“For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13, NASB).
The Apostle Paul praised the Thessalonians for accepting his preaching as if it was words spoken by God. The words he spoke to them weren’t just impotent words spoken by human beings but the very Word of God.
“It is good for me that I was afflicted. that I may learn your statutes.” (Psalm 119:71, NASB).
You probably have never experienced problems or sickness and said to yourself, “That was good!” Sure, we’re taught that the problems of life can work for our good (see Romans 8:28), but we still don’t like to have problems. We don’t like to be hurt or sick. We don’t rejoice about affliction!
“I will keep on obeying your instructions forever and ever. I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments” (Psalm 119:44-45, NLT).
Don’t laws control you? Then, how do laws set you free?
Psalm 119 is a Hebrew acrostic poem. There are twenty-two stanzas, one for each successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Each of the eight verses within each stanza begins with the Hebrew letter named in its heading. The unifying theme of the Psalm is love for and obedience to God’s Law or Word.
“And word from the Lord was rare in those days, visions were infrequent…Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor had the word of the Lord yet been revealed to him…Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle…What is the word that He spoke to you, Please do not hide it from me…And the Lord appeared again at Shiloh, because the Lord revealed Himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord” (1 Samuel 3:1,7,11,17,21, NASB).
In ancient Israel the presence of absence of God’s prophetic voice was considered to be evidence of the presence or absence of God and the presence or absence of His favor.
“Then Son of man, let all my words sink deep into your own heart first. Listen to them carefully for yourself. Then go to your people in exile and say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says!’ Do this whether they listen to you or not.” (Ezekiel 3:10-11, NLT).
In this commissioning of Ezekiel for God’s service, there are two points that are relevant for disciples of Jesus.
“When the king heard what was written in the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes in despair” (2 Kings 22:11, NLT).
Have you ever tried to assemble something without reading the instructions? Maybe you started putting it together and one part was backwards or upside down and it prevented you from assembling the rest of the parts. Or maybe you assembled it all and had parts left over and it didn’t work right.
“Then my cousin Hanamel came to the guard’s courtyard as the Lord had said and urged me, ‘Please buy my field in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, for you own the right of inheritance and redemption. Buy it for yourself.’ Then I knew that this was the word of the Lord.” (Jeremiah 32:8, HCSB).
Jeremiah was in prison because he had proclaimed to King Zedekiah and the people of Jerusalem that the Babylonians were going to conquer Jerusalem.