Ray of Hope Shining on the Face of a Child

A daily devotion for March 7th

The Word that Works

And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.

1 Thessalonians 2:13

What a profound statement of truth about the Word! It declares that the Word of God is a most remarkable instrument. No other verse in the Bible states so clearly that the Word of God comes to us through ordinary humans. Throughout history, God has always communicated through people who look, talk and behave just like us. Jeremiah says that the Word of God came to him like a burning in his bones (Jeremiah 20:9). Elijah declared that the Word of God came to him like a still small voice (1 Kings 19:12). Daniel said that God spoke to him in visions and dreams in the night (Daniel 2:19). Moses said that when God communicated with him, he spoke to him face to face, like a man speaks with his friends (Exodus 33:11). Peter wrote that holy men of old spoke as they were carried along by the Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). This is the most common way in which the Word of God comes.

Certainly, that is the way the Thessalonian Christians experienced it. Paul began to speak, and they were conscious that what they were hearing was not the words of a mere man; they were hearing the Word of God. This raises a problem, because if the Word of God comes through ordinary people, it can easily be imitated. How can we tell when God has really spoken and when we are hearing from a false prophet? The apostle gives one clear way to test reality, found in the phrase at the end of verse 13, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. The real Word of God always changes people and makes them different. To merely mentally accept it does not change anyone, but if people begin to act on it, to obey it, they will be changed; the Word will make them into different people.

Most of us are familiar with the story of The Mutiny on the Bounty. In the nineteenth century, mutineers took over the ship, set their captain adrift in a lifeboat, and ended up on the island of Pitcairn in the South Pacific. But we do not often hear much about what happened after they landed. They were rather rough, godless sailors for the most part. Together with the wives they had taken with them from the island of Tahiti, they spent their days drinking, gambling, carousing and fighting with one another. Soon the fighting led to battle, and they killed each other off until the colony was reduced to a handful of people. Among them was a man named Alexander Smith. Rummaging through his trunk one day, he found a Bible that his mother had put there. He began to read it, and soon it changed his life. Then he read to the surviving mutineers, and it changed their lives. When that island was rediscovered some years later, it had become a model community. There was no jail because they had no crime. They loved God and they loved each other. The book totally changed their lives and their society! That is the power of God's word!

Lord, your word is powerful, and I desire to let it work in my own life and change me from the inside out.

Life Application

How have you seen the Word of God at work in your life this week?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

The Mysterious Word

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