How would you define a “complete parent fail”? How about when your daughter decides to change her earrings three minutes before the bus is supposed to come? Thinking she has the time, you say, “Okay, hurry up,” but then you panic when the bus appears two minutes early. With all the finesse a bed-headed mom in yoga pants can muster, you scream, “The bus is coming!”
Your screaming causes your daughter to get flustered and drop one of the earrings she received for her birthday less than twelve hours before.
With tears streaming down her face, she comes running, and you put her on the bus (she’s a hot mess at this point) while passionately promising, “Don’t worry, I’ll find it. Listen to me. I promise I’ll find it.”
But you—or should I say I—couldn’t find it. And I assure you, I crawled all over creation looking for that tiny gold loop. I was in big trouble. Not only did I yell at my daughter and handle the situation wrong (I should have taken her to school), but in a flurry of emotion, I made a promise I couldn’t keep.
We all have times when we say things we shouldn’t say and (accidentally) make promises we can’t keep, but God never does. He is not like us; the Lord never regrets anything He says. Neither does He think: “Oh, stinkers, I shouldn’t have said that.” Everything God says is right. When He speaks, it comes to pass. When He makes a promise, it’s as good as done.
The Lord tells us in Isaiah 55:10–11, “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven . . . so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
There’s no sense in trying to fight against, ignore, or manipulate God’s Word; it’s a guarantee. “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever” (Isa. 40:8).
Fighting God’s Word Is Pointless
No one has ever picked a fight with God’s Word and won. “No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel can avail against the lord” (Prov. 21:30). Not even a pagan seer named Balaam could avoid speaking the Word of the Lord when God commanded him to, and he knew it. In Numbers 22:18, Balaam said to the servants of Balak, King of Moab, “Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the command of the lord my God to do less or more.”
If a pagan seer knew this about the Word of the Lord, so should we. No matter how anyone feels about it or how hard the world might try, the will of God will come to pass, and I praise God for it.
Consider our arch-enemy, the devil. No matter how hard Satan (or his comrades, the spiritual forces of evil) tries to sabotage God’s plans, he can’t. And he’s certainly tried. Take, for example, the seed of the woman, whom God promised would crush Satan’s head in Gen. 3:15. Though Satan put his best foot forward to keep it from happening, nothing could stop Christ from defeating sin and death, just as God declared. God promised a Messiah, and that’s what He delivered.
Ignoring God’s Word Is Detrimental
Proverbs 13:13 says, “Whoever despises the word brings destruction on himself, but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded.” The Hebrew word for despise can also mean “to hold as insignificant.” We tend to ignore things we hold as insignificant, don’t we? I shudder to think this is the reason many people struggle to read their Bibles.
According to the Lord in Proverbs 13:13, to hold God’s Word as insignificant is the same as despising it. And to despise God’s Word is to heave ruin upon yourself. Discounting God’s Word is a costly decision.
The nation of Israel ignored God’s Word by not keeping the Sabbath as they were told (Ezek. 20:12–13). They also didn’t drive the Canaanite nations out of the Promised Land as God mandated but chose instead to live among them (Num. 33:55). Then they proceeded to worship idols.
“They made their hearts diamond-hard lest they should hear the law and the words that the lord of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore great anger came from the lord of hosts” (Zech. 7:12). Ignoring God’s Word cost Israel dearly. And make no mistake, it will cost us too.
Nothing good will ever come from setting aside God’s Word for that of the world, but a multitude of blessings await those who choose to cling to God instead. In fact, the most exciting (and rewarding), joy-filled life we could possibly live hinges on the magnitude with which we embrace Scripture.
Manipulating God’s Word Is Dangerous
At the end of the book of Revelation, the Lord gives a stern warning.
I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. (Rev. 22:18–19)
Moses gave a similar warning to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 12:32, stating, “Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.” Yet what are we doing every time we manipulate God’s Word for fear or love of the world? We’re adding to it and taking from it:
Anytime we diminish God’s Word for our comfort, we’re manipulating it.
Anytime we misuse God’s Word for our convenience, we’re exploiting it.
Anytime we claim some part of Scripture but ignore others on purpose, we’re mishandling it to make it say what we want instead of what God intended.
The cry of my heart for God’s people is that we would uphold God’s Word as God intends, believing it’s a guarantee. Specifically, my prayer for my family and my church is Psalm 119:34–38. Will you join me?
Father in heaven,
Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
and observe it with my whole heart.
Lead me in the path of your commandments,
for I delight in it.
Incline my heart to your testimonies,
and not to selfish gain!
Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
and give me life in your ways.
Confirm to your servant your promise,
that you may be feared.
I ask this for the church, my family, and my heart. In Jesus’ name, amen.