Hebrews 4:12-13 & Isaiah 55:11 - Double Edged Sword
God wields His double-edged sword with surgical precision.
Read / Listen
Read Hebrews 4:12-13 / Isaiah 55:10-11
12 For the word of God is alive 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. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
Listen to passage & devotional:
Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 84
Q. How does preaching the gospel
open and close the kingdom of heaven?
A. According to the command of Christ:
The kingdom of heaven is opened
by proclaiming and publicly declaring
to all believers, each and every one, that,
as often as they accept
the gospel promise in true faith,
God, because of what Christ has done,
truly forgives all their sins.
The kingdom of heaven is closed, however,
by proclaiming and publicly declaring
to unbelievers and hypocrites that,
as long as they do not repent,
the anger of God
and eternal condemnation
rest on them.
both in this life and in the life to come,
is based on this gospel testimony.
Words don't get the credit they deserve in our hyper-pragmatic society. Most people prefer hands on instruction rather than a long manual full of words or a movie or video rather than an expansive novel.
But our ability to form and utilize words is one of the key features that set us as human beings apart from the rest of God's created order, and it's precisely because we're created in His image that we have this unique ability.
God's first recorded action was Him speaking words of creation into the nothingness. The Israelites met God as they cowered under His words of commandment that boomed down from the mountain, and their descendents would go on to harass, persecute, and generally ignore the word God sent via His prophets calling His wayward children back. John introduces our Savior as the Logos, which is often translated as word, but which refers to much more than just basic vocabulary (Logos also forms the basis for logic, and serves as the foundation for knowledge - biology, geology, theology, etc.).
God's Word is so much more than ancient stories, prophecies and testimonies printed on dusty old pages. His Word is alive and active, able to penetrate the heart of man like nothing else. Furthermore, Isaiah adds that God's Word never fails; it always achieves the purpose for which He sent it.
But it sorta seems like God's Word has failed. Churches - even (maybe even especially) churches that have faithfully proclaimed God's Word - are emptier now than they've been in decades. Has our society finally achieved Adam's goal of separating ourselves so far from God that we're out of reach of the powerful sword His Word represents?
Absolutely not. God's Word always achieves God's purposes. Praise God that through the proclamation of His Word you have come to clearly understand His grace. But it also clearly communicates God's anger and eternal condemnation for those who do not repent of sin. Unbelievers have heard and understood this Word, but they have failed to respond to it.
Praise God that His Word goes out from your church, and know that whether your pews are full of those who've gladly accepted the gospel message, or empty because so many heard it and rejected it, that God is achieving His purposes through the preached Word.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father faithfully sends us His Word, just as He sends us rain from heaven;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that God, by means of His double edged sword, will continue to penetrate the sin that always seeks to envelope your heart;
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - 1 Corinthians 2