It can be hard to trust in the Word when we are faced with mockery and reproach. But Jesus shows us that we don’t need to justify the Word or make excuses for God. The only answer is to be silent and trust, for the Word is eternal, all powerful, and unchanging.
So shall I have an answer for him who reproaches me, For I trust in Your word. (Psalm 119:42)
We live in an age where God is increasingly scorned in the world and His people ridiculed and even persecuted for their faith in Him. At the same time, the command to go out and preach the Gospel remains as absolute as it ever was. It has neither been withdrawn nor made optional. Obedience sets us immediately against non-believers, whether they be virulently anti-God or not. Sometimes, indifference and mockery are often more difficult to deal with than outright aggression. Sadly, our conflict is often with friends or family members who cannot or will not see the truth. When we come under reproach, it can often hit hard at our faith. We may find ourselves questioning based on the apparent logic of the arguments ranged against us. Perhaps our prayers or statements of faith have not yet been established, leaving us vulnerable to doubt. Still, we must trust in the Word.
Trust in the Word for its eternal power.
Way back in Genesis, the Word was present with God. Jesus, as the Living Word, participated with and as God in creation. The Bible also tells us that the Word will endure forever, even after the world as we know it has passed away. When we trust in the Word, we trust in its eternal nature. That eternal nature is God Himself in His Son, so it is both divine and eternal. The Word cannot be separated from who and what God is. It is the revelation of His will and purpose. Because it is eternal and divine, the Word is also unchanging because God Himself will never change. There is nothing in heaven or earth that can influence it, affect it, negate it, or destroy it. It is this eternal, divine nature that makes it the Living Word. The Word is immutable, whether we believe or not.
Because it is eternal and alive, the Word contains the power of God. It contains all it needs for self-fulfilment as well as His power to perform it. This is because it is the revelation of His will which is sovereign. The Word is God in action, the way in which He releases His power to fulfil His sovereign purposes. God moves from will to Word to work. The Word cannot and never will be left out. It is the bridge that releases the supernatural into the natural and so accomplishes what He desires. Jesus coming to earth is the reflection of this. The Word became flesh to manifest the will and purposes of God in supernatural power. We can trust in the Word because it’s not dependent on us or our abilities. It is an integral part of the I AM of God with His power for self-fulfilment.
Satan’s plan to undermine our trust in the Word.
In the garden of Eden, Satan’s deception was aimed directly at the Word of God. His ploy was to question it, to cast doubt upon its validity. Not much has changed. Still today, ‘did the Lord really say’ is the very beginning of doubt and unbelief. It will manifest as seemingly innocent questions raised up in our own minds, or as the logic and rationale of an unbelieving world. The result, however, is always the same. It whittles away at our trust in the Word and leaves us uncertain in our faith. If he can’t get us to question it, he’ll try to get us to add or take away from it. Those believers who use the Word out of context to justify their behaviour are a good example. Saul, for instance, tried to rationalise his disobedience by using the Word prescribing worship as his excuse.
In the desert, weak from fasting, Jesus encountered the devil who wasted no time in trying to use the Word to tempt Him. Christ responded with a simple ‘it is written,’ which cut through Satan’s deception and defeated his purposes. What’s important to realise here is that there is a reason why the devil is so determined to undermine the Word in our lives. It’s because he knows its power and knows what will be accomplished when the people of God trust in the Word. It’s exactly the same reason why he went after Jesus and stirred up the people and the religious leaders against Him. Satan’s plan was to destroy the Word while He was in human form. That he failed makes him all the more determined to destroy it in us. He knows, when we trust in the Word, the supernatural power of God is released.
To trust in the Word brings reproach.
This is something we must understand and accept. Followers of Christ will endure the same mockery and reproach He did. The reason for this is that the Word cannot be understood by those who do not see in the Spirit. In our fleshly selves, we are unable to comprehend the things of God. It is the Word released in us by the Spirit that enables us to see its power and truth and to believe. When we trust in the Word, it’s always a threat to the kingdom of darkness and its citizens. It is the Word that brings conviction of sin, so it will always challenge others on a spiritual level. This manifests in the flesh, because those not born again cannot operate in the spirit. As a result, intellect and logic and reason become their weapons. Ridicule and mockery and scorn go hand in hand.
It is a common human failing to put down what we do not understand. Even children learn this at a very early age. Add the dimension of spiritual conviction which threatens the way of life of those in the world, and the Word becomes a volatile subject. Most people don’t really want to hear the truth unless it echoes our opinions or beliefs. The Bible teaches a way of life that is the complete antithesis of the accepted norms and standards of conventional society. Mankind is obsessed with our ‘rights’ and free will and the power of our intellect. These things feed self, while the Bible tells us clearly that self has to die. When we challenge the status quo and man’s illusions of self-grandeur through a simple trust in the Word, we will invite reproach. It’s the self-centredness in man lashing out at the truth.
Jesus is our example to trust in the Word.
There are few moments in the Bible as powerful as a man unjustly accused standing silent before His accusers. The power in this lies in the fact that Jesus did not need to justify Himself. He knew the inevitable outcome and gave Himself over to the authorities without hesitation. The entire situation was unfair, and we would defend ourselves and our faith with zeal and enthusiasm. Jesus, however, revealed what it is to trust in the Word. While He knew the way of the cross and that death awaited Him, He also knew that He was a Living Word, eternal and unchangeable. He knew that He would rise again as victor and conqueror. That was where His trust lay, not in the man-made arguments and defences we resort to under pressure. He looked to what God said rather than to the aggression and reproach of the world.
We have all encountered mockery and ridicule. Worldly logic and reason seems to somehow seem more real and believable than the Bible when under pressure. There is often confusion about when we should speak and when we should not, but Jesus never argued with the religious leaders, for example. He simply spoke the Word and then was silent. Entering into debate is essentially reducing the Word to a natural level. It doesn’t need justification or explanation. We don’t have to defend it. When we consider that the Word contains the eternal, supernatural power of the great I AM, we can see why. It’s ludicrous to even think that it needs our help to fulfil the will of God. We don’t have to defend it, but we do have to believe it. We must trust in the Word that we speak and then, like Christ, be silent.
To trust in the Word is our response.
No matter what comes against us, the Bible teaches only one response – trust in the Word. The problem is that the world has twisted our thinking. We find ourselves saying, Yes, God says, but… instead of saying, Yes, but God says. This effectively puts us in the place of continually making excuses for God. We constantly try to justify why the Word ‘hasn’t worked’ or why God’s promises don’t manifest. The issue is not His Word, it’s our trust in the Word. The Word is eternal, immutable, and powerful. We cannot alter its intrinsic nature, but we can limit it in our lives. We do it by falling into the very human trap of responding to reproach for which there doesn’t seem to be an adequate answer. Jesus showed us the answer. It is to remain silent and trust in the Word.
Lord Jesus, Living Word, thank You for Your example and that You already have the victory over all reproach. Help us to fix our eyes on You and to trust in the Word, living as You have taught us. Guide us when to speak and when to be silent. Guard our hearts and our faith, so that the reproach of the world will not erode our trust but strengthen us in You.