I just lost a very long post I worked on for the last hour or so. That hasn’t happened to me over a couple of times. Interesting…the title is “Why read God’s Word?” Of all the ones to lose, not one I would give up on sharing. So here comes a condensed version of what I attempted to share already. I’ll try and get all the important things back as best I can…
As I was studying the Book of Jeremiah this morning, as often happens, something so relevant to today and to all peoples since the beginning literally all the way back to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, caught my attention. In chapter 36, we find where the king of Judah was being read the Words of the Lord that had been given to Jeremiah the prophet. Before all The Words had been read, the king took a scroll knife and cut the scroll on which God’s Words were written and threw it into the fire. Oh My Goodness!!! Is that not what many of us do with the parts of God’s Word that we don’t like? I think most of us have been guilty of this.
Surely our flesh and Spirit war daily and each time that we refuse to obey God’s Word we are essentially throwing away His Words that were given to us. How sobering this is for me, yet I am determined to see the Truth and try daily to surrender to it.
The Truth requires us to obey. Old Testament and New alike require obedience. So many in the day of grace want to do away with the commandment to obey but Jesus clearly tells us that if we love HIm we will keep His Commands (John 14:15).
In the Book of Mark chapter 12:33, we find it written, “And to love Him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” In Jeremiah 7:23 we find, “But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey My Voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.”
1 Samual 15:22 asks, “Hath The Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the Voice of The Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice…” 2 Timothy 2:15 tells us to “study to show [ourselves] approved unto God, [workmen] that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” And then 1 Peter, 3:15-16, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that , whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.”
So often, I think we find ourselves as if bound to tradition and to what others think or say about us Yet when we stand before Holy God to give an account, all that will matter is what He said we were to do and what we did with what He said. For those who have never concerned themselves with finding out for themselves exactly what He said for us to do, there will be no acceptable excuses. Mama and Daddy won’t be there to help with the answers and the pride (what people would have thought of us or simply wanting to do it our own way) will be exposed for the sin and downfall that it is.
Oh my, my, my how important it is not to think too highly of ourselves, not to be haughty and high-minded. If we can only realize the truth, that humility is acceptable in God’s sight and pride is detestable, then we can begin to take those steps toward walking in the truth of who we are as sinners, in need of the Savior God sent to us, and the complete dependence we daily have on the Holy Spirit to keep us in God’s perfect will. We cannot obey God without surrendering to Him, without recognizing our low estate.
One thing that I have found in Jeremiah is The Lord saying to the people, “again and again I sent my servants to you and you would not listen.” I think of how today so many have God’s Word in The Book right in their own homes and neglect to cast their eyes on it or open their hearts and minds to it as if they don’t need it. Oh, but we desperately need it, that is why it was given, just like they needed it in Jeremiah’s day. We cannot live according to what we do not know! The Lord was clear to Jeremiah to “write down all the Words I have given to you.” Every Word we have in our Bibles is written for the express purpose of us knowing and obeying, taking to heart and living by Each Word and with reverence to it with thankful hearts. Just as it was then, so it is now, we are to listen, to obey, to know…no excuses, no other way.
When we hear people giving us words that conflict with God’s Word, if we know His Words, then we know to close our ears, and turn away from the source of the lies. If we don’t know His Words, how can we obey? If we aren’t willing to sacrifice the desire of our own fleshly nature in obedience to Him, we can know our hearts are not clean.
Where we spend our time and direct our attention, and where we invest reveals the desires of our hearts. Much is clear, evidence is tangible. I love what I find in Colossians 3:12-17, “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, and singing with grace in you hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.”
May we all draw closer to Him, coming into His presence with reverence, knowing the sword of the Spirit is The Word of God (Ephesians 6:17). May I (and you) forgive all recognizing our need of The Lord’s forgiveness is as great as any other and may we love as He has loved us, with all our faults and failures. I believe happy is the hearts of those who take God at His Word and live a life of forgiveness and love and I want that for every person without exception.