“Truth is a glorious but hard mistress. She never consults, bargains, or compromises.” -A.W. Tozer
If I’m honest, I didn’t always love reading the Bible after coming to know the Lord. I had a lot to “catch up” on I guess you could say. It was overwhelming. I didn’t know where to start. But one thing I did know, I now had this new desire to WANT to learn, only because of the Holy Spirit now living inside of me. This is when I started digging into Bible studies, word studies, and commentaries to learn and study God’s Word. It wasn’t merely enough just to read Christian books. I wanted more. I wanted more of Jesus. I wanted Him. This is where my love for His Word began. I couldn’t get enough of Him.
I want to look at some verses in Nehemiah to show how the people responded to God’s Word. It is so beautiful. If you have time, look up Nehemiah 8:1-12. Here enters a new character in Scripture in the book of Nehemiah. His name is Ezra, which means helper. He begins reading the Book of the Law of Moses right in the middle of the street. Verse 2 tells us that all who could hear with understanding were there listening, this included men, women, teenagers, and children. They were attentive (v. 3). When Ezra opened up the book, the people stood up. This was a posture of reverence for the Word of God. Verse 6 is so beautiful, “And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. Then all the people answered, ‘Amen, Amen!’ while lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground.”
They first stood for God’s Word then God’s Word merely brought them to their knees; a beautiful response to the hearing of God’s Word.
While Ezra was reading Scripture, not everyone understood it at first. For some this was a time of rediscovery of God’s Word. For some this was the first time hearing God’s Word. Verse 7 shows us that there were Levites in the crowd helping people make sense of God’s Word and explaining it in further detail to them. All the people wept when they heard the words of the Law. Did you read that? ALL! They all wept! How powerful God’s Word is!
Ezra tells them not to weep or mourn, do not be sorrowful for this day is holy to our Lord. The joy of the Lord is your strength. (Nehemiah 8:10). The people went away greatly rejoicing because they understood the words that were declared over them (v. 12).
I know personally when I am weeping after reading God’s Word it’s because I’ve seen how sinful I’ve been and how merciful He is, bringing me to my knees. These people were receptive and attentive to God’s Word. They wanted to hear it. Their lives were changed this day after hearing the Word. Only God’s Word was presented. So simple yet so complex.
I’m fearful that in our churches today we are looking for entertainment. When we come to church focused on looking to Jesus instead of looking to be entertained, we will then realize He is all the entertainment we will ever need. The same is true in our daily lives. A life lived with Jesus is the most exciting life you’ll ever live. Each day is a new adventure with Him. Get in His Word. Dive deep into His Word.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) This doesn’t say Scripture is given to make me feel good and happy. It’s for reproof, correction, and instruction. If I’m honest, I don’t want to be corrected. But correction from God is sometimes what we need. How are we responding to correction from God’s Word? Are we bowing down in reverence to the Lord and falling to our knees, or are we putting up a wall of pride?
The author of the book, “Missional Motherhood”, gives a description of how we come to God’s Word. We view it like a vending machine. We just come to it for a little snack, when we just need that “pick-me-up”. But what comes out of those vending machines? Junk. Sure, it may fill you up for a little while, but after you’re constantly filling yourself up with junk, it doesn’t do your body any good. We take a machete to God’s Word missing Him altogether because we cut up God’s Word to find what we want it to say about our current situation.
We shouldn’t revolve God’s truth around our lives. Our lives should revolve around God’s truth.
“I love that it was the simple opening of the Word that drew such a gathering and aroused such a dynamic response of worship. Oh, the simplicity. The Israelites weren’t looking to be entertained, checking their watches to see if it’d hit noon yet. They weren’t critiquing the song selection, examining the children’s program, or bummed that this week’s drama didn’t top the week before’s. I am not taking a shot at any of the many wonderfully different ways we do church. I’m just wondering how many of us would show up for only the reading of the Bible. Is God’s Word no longer enough?”-Kelly Minter
May we fall in love with God and His Word and let it consume us from the inside out.