Hi, this is pastor Ken with my thoughts on a Thursday…A couple of years ago I had to undergo a very specialized lifesaving surgery. In times past this surgery regularly rendered people unable to regain full function and experience a complete recovery, but because the surgery saved lives it was still routinely performed. The reason the surgery left so many unable to see a full recovery was due to the involvement of some critical nerves. As careful as the surgeons were, they most often found themselves unable to perform the operation without causing permanent damage to these all important nerves. Thankfully by the time I needed it, surgeons and engineers had developed a way to perform the operation with the assistance of a robot. The surgeon who performed my operation literally did it from across the operating room utilizing a video screen and joysticks resembling those of a gaming system. Connected to the surgeon’s console was a robot securely anchored to the floor, and affixed to the perfectly stable robot was the scalpel guided with inhuman precision. When the surgery was completed the cancerous tumor was removed but he nerves were still intact. As expected when the recovery period was completed the doctors found that the nervous system had sustained only minimal impact. To date this is the most advanced way known to perform the surgery and literally thousands of people see incredible results compared with the past. Who knows what new innovations will come in the future, for now this is the best there is and yet it is still not perfect. I am grateful for the existence of it in my own lifetime and to the skilled surgeon who performed the operation on me. However, there is one who is infinitely better. One who’s scalpel never misses, and is always 100% accurate.
Hebrews 4:12 in the New King James Version reads as follows; For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
This verse tells us that the word of God is living and powerful. Some may ask what does it mean that the word is living, how can words on a page be living? It is in fact living in the following ways among others. First it is the word of the ever living God. No other book can make such a claim. All other written works are authored by someone who is deceased, or will someday be so. Only the Bible is authored by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Tim. 3:16) who always was and always will be. God’s word will always stand as the word of the living God. Second anything that creates action must be alive. Notice I did not say that inspires action. The latter is the intent of many books. There is an entire genre of literature dedicated to self-help, but it is simply that, help that is intended to inspire the reader to make adjustments in their actions or thinking that will be of value, but the work must be enacted by the power of the reader. God’s word is infinitely different. It enables lasting and supernatural change within our lives. I couldn’t count the number of people who I personally know who attest to the fact, as do I, that the word of God has made possible for them things they could not formerly do in and of their own strength. In this way, being the power to cause change in our lives, the word of God is living. Finally, I will add to the argument that there is no other written word that can continue to grow in its depth and meaning beyond our ability, and in fact the ability of anyone to fully comprehend its complete and total meaning and application. How many times have you heard of or experienced the re-reading of passages of scripture, often well-known ones, that seem to have further and or new application to the life of the reader? Compound that with the omniscience of the Author who knowing the needs in advance was able to place the appropriate scripture, while giving new insight and revelation at the perfect moment in time. The word of God is indeed alive and powerful…
The scripture goes on to say that it is sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow While the word sword may give a war-like connotation, and there is definitely value in that, as there is a constant war being waged against what God desires for us, and His word is certainly our best defense. There is also as the greater part of the analogy used here suggests, the implication of a scalpel in the hand of a surgeon. I love the clarity that the Amplified Version gives to this portion of the verse. It notes that the idea of piercing even to the division of soul and spirit indicates that God’s word is capable of cutting to the very completeness of a person. William MacDonald explains further that these are the two invisible, non-material parts of man, but which are undeniably existent in each of us. God’s word is able to transform the very heart of us, it is able to make the proud humble, and the weak strong. The analogy continues though as the scripture mentions that God’s word is also able to affect joints and marrow. The implication here is that God’s word is also powerful to create change in the physical part of us. The use of the words “joints and marrow” intimates that God’s word is effective in the changing of the very movement we make or in other words the things we do, as well as affecting the very life of our bodies. The marrow is the part of our skeletal structure that creates our blood cells, and God’s word tells us elsewhere that the life is in the blood. God says of His word in Isiah 55:11 (NKJV) So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. God’s word is able to affect us in such a deep and complete way that what He purposes for us to do, we will do. His word affects our lives and actions in a profound way. Finally, this scripture goes on to say that God’s word is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. He and His word are both alive and powerful enough to work within the free will He has given to us, and still see that His ultimate will for our lives is accomplished.
As I recall now entering the hospital on that fall morning two years ago, I was not looking forward to the recovery but was thankful and excited about the prospect of undergoing the skilled surgeon’s scalpel firmly held by the robot that was being utilized. I understood that the precision to be employed by that process had the best chance available to me for a positive outcome. OK, I’ll admit I also thought the technology was kind of cool.
We should all be even more excited to go under the perfectly precise knife of God’s word. Mathew Henry said of it that “It powerfully, convicts, powerfully converts, and powerfully comforts.” I encourage you to look to it each and every day to allow its perfect operation in and on your own life. Allow it to cut to your deepest parts and remove from your life all that is not perfectly good for you.
So now, allowing the exceptionally skilled hand of your master to operate, go be awesome!