The power of words is undeniable. We experience it both constructively (encouragement, counsel, wisdom, and more) and destructively (inappropriate criticism, gossip, hate speech, anti-social media, and more). But, the power of expression is not limited to human experience. God Himself has often exerted His power and accomplished His purposes through communication.
The earliest recorded event in Scripture—creation—is described as a product of God’s speech, as Genesis 1:3 records, “Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.” Peter acknowledges the power of God’s words, “For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water…” (2 Peter 3:5). God could have created the universe in any fashion He saw fit, so the fact that He chose to create through the spoken word must be significant. And, this choice of how to accomplish His purposes established a pattern that would continue throughout the Scriptures.
When Adam and Eve sinned, God called to them (Genesis 3:9). God spoke to Abram (Genesis 12:1) so that, through this man, a people would be established through whom salvation would come. When Moses encountered a bush that burned without burning up, God spoke to him as well (Exodus 3:4). God spoke to the child Samuel (1 Samuel 3:4) as a first call into spiritual service. Then, in Samuel’s later life, God spoke to Samuel about the character and the identity of His choice for the new king of Israel—David (1 Samuel 16:1, 7, 12). Repeatedly, God’s purposes were realized because He communicated through speech.
Ultimately, this set the stage for Christ Himself—the ultimate expression of God’s communication of Himself and His love to us. Encapsulating all of God’s previous speech to His broken creation, the writer of the letter to the Hebrews opens this way:
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high… (Hebrews 1:1-3a)
Notice how this considers both the writer’s ancient past and his recent present. In the ancient past, God had spoken to and through patriarchs and prophets. The role of the prophet in ancient Israel was to represent God to the people, so their words were often prefaced with, “So says the Lord…” or, “the word of the Lord came to me…” The prophetic message was God reaching out to His people, Israel, in both warning and wisdom, reminding them that He was deeply and personally engaged with them.
But, all of that was inevitably inadequate to express the fullness of God or His heart for humanity. So, in the writer’s recent present, God spoke again (Hebrews 1:2), this time “in His Son”—the one Who is “the exact representation of His nature” (v.3) and the fullest expression of God’s redeeming love.
Little wonder that, in the prologue to John’s gospel, this Son is identified as “the Word” who had existed with the Father in the beginning. That Word “became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). God sent the living Word into a dying world. This Jesus came so that we could not only hear from God, we could see, in the Son, what God is like (John 1:18, 14:9). God’s ultimate expression of Himself was to be heard and experienced in His Son, Jesus—the living Word.
As Francis Schaeffer said of our God, “He is there, and He is not silent.” God is a God of communication who has spoken to us through His Son to declare the greatest of all possible messages—the Word has come to show us the Father and to bring us home to Him. This Word is the message that is ultimately woven throughout all of His words to us.
To read more about the weight of our words, visit https://discoveryseries.org/courses/words-matter/