Not Just Words

Key Texts: Deuteronomy 32:44-47

 Moses came with Joshua[a] son of Nun and spoke all the words of this song in the hearing of the people.  When Moses finished reciting all these words to all Israel,  he said to them, “Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law.  They are not just idle words for you—they are your life. By them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.”


This is a marvelous little passage of Scripture because it reminds us of something we so easily forget:

  1. The counsel of God, as mediated to us by his Word, is more than just “idle words” – it is life itself.
  2. This counsel that is so life-giving is not just for ourselves – it is for our children as well – it is for the generations who will follow us.
  3. This counsel that is not just for us but for all people is how we find our way to that glorious “Promised Land” – not just a physical land but a spiritual destination for all time.

How often do we miss this great truth?

We might be tempted to think that what God offers, especially in His word to us, is sort of an optional bit of reading – something to be picked up, if we like, on our own terms and read at leisure.

We might equally be tempted to think that what God provides is, well, helpful – but not really necessary to our well-being and our spiritual growth.

Finally, we might be tempted to think that after we have a few Bible “stories” under our spiritual belt we are well equipped to address any and all situations that might come our way.

I believe wholeheartedly that these are serious – perhaps even deadly – errors to make.

We must realize that in His Word God is giving us the very essence of what we need not just to survive but thrive as His children.

As surely as a baby needs milk and a growing child needs additional nourishment, and adults need a healthy diet all through life – so we need God’s loving, wise counsel – each and every day we draw breath and on into eternity.

These are not just “idle words” God offers – they are the very essence of life.

The question is – do we know it?

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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