Touched by the Word
Everyone is touched by Gods Word either from hearing or reading the Word from the Bible or seeing the encoded Word in the world around. But something has to happen to a person to be touched by the Word, that is, to attach intense significance to the Word.
When Noah lived in the most incredibly evil world ever, he listened to Gods Word, which told him to build an ark in the middle of nowhere and nowhere near the water, because it made sense to escape the evil around and start anew as God promised. The Word touched him.
The promises of Gods Word touched Abraham because God told him that his progeny would be like the stars of the sky. Yes, Abraham must have thought, if God could create all these stars, Sarah, though well beyond her time, could become pregnant and conceive a son through whom the promises would come. The Word touched him and made him believe the promises.
The Word touched the children of Israel because God wrought great wonders through It. If God could do all this, then He could keep His promise of the Promised Land, and all they had to do was keep these Ten Commandments.
Ex. 19:9 The LORD said to Moses, Behold, I will come to you in a thick cloud, so that the people may hear when I speak with you and may also believe in you forever. Then Moses told the words of the people to the LORD.
Deut. 4:10 Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, when the LORD said to me, Assemble the people to Me, that I may let them hear My words so they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.
Something special happens when a person is touched by anything, especially, the Word. He listens differently from ordinary listening. Like the child music prodigy, a potential believer hears what others do not or cannot. Like music resonating in the mind of the prodigy, the hearer of Gods Word resonates in a special way beyond the norm.
Why do some listen and others do not? Why do some not listen at one time and are eager to learn at another? Part of the answer lies in how God created His World, with His en-coding on all that exists.
Deut. 30:14 But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it.
Deut. 31:28 Assemble to me all the elders of your tribes and your officers, that I may speak these words in their hearing and call the heavens and the earth to witness against them.
It was fifth grade at OLR, and we were reading a book on the Acts of the Apostles. I was impressed with the miracles and general intense devoutness of the apostles and their converts. Being in a Catholic school and believing this was the church that came from the early church, I wondered why this church was nothing like the one of apostolic times. My ardent desire, I remember, was to be a part of that original church, not the one of today. I also vaguely wondered why good things like the early church didn't stay the same, but got worse. I was only ten and didn't yet know a whole lot. But, I was surely touched by the Word.
Later, I found out what happened to that early church. And I observed as well how all good things got worse; and that I still do not have a good answer for. I noted how Louis XIV was succeeded by his son who just did not have his fathers greatness, skill, intensity and let France go down until his son led to the end of the monarchy.
From Abraham, at least, people believed the promises of God and a few even tested the promises to see if they came true. Yet, Abraham waited twenty-five years for the promised son, through which all the other promises would come from, and never really faltered from his faith. Being touched only by the promises of the Word can delay the Words full impact because waiting dulls the day-to-day and minute-to-minute power of the Word.
While the promises hold out a goal of the gleaming city on a hill, much must happen first, such as learning a new Language and way of life before the faithful can successfully traverse the narrow road leading to life.
Deut. 28:1 Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the LORD your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.
Deut. 28:2 All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the LORD your God:
When bad things happen, people almost instinctively ask them-selves, what am I doing wrong. We saw this during the Depression and WWII when people became quite religious because they wanted to change just in case their sinning was the cause of all the trials and tribulations. And, you know what, God expressly states than sinning will bring everything from drought and famine to crime and war. When God gets peoples attention in this harsh manner, since nothing else seems to work right in most peoples lives, they will turn to God and listen with all their hearts to what He says. But, alas, when times turn good again, people tend to stray.
As some say, we learn nothing from our successes only from our failures. The same is true in terms of righteousness; success breeds complacency, but trials build character. As much as we hate trials, and we do very much, in the long run, sometimes very long run, we get good out of it.
Jesus is the Word made flesh; the Word touched him beyond anyone until his time. As he walked the earth, people witnessed how Gods Word could be lived in a way never done before. His charisma, his mercy, his love, his teaching, his caring, and his humanity showed how a human being could behave as one made in the image of God. His life was a human expression of the totality of Gods Word and Language.
Gods Word touched people through Jesus.
6963 qowl, kole; or qol, kole; from an unused root meaning to call aloud; a voice or sound:
1697. dabar, daw-baw´; from 1696; a word; by implication, a matter (as spoken of) or thing; adverbially, a cause:
1696. dabar, daw-bar´; a primitive root; perhaps properly, to arrange; but used figuratively (of words), to speak; rarely (in a destructive sense) to subdue.
Everything is language, so it is Gods voice that commands, but more importantly inspires. For us today, we are aware only of His voice speaking through the prophets of old and Jesus in the Gospel.
Deut. 4:12 Then the LORD spoke to you from the midst of the fire; you heard the sound of words, but you saw no formonly a voice.
On Your Heart
When all who hear Gods voice in person or read a record of it, something happens to a person. He hears the Word which finds a home in his mind, never to be lost, even if forgotten. Often the Word gets hidden away among all the other ideas vying for prominence. So that His Language remains in the fore of the mind, God says that they should be spoken and even recited, so that people can keep the Word of Life. How quickly they forget, like ignorance of the law is no excuse.
