We would not speak in such terms. The syntax sounds somewhat strange to us. “The word of the Lord is tested.” Yet those words were not written casually or carelessly, and God clearly intends us to consider them because they occur three times in the Old Testament. “As for God, His way is blameless; the word of the Lord is tested; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him” (II Sam. 22:31; Psa. 18:30). “Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him” (Pro. 30:5).
Two parallel statements shed light on what God means when He declares His word to be “tried” or “tested.” “The words of the Lord are pure words; as silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times” (Psa. 12:6); and, “Your word is very pure, therefore Your servant loves it” (Psa. 119:140). Speaking of silver as having gone through the refining fire seven times is a way of saying that all the dross, the impurities, the elements other than silver have been removed. The silver is pure, perfect, valuable, trustworthy, and all that it purports to be as a precious metal. Just so, the Word of God. It is the genuine article. What it declares itself to be it is in actuality—the very words of God recorded for man to read, and believe, and obey. Those words come from the One who not only does not lie, but is incapable of lying. They are pure—without any deceit, hypocrisy, or hyperbole.
But the metaphor extends beyond the refining fire for silver, suggesting the Refiner Himself, Who never speaks a casual or careless word and never records an empty thought. His words perfectly reflect the character of the Speaker, Who is Truth Itself, Who has no guile, Who says what He means and means what He says. He, the holy, righteous, perfect Judge, tries every word He speaks to men; nothing escapes His lips but perfection. Not only can He not speak anything sinful, but He cannot misspeak or make an error. Every one of His words is backed by the full authority and character of a God who is incapable of lying. Every promise whether for good or ill will be met; every prophecy will be fulfilled; every observation made by God is factual; every opinion offered by God is right; every statement of fact whether historical, biographical, or scientific is accurate. “For the mouth of the Lord has spoken” (Isa. 40:5b) is the final arbiter of truth. The words He speaks have been tested and proven true by the impeccable character of the One Who cannot lie.
It is beyond the meaning of this verse, but it also must be noted that the Word of God has been tested and found to be perfect by countless believers throughout some six millennia. No believer has found the Word of God to be false in the slightest degree. God has always done exactly what He said He would do whether in punishing the sinful or blessing the righteous. Countless saints have put their entire faith and confidence in “thus saith the Lord,” and not one who truly believed and understood the Word was disappointed. So thoroughly have God’s people put His eternal Word to the test that men and women throughout all ages have sacrificed everything in this life, even their lives, for the sake of the Book.
It is not irrelevant, then, that each citation of our text concludes with some form of this affirmation: “He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.” The Person of God and the Word of God may be clearly distinguished but are, nevertheless, inseparable. God stakes His character on His Word. The God Who saves, sanctifies, and secures us does so through the Word of God. Those who trust in the truth of the Word trust in God, and those who truly trust in God believe His Word implicitly. Priests and prophets, apostles and pastors, saints exalted and believers obscure all declare the perfection of the Word of God, its power to save and deliver sinners from hell, its power to strengthen the weak, to comfort the sorrowing, to give joy to the hopeless, to assure the wavering, to guide the confused or blind. And they say with the psalmist: “Your word is very pure, therefore your servant loves it” (119:14). Do you?
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