A wintry walk up East Lomond, Falkland, Fife. Scotland.

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12 (NASB)

Do you remember gettings “skelfs” as a kid, those small splinter of wood under the skin that hurt. We would run in to mum and she would excise the invader with one of her sewing needles, then you’d scream the house down as she then doused the finger in antiseptic – ouch! But pretty soon you were back playing, the “skelf” forgotten. In this our third visit to this famous verse we find the Word of God doing something similar with our soul, seeking out the “skelfs” in our life.

The Word is “sharper than any two-edged sword,” a sword with cutting edges on both sides. Considerably bigger than your mum’s needle! The sword referred to here could either be a broad sword used by a soldier, or a dirk used in solemn ceremonies such as used by Abraham ( Gen.22:10). The Word/Sword pierces into our innermost parts, “penetrating” (NIV) seeking out foreign invaders. The Word can see all things in our soul and spirit, the first being the foundations of our will/affections. Our spirit is our frame of mind / influence. Salvation in Christ influences our spirit (Rom.8:15).

The Word/Sword can “discern” (KJV) accurately “the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Yet as Adam did we often try to hide from God, which is impossible to do. There is no hiding place from God; He is the World Champion at “hide & seek” every time! “We cannot escape the notice of God; and that since our hearts are perfectly open before Him, we should be sincere and should not attempt to deceive Him” (Albert Barnes Commentary).

Dear reader, rather than fearing the scrutiny of Almighty God our Father by His Word let us seek it. Embrace the Word at every opportunity that it might excise “skelfs” in our life, cleansing us with every Word.

18 thoughts on “The Word – Surgeon of the Soul

  1. God is indeed the hide and seek champion—We try to hide, and He seeks!
    I love your illustration of the sword of scripture removing the splinter of sin in our lives. It gives the whole idea a positive light; after all God’s probings (though painful) are coming from His great love for us—just like mom’s!
    Yet another insightful piece, brother! Thank you, and God Bless!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Postscript: “Skelf” has been recorded in Scots sources since the early seventeenth century and was probably borrowed from Dutch schelf, a flake or splinter of wood.


  3. It is interesting how C.S. Lewis talks about God as a surgeon in his book A Grief Observed that he wrote after his wife, Joy, died. Don’t know if you’ve read it or not, but it is maybe the most honest book I’ve ever read. It’s short and while it isn’t a difficult read technically, the emotions in it are raw as he wrote it at 3 different points after she died. It starts with him being incredibly angry with God but winds up exceedingly triumphant.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “Embrace the Word at every opportunity that it might excise “skelfs” in our life, cleansing us with every Word.” Excellent illustration Alan! One of the things my father drilled into us as kids when he removed our splinters was the need to stand still. The temptation was always to jerk away. In this case, I need to willingly stand still with the Word the Lord is using to extract that “skelf” rather than jerking away and hiding.

    Liked by 1 person

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