Every Word

William C. Brownson Uncategorized

READ : Proverbs 30:05

Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.

Proverbs 30:5, RSV

“Every word of God proves true.” There is much compressed into little, a sentence short in words but long in wisdom. This thought from an ancient proverb is worth mulling over. “Every word of God proves true.”

I was talking about this verse from Proverbs 30:5 with some of my friends recently at an early morning meeting. We were pondering the question, “What are these words of God that prove true?” Commandments don’t “prove true,” do they? They simply state what God’s purpose is for human life. Biblical narratives of past events don’t “prove true” either. We may be able to confirm their accuracy by outside sources, but they don’t fulfill themselves with the passing of time. A word that “proves true” is spoken at one point in history and later shows itself to be accurate. A word that proves true is therefore a word about the future. It’s a prophecy announcing beforehand what will happen. Best of all, it’s a promise assuring us of what our covenant-keeping God will do. One of the psalmists puts the matter just that way: “This God – his way is perfect; the promise of the LORD proves true” (Psalm 18:30).

Now that is a saying we can put to the test. We’ve had a long history since the writer of the Proverbs and the singer of the Psalms expressed this great conviction. Has the Word of God proved true? Have His promises been fulfilled? The apostle Paul answers that question with a ringing affirmative. Listen to these words from his second letter to the Corinthians:

For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we preached among you, Sylvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him (1:19).

Paul is saying not only that the promises of God have proved true but that they have found their fulfillment, their everlasting “Yes,” in Jesus Christ.

OLD TESTAMENT WORDS

Think for a moment about some major Old Testament prophecies we find fulfilled in Him. Remember what God promised to Abraham in the dawn of his dealings with the covenant people? Listen. This is from Genesis, chapter 12:

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who curses you I will curse; and by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves (vv. 1-3).

God promises to Abram a land. He says that He will make of him a great nation and make his name great. From Abram, we recall, has sprung the nation of Israel who now inhabit that ancient land. And further, God says that through Abram’s offspring, blessing will come to all the families of the earth.

Jesus, friends, is the promised seed of Abraham. Through His life, His works, His teaching, His death and resurrection, and through the sending of His Spirit, all nations have come to know the blessing of God’s salvation. The promise of the Lord proves true.

God told David that one would rise from his royal progeny who would reign forever. That promise was renewed when Jesus’ birth was announced to Mary:

He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of His father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end (Luke 1:32-33).

Jesus, Israel’s true king, crucified, risen, and reigning, has been given a kingdom that will never pass away. He is the promised son of David.

The great prophet Isaiah spoke of a mysterious Servant of the Lord who would bear the griefs of His people and carry their sorrows. Men would see Him as stricken, smitten by God and afflicted, although the servant would be innocent of any wrong. Upon Him would be laid, as upon a sacrificial lamb, the iniquities of us all. Yes, Jesus, crucified for us, dying for our sins, is the suffering Servant of the Lord. Every word of God in Him proves true.

NEW TESTAMENT WORDS

Jesus, when He began His public ministry, announced that He Himself was speaking the words of God. “My teaching is not mine,” He declared, “but the Father’s who sent me… what I have heard from my Father, I declare to you.” And within the body of His teaching were many prophecies, many promises, of what God would yet do.

Some of those are promises about the end of the age. Jesus taught, for example, that at the consummation of history, He will return upon the clouds of heaven in power and great glory. The dead will be raised again to new life. God will bring into being a new heaven and a new earth. All wrongs will be righted then, all questions answered, all tears wiped away. God’s people will rejoice in His presence forever.

But Jesus also made promises that have already been fulfilled. For example, He foretold the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. That actually happened in A.D. 70, and the temple has never been rebuilt. He told His followers that the Father would send the Holy Spirit to them, to equip them for their mission, and to be with them forever. That promise was fulfilled on the first Christian Pentecost, and the effects of it are being experienced today all across the world.

Jesus also, in the midst of His public ministry, told His disciples on several occasions that He was going to Jerusalem, and that there He would be rejected by the Jewish authorities, delivered to the Romans, mocked, tortured, and killed. All of that took place just as He said. Further, He announced, definitely and repeatedly, that after His dying He would be raised to life again. Here is a sample of His teaching, from Mark 10:33.

Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and deliver him to the Gentiles; and they will mock him; and spit upon him, and scourge him, and kill him; and after three days he will rise.

He even asserted calmly that this destiny was something He had deliberately chosen.

For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This charge I have received from my Father (John 10:17-18).

THE GREAT YES

Now it is safe to say that if Jesus had not been raised from the dead, none of us would have even heard about these sayings. They would have been written off and soon forgotten as the ravings of a deluded man. But this world-shaking, history-changing, seemingly impossible promise proved true. On the third day after He was crucified, Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead, nevermore to die.

Can we take in today what that means? It means for one thing that what Jesus taught about the purpose of His dying has now been powerfully confirmed. He said many times during His ministry that His death would be for others. He would give His life, He said, as a ransom for many. He would lay down His life for His sheep. He, the Lamb of God, would take away the sins of the world. His resurrection attested all that. It was the mighty sign that His saving mission had been accomplished, that His sacrifice had been accepted, that His death had atoned for the sins of the whole world.

Further, His rising on Easter spoke a great “yes” to all His claims about who He was. He said that He was the only begotten Son of the Father, that He was Lord of the Sabbath, greater than Solomon, greater than the temple. He taught also that He was the heavenly Son of man who would come upon the clouds of heaven, that He was the Christ, the Son of the blessed One. He said that He had an eternal existence: “Before Abraham was, I am.” He claimed not only that He had come to reveal the Father but also that He and the Father were one. He assumed that the destiny of all the world’s peoples was in His hands. When He rose again, the truth of those spectacular claims became dramatically evident.

And for those who know Him as the risen One, the resurrection of Jesus is the anchor of all future hope. Because He rose, we know that those who have died believing in Him have not passed into nothingness. Because He rose, we are sure that none of those who trust in Him will ever be condemned. We are certain that He, the faithful One, will come again, even as He said He would.

No one knows the time. It will be, He said, at an hour when we least expect it. But He will surely come. All who have died believing in Him will be raised again at His coming. All living believers will be transformed in an instant and caught up to be with Him. The earth as we now know it will be purified, transformed, recreated. The redeemed ones will enter then into the glorious liberty of the children of God. His kingdom of justice, peace and love will fully come. He shall rule forever and ever, and His people shall share His gracious reign. He will, as the Scripture reports it, make all things new.

All of this, and whatever else He has promised, will surely be fulfilled. Every word of God proves true. No word from God shall be void of power.

GOD OUR SHIELD

But that’s not all the proverb says. After the words, “Every word of God proves true,” and after the affirmation of the psalmist, “the promise of the Lord proves true,” come in both cases these striking words, “He is a shield to those who take refuge in him.” This is a beautiful picture of what it means to believe. To trust in God is to take refuge in Him, to go to Him for help, to set all our hopes upon Him. Believing, in the Hebrew sense of the term, means establishing ourselves upon something solid in the midst of a world of flux and chaos. To believe in God is to rest all our weight upon Him, as it were, to depend completely on His faithful Word.

Let me ask you today: Have you done that? Have you put your trust in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who raised Him from the dead? Have you taken Him at His word and counted on Him to be faithful? That’s what it means to believe – to take God at His Word. Have you come to rest all your hopes on the promises He has made and fulfilled in Jesus Christ? And are you right now relying completely on Jesus, the risen One, as your Savior and your King? If you can answer yes to those questions then you have His promise. He will forever be a shield to you, your ultimate security, your supreme joy, your final home. May you see in the resurrection of Jesus the great confirmation from God of all our longings and hopes. May you know because Christ is alive, nevermore to die, that all the promises of God will yet find their fulfillment in Him. May it be ringing in your heart today, because Christ is risen from the dead, that every word of God proves true. And may you find Him to be indeed a shield for you as you take refuge in this risen Savior.

PRAYER: We bless You, O God, that You are the faithful One and that all of Your promises prove true. We thank You, especially, that in raising Christ from the dead You have given us a great anchor for all our hopes about the future. May every person sharing this broadcast so trust in the risen, reigning Christ that they may have the deep confidence that Your Word will always come true. In Jesus’ name. Amen.