The Hearing of Faith
The Bible is a unique book because, as the Word of God, it nourishes us in our spiritual life. Other writings may function to enrich our understanding of people and events. The Bible alone satisfies our inner hunger for spiritual food. The Lord Jesus said,“Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out through the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). The words that proceed out of God’s mouth are food for us to eat.
The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah said, “Your words were found and I ate them, and Your word became to me the gladness and joy of my heart” (Jer. 15:16). What does it mean for us to eat God’s Word? For Jeremiah to eat God’s Word did not mean that he ate the black and white pages of the Bible, for if this were the meaning, Jeremiah would not have said that the words made his heart joyful. Jeremiah’s eating of the Word was not a physical eating but a spiritual receiving of the Word of God as food. Food signifies anything that we take in to satisfy us, sustain us, and strengthen us. For Jeremiah to take God’s Word as his food meant that he received God’s Word as his spiritual nourishment and satisfaction. We also can take the Word of God as food and eat it to satisfy our spiritual hunger and cause our heart to be joyful.
The way to touch the Spirit in God’s Word is to use our spirit to receive His Word by prayer.
The Lord Jesus said, “The words which I have spoken to you are spirit and are life” (John 6:63). In order to receive the Scriptures as nourishment we must go beyond the letter of the Bible and touch the Spirit in His Word. In Ephesians 6:17-18 the apostle Paul said, “And receive...the sword of the Spirit, which Spirit is the word of God, by means of all prayer and petition, praying at every time in spirit.” The way to touch the Spirit in God’s Word is to use our spirit to receive, or eat, His Word by prayer. We can make the words of the Bible the content of our prayer, praying the words directly to the Lord. As we read God’s Word, we pray over the words, turning them into our prayer. We can even turn verses that seemingly do not have anything to do with us into prayer. For example, we may read the verses on how Jesus walked on the stormy sea and how his disciples were “willing to take Him into the boat” (John 6:21). These words can become our nourishment when we pray as we read them saying, “Lord, thank you for walking on the stormy waters of my difficult situations. I take you into the ‘boat’ of my family life, my marriage, and my employment. Lord, calm all my troubles.” Receiving the Word of God in this way nourishes our spirit and strengthens our life before God.
Throughout the centuries, God’s loving seekers in both the Old and New Testaments, such as David (Psa. 119:103); Jeremiah (Jer. 15:16); Ezekiel (Ezek. 3:1-3); Peter (1 Pet. 2:2); and John (Rev. 10:10) all fed on the words that proceed out of God’s mouth. Day by day we also can come to the Word of God as food to satisfy our hunger and make our heart joyful. As we take in the milk of the Word, we, like Peter, will taste that the Lord is good (1 Pet. 2:2-3).
For further reading on this subject, please see A Living of Mutual Abiding with the Lord in Spirit; A Time with the Lord; and Pray-Reading the Word, by Witness Lee, published by Living Stream Ministry.
From Issue No. 57, January 2003