The Power of God's Word
He shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. (Isaiah 11:4; ESV)
God's word is powerful. When God speaks, things happen. The Torah's account of creation testifies to this. Light, sky, land, vegetation, the sun, the moon, stars, animals, and man all came into existence by God simply saying so. Whatever God says, he will do (see Isaiah 55:1). He made himself known by speaking his word to and through Moses and the prophets.
The power of God's word is well-described by the writer of the New Covenant book of Hebrews:
While this may apply to the Scriptures as the written Word of God, it primarily describes the effect of what happens when a person hears what God says, whether it be through the Bible, a dream, a vision, or another person. The speaking of God's word is what Yeshua's followers were commissioned to do. He sent them to teach the nations everything he had taught them (see Matthew 28:18-20).
In the book of Revelation, the Messiah's word is also described using the sword metaphor:
Many assume that this sort of thing will not occur until Messiah returns to fully establish his Kingdom on Earth sometime in the future. But its similarity to the quote I read at the beginning from Isaiah, chapter 11, verse 4, suggests otherwise. The first ten verses of this chapter of Isaiah is one of many messianic prophecies that see the coming of the Messiah as one complex event. Many Jewish people reject Yeshua as Messiah because the fullness of passages such as this one has not occurred. Christians, on the other hand, tend to finely divide the details of Messiah's first and second comings.
I tend to see that there is far more of a continuum between his coming two thousand years ago and the full establishment of his kingdom in the future. This includes the topic at hand: the power of God's word. For through his followers the sharp sword of Revelation 19 and Hebrews 4 and the rod of Isaiah 11 have been striking the earth. While I am well aware of the continuing prevalence of evil everywhere, the word of God has been piercing hearts and transforming nations the world over. The world before Yeshua's coming is not the same world we live in today. The word of God which once was limited to the people of Israel has been and is being proclaimed to the nations. The word of God has been thrust against every evil deed and unjust system in almost every society. In the end God's word will prevail completely. But in the meantime it has freed captives and judged its opponents.
We mustn't underestimate the power of God's word. Irrespective of how people respond, as we speak his word, he will pierce hearts. As we speak his word, people of influence will be called to account. As we speak his word, nations will be confronted with the reality of God and the Lordship of Messiah.
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