Grounded in God’s Powerful Words
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.
– Isaiah 40:8
God’s Word proclaims the centrality of itself for human life.
A curious and revelatory insight from James Hamilton’s excellent book God’s Glory in Salvation Through Judgment. Hamilton favors the tripartite structure of the Hebrew Bible reflected in the Tanak, which breaks down this way:
According to this traditional structure, the books of the Old Testament are distributed this way:
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
Former Prophets: Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings
Latter Prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, the Book of the Twelve (Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi)
The Book of Truth: Psalms, Proverbs, Job
The Megilloth (Small Scrolls): Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther
Other Sacred Writings: Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah, Chronicles
Then Hamilton points out something very interesting:
The three sections of the Old Testament (Law, Prophets, Writings) each begin with an emphasis on the power of the word of God. At the beginning of the Torah, Genesis opens with God speaking the world into being, each new aspect of creation ignited by the explosive phrase “and God said” (Gen. 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26, 28, 29). In Joshua, the first book of the Prophets, Yahweh charges Moses’ replacement, for whom the book is named, not to let the Torah depart from his mouth. He is to meditate on it day and night, to keep and do it all, that he may be “prosperous and successful” (Josh. 1:8). These words are echoed in the first lines of the first book of the Writings, where Psalm 1 pronounces a blessing on the man who meditates on the Torah of Yahweh day and night (Ps. 1:2), promising that whatever he does will “prosper” (1:3). The Torah opens with Yahweh speaking, and the Prophets and the Writings begin by pointing to the necessity of meditating on Yahweh’s words day and night. (p.139)
At each new beginning, the centrality of God’s authoritative and creative word is reaffirmed and reemphasized. Because our salvation is not born of human will or merit but the powerful word of God, which dissolves darkness into light and raises the dead to life.
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?
– Romans 10:14
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
– Romans 1:16