12…God’s word is living, active, and sharper than any two-edged sword. It penetrates to the point that it separates the soul from the spirit and the joints from the marrow. It’s able to judge the heart’s thoughts and intentions. 13 No creature is hidden from it, but rather everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of the one to whom we have to give an answer.
It’s easy for us to think of the scripture as simply ink on a page: the ramblings of long-dead people, full of outdated ideas that have little relevance for us today.
But within these pages we find the stories of God’s interactions with God’s people. And there are two things I can say I believe with certainty: people don’t change, and neither does God. Technology changes and society changes, which creates difficulty and disputes about interpretations, to be sure. But the relevance of the Bible lies in these two fundamental truths: people don’t change, and neither does God.
This is why we can still describe an ancient book as “living and active” – because it still speaks to our daily situation. We still feel all the same feelings that the ancients felt: happy when we’re in love, hurt when we’re betrayed, disappointed when our dreams don’t work out, fearful when we face uncertainty, and reluctant to admit when we’re wrong. The writers of the Bible felt these things too, so we can trust that the scripture still affirms us when we need a word of comfort, and still calls us out when we need to be called out.
And trust me, what we read there can cut us to the quick. Sometimes we weep because “that’s-not-what-I-wanted-to-hear” but many other times we weep “because that’s-exactly-what-I-needed-to-hear.” It’s in this sense that we can call the Bible God’s Word – because through it, God has a very direct line into our hearts. When we read with any sort of openness to what our Creator might be saying to us, our souls are truly laid bare.
Now that can feel like a fearful thing. But it needn’t be, because God’s ability to see and speak into our situation through the scripture is our greatest source of comfort, direction, and wisdom. God’s ability to calm us, to slow us down, allows us to gain perspective so that we can make better choices.
God, in the course of thousands of years, has seen it all from humanity. People don’t change. Trust me, your Maker won’t be surprised by anything found in the depths of your heart. On the contrary, I trust that God will provide precisely the message of encouragement, correction, comfort, or hope you need.
The Word of God is not cold and dead; it is as living and active – just as we are, and just as God is!
by Joe Monahan
For Pondering & Prayer
Do you think it’s accurate to say that people don’t change? In what sense? There are people who would say that God does change, and point to scriptures that prove it. Do you think it’s God who changes, or is it people’s understanding of God that changes?
Prayer: Holy One, we trust that you are the God of the Bible and the God of our everyday lives. As we read the scriptures, help us always to be open to it as your living and active Word that can speak to our hearts. Amen.