The Sent Word
The sixth chapter of the book of GENESIS reveals to us a fascinating scenario in the history of mankind. Already, in just six chapters, fourteen centuries had come and gone since Adam's creation. Unfortunately, mankind had degenerated to such a low degree that it grieved GOD that HE had even made man.
GENESIS 6:7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
A method was settled upon to accomplish this utter destruction; the whole earth would be consumed by a flood. It would rain for forty days and forty nights so that every beast, every creeping thing and every man would be destroyed. The entire human race would have been no more, except for one man, who out of all others had "found grace in the eyes of the LORD" (GENESIS 6:8).
This is the first usage of the word grace in the Bible. Herein we can learn great truths about the meaning of the word. What did it mean to Noah that he had found grace? Because of grace did GOD take Noah by the hand into heaven that he not perish with his fellow man? Or because of grace did GOD flood all the earth except where Noah lived, making the "waters a wall unto him on his right hand, and on his left" as HE later did at the Red Sea with Moses? No! The only thing grace got for Noah was the only thing that he needed for his salvation; GOD sent HIS word.
GENESIS 6:13-14 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make thee an ark ...
"GOD said unto Noah"! This is often all that grace gets us, HIS word. Then it is up to us, are we going to build our ark to the saving of our souls, or are we going to "frustrate the grace of God"? Are we going to push through the throngs and touch the hem of His garment, or are we going to sit in the darkness as life passes us by? Are we going to hear and believe, or are we going to hear and "reason among ourselves"?
Not Noah, he did "according to all that God commanded him" (GENESIS 6:22). Thus the Epistle to the Hebrews tells us it was all by faith, because he did according to what he had heard (HEBREWS 11:7). He was indeed saved by grace, but it was only through faith. As James wrote in his epistle, "faith without works is dead" (JAMES 2:20). The grace that Noah received was not the ark; the grace that he received was the word from GOD to build an ark, and how.
Wherever GOD's grace is, there you will find HIS word. It is written in scriptures that "grace and truth came by [dia, through] Jesus Christ" (JOHN 1:17). This doesn't mean that there was no grace before Yeshua (Jesus), but rather that grace completely permeated His life, He was the epitome of grace. In fact, the first several occurrences of grace in the Christian Scriptures (the New Testament) are all concerned with Yeshua. The first one in LUKE 1:30 resulted in His conception. This second usage is about His sustenance.
LUKE 2:40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
To be filled with wisdom "the child" must be taught. This wisdom is beyond the reach of him who just reads. It only comes into fruition by hearing. To this end the grace of GOD was required. This reminds us of the 119th PSALM, where every one of the 176 verses contain some reference to GOD's word. In the ones we have selected below, the Psalmist is asking GOD to teach him that word. This also must be beyond a learning acquired from simply reading, for then why would he be asking to be taught? Wisdom from this learning is in the hearing. This is the process of faith; of doctrine, reproof and correction; of a son being chastened by his Father; of clay on a potter's wheel being molded into a Chosen Vessel. This learning requires the grace of GOD.
12 Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes.
18 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.
26 I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes.
27 Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.
32 I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.
33 Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.
34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.
64 The earth, O LORD, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes.
66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments.
68 Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes.
130 The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.
135 Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; and teach me thy statutes.
144 The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting: give me understanding, and I shall live.
169 Let my cry come near before thee, O LORD: give me understanding according to thy word.
171 My lips shall utter praise, when thou hast taught me thy statutes.
First we read the scriptures, then by HIS grace HE opens our eyes; HE makes us to understand; HE enlarges our heart; HE gives us understanding; HE teaches us good judgment and knowledge, whereby we shall live. By HIS grace, through the process called faith, we are turned from death unto life from the old man to the new man, from the old creation to the new creation.
Our Lord was first conceived in grace, and then as He was maturing, going "about His Father's business", GOD taught Him HIS ways by grace. If Yeshua was born GOD Almighty, as many suppose, why then was He in need of GOD's grace? The greatness of our Lord wasn't in that He was born as some sort of divine mutation, but that He learned obedience to GOD as no other. As He said, "I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me" (JOHN 5:30).
