Some time ago, I was reading Psalm 29 and became enamored with the sheer magnitude of God’s power. With His voice alone, He “breaks the cedars,” “flashes forth flames of fire,” “shakes the wilderness,” “makes the deer give birth,” and “strips the forest bare.” And according to the Creation account in Genesis, God simply spoke, and the universe in all of its vastness and complexity came forth from nothing.
To speak something into existence is an astounding level of power, far beyond that of any human strength. If I wanted to build a house, and I said to an empty lot, “Let there be a house,” there would still only be an empty lot. We humans cannot command emptiness to become something. In order to build a house, I would have to make a plan, gather all the needed materials, and then put it all together, piece by piece. It would take a lot of time and work.
But God is different, and when He wanted to make a world, He spoke. And His words alone were so authoritative that, once He spoke, there stood some new element of His world before Him.
What does it mean for us that God’s words have the power to create and sustain a universe?
It means that the words of God don’t just tell us about reality; they are reality.
This has been a really hard year for me in many ways, and one of the things I have struggled with at different points is the ability to imagine that God loves me. The facts of the matter have been there in the mind—of course, God loves you—but they sat there, rather stiff and aloof, as if they didn’t want to come anywhere near my feelings.
The comfort finally came, though, in remembering the power of God’s words. In the beginning, God spoke, and it was so. Whenever God has spoken, it has always been so—whether the people involved could see it or not. So when God says, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,” or “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us” or “Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ,” the reliability of the statements does not depend on my current feelings. (What an arrogant notion.) If God says He loves me—and He does over and over again—nothing could be more sure.
Furthermore, the power of God’s words means that God’s commands require no particular amount of ability from us. The power to do what God has told us to do is inherent in the command. We need only yield ourselves to His will, and He has already provided the power to do what we could not on our own.
Thinking about this reminded me of when I am driving and come to a stop. Although I do not have the strength in me to move my car forward, the car itself is ready to go. The only thing restraining the power of the engine to carry me forward is my foot on the brake. Likewise, the commands of God have the power to carry us forward in God’s will, but any resistance to God is like the brakes that stop us from fulfilling God’s commands. It’s not that there isn’t power to complete the task. It’s that we have chosen not to use it.
I’ve just finished reading about Gideon in my daily Bible reading. When the angel of the Lord first appeared to him and told him to deliver Israel from the hand of Midian, Gideon balked. Who was he to be able to do such a thing? He brought up all his reasons of why he wasn’t the right person, but God simply said, “I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man.” Although it took a series of signs (that God graciously allowed) before Gideon was convinced that what God was telling him was true, he did eventually have the confidence to obey, and when He obeyed, God did what only He could do. And Gideon got to see the Lord miraculously defeat the Midianite army.
There are so many accounts like this in the Bible where the Lord gave a person a job to do—a job that would be impossible by human standards—and the power to do it was freely available to them in Him. When the Lord gives us something to do, He never intends that we do it alone. He is there with His world-making word-power to see it through.
Another comfort that comes from understanding the power of God’s words is that we can rest in His sovereignty in regard to “unanswered” prayer. If we have prayed and prayed and prayed about a particular thing, and it sits unchanged, it is not because God can’t change it. It would be the easiest thing in the world for the Lord to change. He need only speak the word, and it would be done.
Remember the centurion in Luke 7? He understood the authority of God’s words. When Jesus told him that he would come and heal his sick servant, the centurion asked him not to because he was unworthy. He knew that if Jesus only spoke the word, it would be done.
It is still true today. The Lord is able to simply speak the word, and whatever He says will happen. And so if the Lord has not changed a thing we have prayed for so far, we can rest, knowing that He has a very good reason for what He is doing.
How good it is to have a God who speaks, and it is done. ❤️