Just Words… Again

How many people today snort in contempt when someone mentions God’s Word? How many roll their eyes when God is mentioned? Are you one of them? For those who believe – how much do you believe? My own confession may surprise you. I’d have to say – it depends. Depends on what? How much I believe depends on how certain I am what is held forth as God’s Word truly is just that – God’s Word. It depends on my understanding. While I don’t have to understand something to believe it, I tend to believe more strongly in those things I understand best. Don’t we all?

No matter how much, or little, stock you put in God’s Word, as you understand it, let’s say we consider the concept of words in general. As a writer, I know words can be powerful. They can also be as wimpy as that 98 lb weakling on the beach. Then again, you need not be a writer to understand this. We’ve all been hurt by words. Many times words can cause pain far worse than a beat down. Ironically, much of the pain depends on the source. Keep this in mind…

If you would, stop for a moment and consider the events of your day. Pay particular attention to those things you see. Single out the “news” items. Let’s dump the news items concerning actual, physical violence for now. Instead let us zero in on, oh say, government doings, shall we? What do you see?

Depending on the day, chances are you are seeing some sort of legal action. You might be viewing reports on what law enforcement is or is not doing. Congress is sure to be up to one thing or another, as is our state legislatures and governors. You might notice none of them, with the exception of law enforcement, carries weapons. We’ll get to the law enforcement bit in a moment.

First let’s consider the lawmakers. By now you know where I’m going with this. Whether they are current involved in actual legislative action or they are jockeying for one agenda or another, they are using words. Laws are words. Political platforms are words. Don’t all legal actions boil down to what the words really mean? Ask any lawyer, the heart of any law is comprised of the definitions included.

Moving on to law enforcement, of course weapons are typically used. That said, the true force of law is not in weaponry but in the words. Without words, there are no laws to be enforced. Indeed, without our the words of our Constitution, we have no basis to even define laws. Warrants are words empowering those enforcing the law to search, to seize, to arrest. Summons call citizens and non-citizens to courts of law where their fate is determined on the words presented.

Beyond the realm of legislatures, laws, and courts, now consider some other stories vying for your attention. Is it fair to say words, in one way or another, influenced or are even directly involved in these acts? Violence does not happen in a vacuum. Even accidents often are the result of someone ignoring the rules of the road expressed in words.

In fact, the deeper you dig the more you will discover the roots of nearly all human activity are either expressed in or the direct result of… words.

Our nation was founded upon our Constitution – words. Our forefathers’ beliefs were based on what they learned in their youth, be it from the scriptures, from the classics, or from their elders. All words. Our laws take form in words. From the highest offices of the land to the most secret places in the darkest depths, the most damning and damaging weapons used against us are words.

So… and I’m speaking to you unbelievers and neer believers – go ahead – scoff at God’s Word. For those of you to envision an angry, vengeful god, take note, you are so very, very wrong.

Mark 10:17 And as he was going forth into the way, there ran one to him, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?

18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good save one, even God.

19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor thy father and mother.

What did Jesus tell this fellow? Did he laugh in his face? Deride him? No. He told him simply to heed the commandments he’d been taught from his youth. You know what they are but I’ll post them here as a reminder.

Exodus 20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

4 Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image, nor any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

7 Thou shalt not take the name of Jehovah thy God in vain; for Jehovah will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

12 Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which Jehovah thy God giveth thee.

13 Thou shalt not kill.

14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.

15 Thou shalt not steal.

16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s.

Note Jesus listed only seven of the ten. Which ones did he omit? Have no other Gods, do not make idols, and remember the sabbath. Those first two were likely a given considering the man was asking one he addressed as “good master”, in other words, a respected rabbi and not some priest representing any false god. As for remembering the sabbath, I don’t know why he didn’t include it.

None of these omissions detract from my point – only one of the above even hints at possible vengeance and that one merely states “Jehovah will not hold him guiltless”. More importantly, what do these commandments actually require?

For the most part that we treat others decently. How awful! What terrible god would require such things? (Do I need a sarcasm tag here?) So many have and will point out all the killing and such detailed in the scriptures. Two of these are among the most brutal.

In Judges, there is the story of a Levite who takes a concubine. Scripture says she “played the harlot”. Many verses later, the man literally cuts her into twelve pieces and “sent her throughout all the borders of Israel”. Ouch. Again, this man was a Levite or one of God’s priests class.

The second passage results in Israel’s first king, Saul, losing his kingdom.

1 Samuel 15:28 And Samuel said unto him, Jehovah hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbor of thine, that is better than thou.

Why? What did he do? What commandment did he fail at keeping?

 And Samuel said unto Saul, Jehovah sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of Jehovah.

2 Thus saith Jehovah of hosts, I have marked that which Amalek did to Israel, how he set himself against him in the way, when he came up out of Egypt.

3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

That’s right. God commanded King Saul to totally obliterate Amalek – everyone and every thing, even the babies. And Saul did just that… almost. Where did he fail?

1 Samuel 15:9 But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but everything that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.

You read right. Saul spared the Amalek King Agag, and the best livestock. In other words he showed mercy (and a bit of greed) and lost his Kingdom because of it. As brutal as this seems, our Heavenly Father’s logic turned out to be absolutely infallible. Go figure. Because the Amalek line was allowed to continue, this tribe caused no end of trouble for Israel. It was an Amalekite who eventually killed Saul. So much for mercy.

Moving on to the main point, the scriptures overwhelmingly encourage and exhort us to be good and do good. This is particularly true of the New Testament. If we were to heed God’s words in these pages, this world would indeed be a peaceful and joyous planet.

To you they may just be “words” to me they are words of life. Just words? You tell me. Out of all the words in all the places in the world today – what words are better than those found between the the covers of the Holy Bible? If our understanding of the significance of words ended there, we could all lead very blessed lives. But what if there’s more… much more? Well there is. Stay tuned for part two – the Secret of the Kingdom.