Deut. 6:6 These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.
Deut. 30:14 But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it.
Deut. 11:18 You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.
With the Whole Heart
In order that the Word, which once touched the heart, continue to affect the person, he must act on the Word with his whole being. Half-hearted measures are as if nothing. Giving oneself whole heartedly to Gods Word gives power to the Word within to do great things like keeping the commandments and caring for others, that is, doing for others. Naturally, a person touched by God must want to walk in the Way God sets before him and demonstrated by Gods only begotten Son. A heart that lacks wholeness lacks the complete vocabulary and grammar of Gods Word or Language.
Once a person has Gods Language in his mind, he has the mind of God. The Bible says God abides in the believer. Without taking away the uniqueness of the believer, he is changed from the in-side out, that is, God forms this new Language as if it were a new person. You see the brain has an image of the person in it, and as the person changes, the image within the mind changes as well. The more the person learns and speaks the new Language of God, the more the inner man grows in righteousness and power.
1Pet. 3:4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.
2Cor. 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.
Eph. 3:16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man.
Read Word Daily
How does one learn a new Language? The same way you get to Carnegie Hall, practice, practice, practice!
But, even once touched by the Word, a person must learn Gods Language, which mostly contradicts everything the previously learned language tells him. Gods language is simple in many respects so the simple can learn it or believe in it, but it also has great complexity for the cognoscenti. How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice! How do you get to know Gods Language, Word, practice, practice! And, this practice includes study, recitation and action, because actions speak louder than words.
Deut. 17:19 It shall be with him and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, by carefully observing all the words of this law and these statutes,
Deut. 31:12 Assemble the people, the men and the women and children and the alien who is in your town, so that they may hear and learn and fear the LORD your God, and be careful to observe all the words of this law.
Touched by the Word
For all the power the Word had in peoples lives over the ages from Noah to Malachi and Moses to Jonah and all those in be-tween, something was missing. Abraham gave great examples, as did Moses and David, but they also gave not such good examples as well because the Word did not fill them completely. But, when the time was right, God begot for us His Son by the power of the Word and Spirit. Here God gave to us a example of the Living Word to really touch our hearts and minds. When we read the gospels, we see the Word in human action doing the things God would do if He were human.
The Jesus of the Gospels, as opposed to the Jesus of the Protestant and Catholic Churches, can touch believers in a way never before possible. When we read the words Jesus spoke, when we see his compassion, when we see his dedication to Gods Way, when we see how he died to save us sinners, we cry out like those pilgrims in Jerusalem on that fateful Pentecost, what must we do!
Now, with echoes of the Wilhelm Tell Overture, let us go back to the thrilling days of yesteryear, the Holy Spirit and the Language of God rides again and still.
Acts 2:1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.
Acts 2:2 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
Acts 2:3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.
Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.
Ah, to be at the right place at the right time. Suppose, these Pilgrims kept Saturnalia (aka Christmas) or Easter, they would have missed this great miracle. Suppose these Pilgrims had never heard of God or His Word and Commandments, they would not have even been there at all. At first they were touched by the Word by coming to Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost, and God rewarded them with the Word powered by the Spirit in a way never before.
Acts 2:5 Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven.
Acts 2:6 And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language.
Here, the Spirit that powers the Language of God, made no distinction of individual languages and spoke to all in their native tongues. We see the wholeness and oneness of Gods Word impressing itself on faithful listeners. And they began to comprehend Gods Language in a whole new and special way.
Acts 2:7 They were amazed and astonished, saying, Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans?
Acts 2:8 And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born?
Acts 2:9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,
Acts 2:10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,
Acts 2:11 Cretans and Arabswe hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.
Acts 2:12 And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, What does this mean?
Acts 2:13 But others were mocking and saying, They are full of sweet wine.
The human spirit ever doubtful and sarcastic must always contend with Gods Word. But those imbued with the Spirit and Gods Language had good answers for them from Gods Word.
Acts 2:14 ¶ But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words.
Acts 2:15 For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day;
Acts 2:16 but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:
Acts 2:17 AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS, God says,
THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND;
AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY,
AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS,
AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS;
Acts 2:18 EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN,
I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT
And they shall prophesy.
On that very Holy Day, Gods ancient prophecies came alive and foretold again the time when all will be the Kingdom of God.
Acts 2:32 This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.
Acts 2:33 Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.
When those who were faithful to the Word, heard about Gods love and Jesus sacrifice and love, they were touched to the heart, so much so that they had to do something, but what?
Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christthis Jesus whom you crucified.
Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do?
Gods Language of love must take action, and Peter provided the answer that their hearts touched by the Word yearned for.
Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
And they were pierced to the heart. For it is only by being touched by the Living Word that our Language can be change from the demons tongue to Gods, and we cry out what can we do?
The Word, which had the power to create a world, certainly has the power to move mens hearts, especially when the mind was formed to have the Word or Gods Language fit into its cerebral cortex so perfectly.
Amen and God Bless,