Vol. 5, No. 12
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God will answer Job's questions with a humbling interrogation, prefaced (twice) by the blunt warning, "Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me" (Job 38:3; 40:7). Confrontation with God requires preparation.
God's revealed truth impacts its auditors with a challenge. With God's Word, it always is.
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it (Isaiah 55:11).
The Word of God will never leave a person in the same spiritual position. It will have some effect, depending upon the choice of the hearer. The listener could reject and rebel, as Stephen's suddenly self-appointed executioners did (Acts 7:54-60). The listener could repent and obey, as did the Jews on Pentecost (Acts 2:37-47). The listener could even procrastinate (Acts 24:25), but he will not be left unchanged. The Word of God pierces to the guilt of the soul, like a sword through sensitive flesh. It would behoove everyone to behold the power of the message to be proclaimed during the Gospel.
One wonders, then, if God's message to Job might have modern application. Even though God does not speak person-to-person anymore (as he did to Job), might the twenty-first century student (whether listening or reading) be benefited by the same admonition? "Prepare yourself," one might paraphrase, "you're about to hear a sermon from the Almighty's inspired Book of Books."
It seems a biblical principle. In Old Testament days of Israel's conflict with idolatry, the spokesman Samuel warned the people to prepare themselves for appropriate service and worship to God:
Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, "If you return to the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths from among you, and prepare your hearts for the Lord, and serve Him only; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines (1 Samuel 7:3).
If they, under a preliminary covenant, had to prepare themselves for worship, how much more do those who labor under a more glorious law need to prepare (Hebrews 2:1-4; 8:6-13)?
Beware the dangers of not preparing. Rehoboam was the infamous king who alienated a large portion of the Israelite nation by his intention of cruel treatment (1 Kings 12). An inspired summation of his life notes his downfall and gives reason for it. Second Chronicles 12:1 notes that he forsook the Lord. Verse fourteen of that chapter explains the haunting reason: "And he did evil, because he did not prepare his heart to seek the Lord." Why did he not obey? Because he did not seek the Lord. Why did he not seek the Lord? Because he did not prepare his heart to do so.
To seek the Lord, a heart must be tender and open, willing to expel preconceived ideas when confronted with unalterable truth. The heart must be committed to examining God's Word for the answers and willing to accept what is taught (Acts 17:11). May we all at all times prepare our hearts to reverently seek the Lord.