Forthright Magazine

‘The word came to me’

The Bible proclaims to be a revelation from God and a product of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It consistently demonstrates that it is exactly what it claims to be. We can, therefore, open its pages with complete confidence that we are hearing the Word of God.

… the Lord’s message came to the priest Ezekiel the son of Buzi, at the Kebar River in the land of the Babylonians. The hand of the Lord came on him there. … The Lord’s message came to me: Ezekiel 1.3; 21.18.

The writers of the Bible, like the prophets, knew that God had spoken to them. The coming of the Word is not like having a new thought, something totally internal. It’s a word of the Lord, from the Lord. It’s a shame we don’t have the same certainty as the writers of Scripture that some external force or hand caused Revelation to occur.

Verse 18 is the beginning of a new prophecy. The word of the Lord is composed of several elements: history, law, commandments and, as here, prophecies. Everything fits together perfectly. The most diverse types of literature produced by around 40 men over a period of 1,500 years demonstrate a unity that was only possible because an invisible hand was behind them all.

The word is from the Lord, that is, from Yahweh, the Eternal, the Sovereign, the only living and true God. He is a God of the covenant who expects his people to obey his orders and fulfill their part, see Genesis 17.9. And when they refuse, he promises punishment, as in Ezekiel 21.

It is common to read in the Scriptures that the word of the Lord “came” to the prophet. The first time, Ezekiel was “among the exiles, by the river Chebar” — one person among many others, Ezekiel 1.3. The prophet neither produced nor instigated the word from the Lord. The word came to him at God’s initiative. His hand is behind all of History. He is guiding and creating the events. Man can act but divine action overrides everything.

We give thanks for the men who received the word of the Lord and passed it on. We give thanks for the Lord who revealed himself and, through the Holy Scriptures, continues to reveal himself to us today so that his word can come to us to save us.

Lord, let your word come to us, in the reading of Scripture, so that we might know what you have accomplished and find the path to return to your presence.


J. Randal Matheny
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