Your eternal word, O LORD stands firm in heaven. Psalm 119.89, NLT
I had the privilege of playing high school tackle football for just one year. The coaches liked my speed and lower body strength so middle linebacker was the assignment for me. I’ll never forget playing against the David Douglas Scots. Their left tackle was, by far, the biggest man in our conference. He stood probably 6′ 7″ and weighed no less than 260 lbs. During warm ups before the game that one massive young man dominated the fearful thoughts of our entire defensive line. One of our team’s sets had the middle linebacker line up against the left tackle. The coach’s call for that set came to me from the sideline and I can remember thinking to myself, “This is going to really, really, really, really, hurt…me.”
The snap count drug on, intensifying my dread, until finally the football moved and I sprung across the scrimmage line with all the power I could muster against a foe I was now fully convinced would soon stand over my limp carcass, pound his massive chest and triumphantly belch out the poet’s barbaric yelp.
That didn’t happen.
I immediately found myself enveloped in a gargantuan mush of humanity. Underneath all the intimidating football wear was nothing but fluff. I drove hard into the man. His body gave way so easily I thought I would momentarily feel his spinal cord on my face mask; that moment never came. That play ended with the Scots losing ground. Back in the defensive huddle one of my teammates asked if I was hurt after facing the giant. I replied, “No problem, he’s a marshmallow man!”
Many could tell their own story of fearing something that only turned out to be an apparition, a figment of an over-active imagination. Unfortunately, this self-assurance is often misapplied when awe is appropriate. The establishment of God’s Word is one such misapplication.
God’s word is eternal. Its burden is the breath of the eternal One who speaks it. What can we say, write, or think, that will stretch beyond the lifespan of this planet? Nothing. Everything God says bears such weight. Out of the eternal came the statement, “Let there be light!” and time began marking the events which culminated in our intersection with the eternal Word.
God’s word stands firm. There is no marshmallow man hiding his softness. We see standing firm the monument of perfected speech, magnificent in its completeness and absent of even the shadow of weakness.
God’s word stands in heaven. Humans throughout history drag the gods into our own ditches so we can consume them with our petty temporalities. What glory it is that far away from the grubby hands created for a lessor but significant splendor, God’s word remains unassailable and unchanging.
To remove such words from their rightful place and insert them into the writhing, ever-changing filthy vapors we exhale is far too much to comprehend. Yet that is just what Creator Redeemer God did, and does. By virtue of the words handed down generation to generation and by virtue of the Spirit who still speaks into us, the eternally firm word in heaven becomes His faithfulness poured into earthen vessels.
What can a clay pot do but tremble with joy for the treasure contained within?
If your instructions hadn’t sustained me with joy, I would have died in my misery. 119.92
Even perfection has its limits, but your commands have no limit. 119.96