Hebrews 4: 12 is one of the key verses used for support of Scripture Alone when desiring wisdom and truth. I don’t know that Luther used it in seeking a debate with Rome but for many Christians it is central.
“Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two- edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
As I ponder what is able to cut deeply into my soul, many examples come to mind. Pictures can be so poignant that they drive people to their knees. An example is the photo of the child running from napalm during Vietnam. Biological warfare came under critique. Martin Luther Jr’s speech, “I have a dream…” has been memorized by our children in school. The Mona Lisa has inspired movies. Many of us graduated high school to the hymn, “My eyes have seen the glory…” Many artistic expressions touch us deeply, driving our imagination, our aspirations and our conscience.
The writer of Hebrews states that Scripture not only is sharper that
any two edged sword, piercing our reality but it also “judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” King David in the Old Testament, growing old, stays home from battle with his troops, and is enchanted by a young women bathing on her rooftop. Visual stimulation. He has her come and they enjoy the evening. Physical involvement. She becomes pregnant giving proof to the affair and David has her husband in the army placed in a compromising position so he dies in battle. David marries Bathsheba. Problem solved, or is it? David’s prophet Nathan comes with a story and a message from God. “You are the man! This is what the Lord, the God of Israels says… (2 Samuel 12)” Why did that truth cut so deeply into David and drive him to repentance?
Perhaps one aspect of Scripture, besides that it is consistent in its thematic message through history and writers, is that it reveals a God who sees us to the core and who does not candy coat truth. It is so easy to convince ourselves that judgments are bias because of affection and political views but Scripture is not Republican or Democrat, not infavor of the rich over the poor, nor written by people that have something to gain from our involvement. Scripture is inspired by a God who sees.
So perhaps our reflection today as we ponder the foundations for our decision making is to reflect on what touches us to the core judging the thoughts and intentions of our hearts? I doubt it is science. I doubt it is comes from the arts. The spoken word enters our ears, passes the heart, and touches the soul. We have a God who lives, who sees, and who cares enough to speak to us honestly through Scripture. Are we listening today?