To be able to do GOD's will meant that He first had to be able to know GOD's will. That required grace; grace to hear from GOD. This is why GOD was "well pleased" with Yeshua, because He did not frustrate HIS grace but was obedient to the truth. Remember, you can't please GOD without faith, which is to hear and obey HIS word. Eventually, by GOD's grace, our Lord became molded into the very vessel of GOD's word.
LUKE 4:22 And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words [words of grace] which proceeded out of his mouth...
Yeshua spoke the word of GOD, which is the wisdom of GOD and the true way unto GOD, therefore His words were words of grace. With His words, He showed His followers how to find GOD; how to seek GOD's kingdom (MATTHEW 5,6 and 7). The word kingdom means Royal Dominion (King's Dom) a place where GOD's dominion is ruling.
Where is this kingdom of GOD that we are to seek? Is it only in heaven? Is it in a distant land? Is it in a time past or a time anticipated? No! He taught that this kingdom was among them (LUKE 17:21). How else then can one actively seek this kingdom except with the mind? It is not out there; it is right here! But we won't find it by meditation or mind altering drugs. We can only find that kingdom of GOD by faith. That faith comes from hearing doctrine, reproof and correction which is only by grace.
Yeshua's words written in the Gospels are just as much by the grace of GOD as are HIS words sowed in our hearts. The difference is that one can read the Bible without faith and thus the potential impact will be lacking. But for HIS word to enlighten our minds, it must be implanted within us by faith. Without faith, these passages are of little profit to the reader. But with faith, these passages open the eyes of our understanding that we might be turned from the darkness unto the light.
LUKE 6:20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.
He taught elsewhere that it is hard for a rich man to enter this kingdom (MARK 10:25). Here He teaches that this same kingdom belongs to the poor. "But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation" (LUKE 6:24). Why in the world does the whole planet froth at the bit to buy lottery tickets every time its prize exceeds a hundred million dollars? What kingdom are they seeking? As our Lord declared, they have their reward. Plainly, if we seek earthly treasures, earthly treasures will be our only reward. But, if we wish for eternal treasures, we must seek first the kingdom of GOD and HIS righteousness.
The wealthy are not the ones who are really rich, but rather it is those who receive grace to hear GOD's word. The love of money has a tendency to build walls around the wealthy. Unfortunately, the walls end up being not for their protection but as their imprisonment. Wealth can insulate the heart of man from the grace of GOD. It has a tendency to callous the individual to GOD's workings. As the Psalmist wrote, "It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes" (PSALM 119:71). Hence, the wealthy hinder themselves from learning HIS way and rarely enter themselves into the kingdom of GOD. In truth, it is only those which hear, who are the blessed ones.
LUKE 6:27-35 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
For if ye love them which love you, what thank [grace] have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank [grace] have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank [grace] have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
Only by living through faith can one love his enemies. If our steps are being directed by GOD, then those who cross our path are more than likely for our continued molding. How else could we turn our other cheek having been smote on the one? We must have absolute confidence that all is being overseen by an omnipotent GOD, if we are to be able to do good to them which hate us.
Hereby is the way into grace, for if we only love those of our own liking, what grace do we think we will receive from GOD? And if we only do good as a favor returned, can we expect any grace from GOD? And if we only lend so as to receive back, what grace will we find? If we want to hear words of grace which will renew our mind and thereby transform us into life, we must obey the words of Christ. Knowledge gained by only reading simply puffs up, but knowledge gained by doing the will of GOD builds up (1 CORINTHIANS 8:1). Love makes the hearing a doing.
GOD does not intend to give us HIS word to no avail. If HE tells us to build an ark, HE expects it to be built. If we hear but then fail to obey, "frustrating HIS grace", we may not hear again. As Isaiah wrote in the following passage, GOD's word is always sent to accomplish its purpose. (We have placed these two verses in their proper Structure so as the reader may see their symmetry).
a. As the rain and the snow cometh down
b. from heaven,
c. and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth bud,
d. that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater.
a. So shall my word be that goeth forth
b. out of my mouth.
c. It shall not return unto me void,
d. but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
"Here, in this beautiful comparison, we have in a and a the two things compared, the Word resembling the rain and snow; in b and b we have their source; in c and c, their destiny, not returning void; and in d and d, their end prospering, and the accomplishment of their mission."
