How many of us can say that we know the word of God; that we can quote scripture on cue; that while we may not have every Bible verse memorized, we have an arsenal of verses we cling to in times of need; that we read the Bible every day?
In my church, our theme for 2017 is “Journey into Knowing God,” and part of knowing God is reading and understanding His word. Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.” If you think you can function through this life having never opened your Bible, you’re wrong. Joshua 1:8 says, “Keep this book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Likewise, Psalm 1:2 informs us that blessed is the one “whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who mediates on his law day and night.”
When you know the word of God, when you study it daily and apply it to your life, you will find success. That’s not to say that everything in life will be a breeze, but there’s a certain peace that comes with knowing God’s word, with relying on the scriptures to get you through the day. The word of God isn’t just reading material, an obligation for every Christian. Here are just a few things the word of God can do for us:
- The word of God teaches us – “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
- The word of God corrects us – “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” Proverbs 3:11-12 (NIV)
- The word of God humbles us – “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10 (NIV)
- The word of God guides us – “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105 (NKJV)
- The word of God comforts us – “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4 (NKJV); “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulations; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NKJV)
- The word of God is food for our spirit – “He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 8:3 (NIV)
I think the best example of how knowing the word of God can lead to successful living, overcoming adversities, staying aligned with the will of God, is in the temptation of Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11). After fasting for forty days and forty nights in the wilderness, Jesus was hungry and vulnerable, and that’s usually when temptation will show its ugly face, when we are at our weakest point. But remember 2 Corinthians 12:10. Paul says, “When I am weak, then I am strong,” and we gain that strength by leaning on the word of God.
Each of Jesus’ responses to the devil’s temptations comes directly from scripture. When Satan tells Jesus to turn the stones to bread for food, Jesus says, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:4). When Satan tells Jesus to throw himself off the highest point of the temple to see if the Lord’s angels will catch him, Jesus responds, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test’” (Matthew 4:7). When Satan promises Jesus the kingdoms of the world if He will only bow down and worship him, Jesus answers, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only’” (Matthew 4:10).
“Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” John 17:17
And afterward, after the devil leaves Him, the Bible says the angels come down and tend to Jesus, likely giving Him food and water to regain His strength (Matthew 4:11). What I like about this last verse is that it confirms for me that my knowledge of the word is never in vain. John 15:7 says, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” There’s a fulfillment that comes with knowing and understanding the word of God, when you can apply it to your life, when you can use it in times of need. Keep in mind that if Jesus had given in to the devil and sinned against God, He couldn’t be the Savior of the world. His knowledge of the word— the Bible says He IS the word (John 1:14)—saves us from death and damnation. And our knowledge of the word, our dependence on the word, our belief in the word will save us also.
So I challenge you, if you’re not in the habit of reading your Bible, do it now. Find a translation that is easiest for you to understand and set aside some time every day to read God’s word, whether it’s a verse of the day every morning, a psalm during your lunch break, a parable of Jesus before you go to bed. In my church we are reading the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. That’s about five to six chapters a day. I invite you to join in. Start your year on today, and from now until next August immerse yourself in the word of God. Study His commandments, take heed of His warnings, follow His teachings. Mark the scriptures that speak to you most, mediate on them, memorize and understand them, so that when the time comes, you always have them in your back pocket, to get you through temptations, to reveal to you truths you never knew, to guide your footsteps when life brings you to a crossroads. The word of God can be all of that for you and more.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we desire to know your word. Feed us with every word from your mouth. Like newborn babies, we crave pure spiritual milk, that by it we may mature in our salvation. While the grass withers and the flowers fade, we know that your word lasts forever. Through every trial, through every storm, through every temptation of the enemy, your word is still there. Teach us to remember it. Bring it back to the forefront when we need it the most. Help us to not just be listeners but doers also, applying your word to our lives. Be the sower who plants the seed of your word on good ground, and open our hearts to receive it so that we may be lights in this dark world, guiding others back to you, sharing the truth of your word in peace and love. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.