Word, and the power of God’s Spirit to make it true in my life and experience. I yield my heart hungrily and wholly to receive this Divine seed. And I wait on God in absolute dependence and confidence to give the increase in a power above what we can ask or think.
From: ‘The Inner Chamber’.
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