A devotional thought from Trevin Wax for “The God Who Speaks”
One of the most common phrases we encounter in the Scriptures is “Thus says the Lord” or “This is the Lord’s declaration.” The Old Testament prophets so often sprinkle their writings with this phrase that at times the declaration interrupts the natural flow of a sentence. For example, Jeremiah wrote: “If you return, Israel—this is the Lord’s declaration—you will return to Me, if you remove your detestable idols from My presence and do not waver” (4:1). Why go to such lengths to include this phrase? The prophets wanted to make it clear who was delivering the message. The who determines how the what is heard.
In session 1, we see that God’s Word has authority because it is God who is speaking. At the heart of God’s revelation is grace. God has graciously chosen to reveal Himself to us. But flowing from the gracious heart of God’s revelation is responsibility. God speaks to us (grace) in order that we might act (obedience). Grace precedes obedience and makes it possible.
Too many times, we as Christians affirm the right things about God and the Bible without ever grappling with how God wants us to live in response to His work. If God has truly spoken, then we must listen and obey. David Platt writes: “When the words of mere humans drive how and where we are going, we will get nowhere. When we unchain the power of God’s Word in the church, it will unleash the potential of God’s people in the world.” [Radical Together (Colorado Springs: Multnomah, 2011), 45-46.]
Pause and Reflect
• What are the results of having a knowledge of God’s Word that outpaces our obedience to God’s Word?
• If grace is the foundation of God’s commands, what does this tell us about how we should view God’s commands?