So He Says…

By on November 11, 2011

Malachi 3:10By Janelle Alberts –

Over a woman’s prayer breakfast the other day, I asked around the table for input about the power of God’s word. Specifically, did anyone want to comment on powerful verses they turned to in times of need?

“Yes!” said one friend. “The one about how God will heap hot coals on your husband’s head if you keep your cool.”

That would be Romans 12:20, it’s God’s “…vengeance is mine…” quote and it doesn’t even mention husbands.

Funny girl. Moving on.

“I like ‘Be diligent…give yourself wholly…so that everyone may see your progress,” said another, referring to 1 Timothy 4:15. “I’m always relieved by the fact that even God understands that I’m just a work in progress.”

Many head nods ensued.

“I once sent my daughter to a sleepover with catty girlfriends and I prayed all night long, ‘I will prevent pests from devouring your crops’ – a quote I’d read in Malachi and I kept praying that God would prevent her fruitfulness from being devoured by those pesty catty girls.”

Did it work? someone asked. “Yes, although it didn’t look like that to an outsider. When she came home to tell me about a huge fight the girls had had that night, I told her about my praying that clearly didn’t work but she said ‘Mom! That’s totally how it felt when my head finally hit the pillow last night. Protected, peaceful. I slept like a baby despite everything.”

I leafed through my Bible to find her exact Malachi quote while the women shared further personal verses. I was thinking about that word: personal.

Which is interesting because I’d asked about a different word: powerful.

What made the words of the Bible verses powerful to these women was that they were personal.

Which begged the question: what made a verse personal?

I flipped to Mathew 4:4 where Satan is taunting Jesus and there stands Jesus. Hungry, hungry Jesus. What could he do but cling to a God who’d made promises? “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God,'” Jesus told Satan.
It was the same thing God had told the Israelites all those years before. They were also hungry, hungry and God gave them mana from heaven. He told them to remember Him and learn that “…man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”
Dueteronomy 8:3.

Jesus could’ve considered – if it worked for them, it could work for me!

Well, except, of course not. He’s Jesus.

But the women around the table appeared to be saying just that – it worked for them, it could work for me! Or rather, He could work for me. This God. His promises. That He made a long time ago, then wrote them down for someone else entirely.

Or perhaps wrote them down for me too.

I was still flipping through my Bible. Aha! Malachi. I’d finally found that devouring crops verse. Malachi 3:11.
The verse was made clearer by the rest of the story about how God wants people to keep His decrees. He says, “Test me…and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing…'” Malachi 3:10

Even God said it. Try me! Try my words. Try it! And see…

The writer of Hebrews said the word of God is “…living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

Sharp. Penetrating. Bold words but beautiful if the God behind them is personal.

Although I hesitate to ask how the first lady’s love of heaping hot coals has touched her husband personally…

Some words are better left unspoken.

Janelle Alberts spent her early career managing crisis communication needs for Microsoft, UPS and Wells Fargo. Alberts joined the Akron Beacon Journal online religion page in the summer of 2010. Alberts sets out in The Bible Book Club to observe the messaging strategy of one historical icon who is consistently quoted but inconsistently represented – God and His world’s best-selling book, the Bible. You can find Janelle at http://ohio.webfactional.com/faith_folly/.

About Janelle Alberts

Janelle Alberts spent her early career managing crisis communication needs for Microsoft, UPS and Wells Fargo. Alberts joined the Akron Beacon Journal online religion page in the summer of 2010. Alberts sets out in The Bible Book Club to observe the messaging strategy of one historical icon who is consistently quoted but inconsistently represented – God and His world’s best-selling book, the Bible. You can find Janelle at http://ohio.webfactional.com/faith_folly/.

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So He Says…