THE CENTRALITY OF GOD'S WORD
The Word of God is not a novelty, it is a necessity. Without it, there can be no association with God, no experience of His great salvation, and no clarity of thought. This Word--God's Word--reaches higher than any other Word. It has broader implications, and deeper meanings than any other utterance. This Word is more than a mere body of information; it has creative and transforming power. In the beginning, God created the "worlds" with His word. As it is written, "By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible" (Heb 11:3, NASB). If God can call a multiplicity of universes into existence by His word, what can be done with that Word among the sons of men? What other word is like His Word?
Exalted Above All His Name
Of all of God's qualities, He has, among men, exalted His Word above all. He has hung His own integrity upon His Word. Our reliance upon Him is directly related to His Word. If His Word can be trusted, everything about Him can be also. If His Word cannot be trusted, He Himself is untrustworthy. Thus do we read, "I will bow down toward Thy holy temple, And give thanks to Thy name for Thy loving-kindness and Thy truth; For Thou hast magnified Thy word according to all Thy name" (Psalm 138:2, NASB). " . . . for you have exalted above all things Your name and Your word" (NIV). " . . . thou hast magnified Thy word above all Thy name" (ASV, KJV, NKJV). You must not allow the variant readings to confuse you. The intention of this expression is to show the supremacy of God's Word to men. The NASB emphasizes that this has been done in accordance with God's own nature. The NIV underscores that God's Word and nature are in harmony, thereby requiring that His Word be held in high regard, and in much reverence. The ASV and KJV confirm that of all Divine qualities, His Word is to be held in highest regard. This does not allow men to despise any of God's characteristics, and that is certainly not the intent of the verse. Rather, it accentuates that the only way we obtain an intelligent view of God is through His Word. That is where we learn of His love, mercy, longsuffering, and purpose. If we cannot depend upon what God says, there is no hope of trusting Him in any sense! Therefore, He has placed the priority upon His Word, because that is the appointed means of becoming acquainted with Him. To put it another way, the Lord has made no provision for acquaintance with Himself, spiritual advance, or the attainment of glory, apart from His Word. Candidly, that is a staggering consideration.
Everything Is Measured by the Word
In God's Kingdom, everything is measured by His Word. Individual identity with God is evaluated by this means. Moral progress is assessed through the Word. How graphically this is portrayed in Christ's parable of the sower. "A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop--a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown . . . Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful . . . But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown" (Matt 13:3-8, 18-23, NIV). A few observations will suffice to illustrate the absolute importance of the Word of the Lord.