E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech Used in the Bible, page 730
GOD's word is sown in the hearts of believers that they might bring forth fruit. The word is sent so that we can obey that word and accomplish its purpose. The apostle Paul preached that to the "children of Abraham" the "word of this salvation" was sent (ACTS 13:26). When they rejected that word, Paul preached again that this "salvation of GOD" from henceforth would be sent unto the Gentiles, "and that they will hear it" (ACTS 28:28).
This word of GOD, which is our salvation, which only comes by grace, is not simply an open book that any might read and discover its treasures. Instead, the word of GOD is an implanted word sent to accomplish its purpose in specific Chosen Vessels. Once sent to Israel, it was later redirected and sent instead unto the Gentiles. As Israel, the Gentiles may not have always obeyed it, but nevertheless, they were going to be able to hear it.
The point we are attempting to communicate, is that it is a sent word. It's not just some words on paper which the Oxford Press has bound together and someone else has placed in the drawers of motel rooms. That is not the sent word. To be GOD's word, it must be specifically sent. Just as when Noah found grace, GOD sends HIS word to accomplish specific purposes.
Having said that, we must be careful not to take the word that GOD sent to others and pretend it was sent to us. As the psalmist wrote, "He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions" (PSALM 107:20). To whosoever that healing word is sent, they have an opportunity to be delivered from their destructions. As the woman with the issue of blood heard the word which was sent to her, then acted upon that which she heard, she was then made whole.
PHILIPPIANS 3:15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
We must gain confidence in HIS personal revelation to our minds, making sure to always measure what we hear alongside of scripture. It all commences when we receive grace, having the word sent unto us. This word does not have to be in the King James Version to be heard and it may be implanted in our minds in a number of different ways. We might read it directly from the Holy Page; we might read it elsewhere in religious or secular publications; we might hear it from the lips of others or even in song. As long as it is GOD's word, from where it comes matters little. All that matters is that it is sent, then heard and ultimately obeyed. As that transpires within us, we gradually are transformed from death unto life.
If we hear the words of Christ and then obey those words, we are in essence hearing and obeying GOD who sent Him, for as He said, "the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me" (JOHN 14:24). But, we must first hear and then obey that which is sent in order to pass from death unto life. This is only accomplished by faith, by hearing and obeying that word. Our Lord declared that "Man shall not live by bread alone, but [we shall live] by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (MATTHEW 4:4). "Every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of GOD" is no doubt more words than any book can contain. If we are not hearing those words, then we are not receiving the nourishment we need so as to live.
It all turns on the hearing. We read that "While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word" (ACTS 10:44). Peter spoke those necessary words that were sent by GOD which opened their minds to receive the holy spirit. GOD often uses some man to speak HIS words. Jeremiah confessed, "Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth" (JEREMIAH 1:9). And then again, "The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book" (JEREMIAH 30:1-2). Thereby, the written word and the spoken word are destined to be the implanted word. Then believing that which we hear, ushers us in through the door of faith, into HIS kingdom, HIS dominion.
Our Lord declared that "...the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life" (JOHN 6:63). The Epistle to the HEBREWS declares that "...the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (HEBREWS 4:12). We mortals understand little the boundless power that is unleashed when GOD's word is sent.
Ezekiel writes of quite an astounding vision he had of the power of GOD's word.
EZEKIEL 37:1-14 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, and caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.
And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest. Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: and I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.
Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, and shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.
It appears that the power of GOD's words have no bounds. All that we can ask or even think can be accomplished by HIS word. But without that word "we can do nothing". Without His word giving us doctrine, reproof and correction all of our activity will bear no real fruit. One won't endure long by taking yesterday's word into tomorrow. Faith requires a never ceasing flow from GOD as with a fountain.