by Zac Poonen
The Word of God is likened to FOOD in Psalm 119:103. The same symbol occurs again in Jeremiah 15:16 and in 1 Peter 2:2. The prophet Ezekiel and the apostle John are each shown too in Scripture as” eating” a book (Ezek. 3:1-3; Rev. 10:9, 10). We have here a picture of men assimilating and digesting the Word of God. Food gives us strength. Our bodies cannot be built up without it. A person who is under- nourished will be skinny and weak in his constitution, and therefore unable to resist disease. He will also be unable to defend himself if physically assaulted by another. A small push will often be enough to knock him down. In exactly the same way, one who neglects the Word of God will be spiritually under-developed, and consequently unable to resist temptation and to withstand the Devil’s onslaughts. Only those who regularly meditate on God’s Word grow into strong virile Christians (1 John 2:14). Mere reading of the Bible will not make you strong, but meditation upon it allows the Word to penetrate into the very core of your being and thus to become a part of you, hidden in your heart (Psa.119:11). Job said that he esteemed the words of God’s mouth more even than his necessary daily food (Job 23:12). By listening to God daily he built up a tremendous reserve of spiritual strength. This, no doubt, accounts for the man’s remarkable resilience in the face of Satan’s fierce assaults. He did not lose his faith in God, in spite of all the adversity he faced. His wife, who obviously did not have the same regard for God’s Word as her husband, was ready to curse God as soon as calamity struck. Not so Job. His example gives us an idea of the tremendous strength that God’s Word, if received daily, can give us to face every trial in life.
The Word of God is likened to a FIRE in Jeremiah 23:29. Fire, in the Bible, is used as a symbol of that which purifies or burns up. Gold put into the fire is purified, whereas wood is consumed. The Word of God, similarly, has a purifying effect upon our lives, eliminating from them what is un-Christlike. It not only shows us our faults, but it also makes us holy. No man can ever hope to be holy without spending time every day at the Lord’s feet, for that alone can purge away all the dross from his life. But it is also terribly true the same fire will burn up the one who rejects the Word (John 12:48). Our attitude towards God’s Word determines whether it will purify or destroy. If we submit to it, it will purify us. If we ignore or spurn it, then it will surely consume us. In the same verse of Jeremiah 23 we see that the Word of God is also likened to a HAMMER – a hammer that breaks the rock into pieces. If you want to make a road on a mountainside, you have to break up rocks. In these days we use dynamite for that purpose, whereas in Jeremiah’s day they used hammers. The Word of God is His dynamite, capable of removing huge obstacles out of our way. We all face trials and problems in our lives – situations in which the mountains have closed in upon us and it appears as though we have reached a dead-end. Often we have remained in such situations, discouraged and defeated, not knowing what to do or where in turn. Our ignorance at such times of the promises that God has given us in Scripture has prevented us from claiming them. Otherwise, like dynamite, they would have blasted away the obstacles in our path and taken us triumphantly through the mountain barrier to the other side. How much we have missed by not knowing the Word!
In Luke 8:11, we find the Word of God is likened to a SEED which, when sown into the ground, produces fruit. 1 Peter 1:23 states that our new birth itself is a result of that seed sprouting in our hearts. Only as we are fruitful can God be glorified through our lives. Is there, in your life and service, fruit for the glory of God? Is it manifest, in your own life first of all, in terms of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness (meekness), and self-control? (Gal. 5:22, 23). And then, do you find fruit in your service, in the shape of sinners turning to the Lord and believers being drawn closer to Him? If not, perhaps the reason is that you are not regularly receiving the Word of God into your own heart as seed “having life in itself.” Psalm 1:2, 3 tells us that it is the man who regularly meditates on God’s Word, who alone will be like the fruitful tree, prospering in all that he does.
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