“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”—Hebrews 4:12-13
We should not be surprised that the Word of God is compared to a sword. A Roman sword had two edges; it cut both ways. God does not use the sword of the Word to destroy His people, but rather to wound them that He might heal them. In fact, the word “sharper” used in this verse is from a word that means “to cut.” It is the language of surgery—the language of dissection. The Word of God does not divide the soul from the spirit, but rather it penetrates both soul and spirit. In brief, it goes to the heart of what and who we are—it lays us bare. In the presence of the Word of God, there is no pretense.
Consider other characteristics of the Word of God:
First, it is “living and active,” that is, it actually has power; it converts the soul. We are born again “not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Peter 1:23). When the Word of God acts, God acts.
Second, the Word of God discerns “the thoughts and intentions of our heart.” The Word of God sits in judgment on all the activity of the soul and spirit; it judges all of our thoughts and reflections. The Word of God monitors the thousands of thoughts that flow through our minds each day; even our “intentions” are judged. Greek scholar, Kenneth Wuest, translated this last phrase about the Word of God as, “the sifter and analyzer of the reflections and conceptions of the heart.” (1)
Third, we read, “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give an account.” The imagery is of a corpse laid on a table with every sinew, every nerve, and every particle of flesh laid bare. Like an X-ray, the Word of God reveals who we are. Christ examines the plates carefully, noting every speck, whether it’s healthy or sick.
The Word of God penetrates our psychic radar systems and breaks our defense mechanisms, exposing our self-delusions and rationalizations. If we are open to receive its message, it’s God’s power to us. Let us pray that the Word of God would cut deeply into our hearts, both to expose our sin that we might confess it, and also to bring the healing and help we all desire.
Let Us Pray
Father, forgive me for neglecting Your Word; forgive me for the times I’ve tried to live off of substitutes. Let me “hide Thy Word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” I’ve learned that the more I meditate on Your Word, the greater my appetite for it; the more I neglect it, the less I miss it. Let me begin today with a new resolve to ‘mediate in Your Word day and night.’ Give me a hunger that can only be satisfied by Your Word.
And now I pray for ______ that they might not be like the person who hears the Word then walks away, but rather like the person who is a “doer of the word and not a hearer only.” Keep us all from the deception of thinking that because we have heard Your Word, we’ve done it; keep us from confusing hearing with doing.
Let the Word be like a “hammer that breaks the rock in pieces.” Let the seeds sown in their hearts bear the fruit of holy desire, namely, a love for Your Word and a willingness to hear Your voice speak to it. Today, cause them to submit to Your Word.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
(1) Kenneth Wuest, Hebrews in the Greek New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1948) p.89.