“The word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:8)
Welcome to the start of a new series.
This post works off one simple premise: God’s word is powerful. And if you don’t believe me, let me just discredit your objections in advance. I’ll just throw some truth your way:
“The LORD merely spoke, and the heavens were created. He breathed the word, and all the stars were born” (Psalm 33:6). We know a God who “calls into existence the things that do not exist” (Romans 4:17). It was “at the blast of his breath, that the bottom of the earth could be seen, and the foundations of the earth were laid bare” (2 Samuel 22:16).
God is “sustaining all things by the power of his word” (Hebrews 1:3). The hum of the generator powering the whole universe is every word that the comes from the mouth of God. And we have at our disposal this same word of God, that which is “living and active, sharper than a two edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12). Knowing that “all scripture is God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and “spoken that our joy may be full” (John 15:11).
God’s word sits on a shelf. And he intendeds it not be a proficient dust collector. Because God’s word doesn’t just sustain the whole universe (although that alone boasts an impressive resume). God also intends his word be personally, individually, life changing. Given so we can claim no condemnation (Romans 8:1) and fullness of life (John 10:10).
I don’t boast much experience. But I can boast in God’s word. So. Having said all of that. Here’s three absolute gems of God’s word that have really hit home for me.
“I love you, O LORD, you are my strength”
Such a small verse.
And yet, so packed with meaning. This verse is a place I love turning to. Whenever I need help. Whenever I need strength. Whenever I need courage. Whenever I need patience. In all different types of situations and conversations: Psalm 18:1 is where my mind drifts. And one situation sticks out in my memory like a sore thumb.
Earlier this year I took on a challenge. I left home on my bike. Aiming to ride 430km (267 miles) in 24 hours. The whole thing was ridiculous – but it was in the early hours of the morning that I struggled the most. I was really hurting. The cold was almost unbearable. Gusts of wind seriously felt like needles to the skin. And it was in these moment of struggle, these hours of unbelievable cold, that I caught myself whispering a sentence.
I love you, O LORD…
This verse just kept running through my head. And with my head bent over the handlebars and legs turning over the pedals, I started saying it out loud to myself. Over and over. I rarely departed from it until the sun came up. There was no way I was going to remove the broken record of Psalm 18:1 off of the turntables of my mind.
Because it was my prayer. And honestly – I couldn’t think of anything more to add to it. Psalm 18:1 described everything perfectly. It gave me incredible comfort. And so as I pedalled through the dark and freezing, I held this verse tight. And I didn’t let it go.
And God never let go of me.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven”
This verse marks a rich milestone for me.
When I consider Bible verses that have changed the trajectory of my life, Matthew 5:3 stands alone. No exaggeration. This verse marks a significant time where my love for God in and through his word began to burst at the seams.
It began to hit me in my first year at university. I was just beginning to listen to a preacher by name of John Piper. And so on the commute to university each day, the earphones would be out and I’d tune into his series on the Beatitudes. But of all the sermons and sections of the Beatitudes, Matthew 5:3 struck me like nothing else.
Blessed are the poor in spirit. Through this part of the verse, I came to realise that before God even my “good deeds are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). I came to realise that the only right response to a totally just and holy God is to acknowledge and see myself as broken, depraved, and lacking. A sobering realisation should the verse end there. But it doesn’t.
For theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Totally contrasting, but not contradicting this realisation, is the promise superseding Matthew 5:3. It is seriously staggering stuff. To those who throw themselves at the feet of Jesus in depravity and in desperation, the Kingdom of Heaven is not just a suggestion. It is a promise you can bank your life on.
Nobody enters heaven on their own merits. In fact, those who enter heaven will recognise the big red F circled and stamped on their report card. And simultaneously turn in trust to he who ran the race, died in our place, and extends blood-bought grace.
What a King! What a Saviour!
“Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
This one means a heck of a lot to me.
Not that it necessarily means more (in and of itself). It has just meant more to me. Many nights these words have been the last to leave my lips for the day. The word retreat comes to mind. I bunker down in the bulletproof fortress of Psalm 73:25-26 often.
I seriously love this corner of God’s word.
It begins with an amazing statement. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. Nothing in heaven or earth – not the heights of heaven, or the riches of the world – can compare to God. Nothing more to gain. Nothing more to get. God is the ultimate reality to which we live and breathe. God is the highest good in the whole universe. This is the creed and conviction of Psalm 73:25.
Psalm 73:26 moves from conviction to implication. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. What an amazing contrast and hope for the Christian. We will fail. But our God never will. In the words of A.W Tozer, “How completely satisfying to turn from our limitations to a God who has none.”
I don’t know who you are. And I don’t know what your life is like. But if you are in Christ, this is absolute gold. You might lose your whole family, your wealth, and your health in a single day (shoutout to Job). You might completely fail at this thing called life.
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
How has God been speaking to you recently? Feel free to drop a verse below and explain how it has impacted you in some way!