And God said. . . – Genesis 1
The Creation account is, perhaps, the greatest example of the power of the spoken word. God brought the world to order by his command. He needed no actual physical work or combat or consort, as other religions taught of their gods. The God of the Bible stood, and stands, apart from other deities.
The Hebrew word for “word”, dabar, and its related concept “to speak” was seen as a representative of the speaker. The spoken word had a distinct existence and a dynamic quality. The reality and power of the spoken word derives from the speaker. To speak is revelatory act. Therefore, the goodness of majesty of Creation reflect the qualities of God.
In modern times, writing has replaced the spoken word as the means of revelation and disclosure. This is because paper is commonplace, unlike in antiquity when it was an expensive commodity. Years ago writing helped us remember; now writing and technology allow us to forget. Words are casually denied in business, political, and legal settings. If it is not in writing- there is no accountability.
But, think of the outrage broken promises generate. This is a remnant of our ancient forefathers. To act on a word of someone is to ascribe authority and truthfulness. It is an act of faith. Words are to be truthful in the way that is foundational for actions or strong enough to be supportive. When a man breaks his “word” and it is viewed as empty and worthless, it reflects feelings about the man himself; he is often seen as weak and self-serving. Our word reflects our strength, power, and personality. We have to ask ourselves; are we as good as our Word?