I remember a sermon preached at the church we attended shortly after Barbara and I were married. I recognized that I had hurt a professor at Ohio University a few years back by my harsh words. It had been several years since the incident, but I knew I had to make it right. I wrote a letter to the man recounting what had happened, owned up to my poor behavior, and asked for his forgiveness. I said I had recently become a follower of Jesus and was trying to right some wrongs of my past. He said it took courage to contact him after many years and take responsibility for my actions. He then forgave me.
If we really listen to the Word of God in the Bible, we will live the Word of God.
Read 2 Chronicles 34:14-31.
During King Josiah’s eighteenth year as King, he ordered several men to lead a reconstruction project of the Jewish Temple. These men were given the resources that had been collected from the people for the project. They then gave the funds to Hilkiah, the high priest, who mobilized the work force, bought materials, and started the effort.
When they were paying out some of the money, Hilkiah discovered a copy of the Law of Moses. Then Shaphan the secretary took the scroll to King Josiah and gave him an update on the rebuilding project. Shaphan started reading some of the text to the King and he was stunned by what he heard. He tore his robes (an expression of grief and humility) as he realized what he was hearing. Josiah issued an order to Hilkiah and his team that the entire scroll be studied so the commands of the Lord were understood and obeyed.
Josiah recognized that they had stumbled onto a record of the commandments God had given to Moses. The Book of the Law described the covenant God had made with Israel, His faithful character and the deeds done on their behalf. Josiah knew from the stories he had heard that his responsibility was to lead the people back to God. They were called to renew their commitment to follow the Lord and live as an obedient people once again.
Like Josiah, all of us who are Christ followers need to discover the significance of God’s Word to us. We need to hear, read, study, memorize, and meditate (the five fingers of the Hand illustration) on Scripture, so we know God. We need to absorb Scripture as a regular discipline of becoming more like Jesus. We need to obey God, since the apostle John said, “Anyone who claims to live in Christ must walk as Jesus did.” (1 John 2:6)
But we may stray from God. When we break His commands and are not faithful to Him, we should desire to rediscover His words, let them penetrate our mind and will, and move us to reconnect with God. When we fail to live according to Scripture, it should grieve our hearts to the point to godly sorrow that leads us to repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10). When you read the Bible and are confronted with sinful behavior, how do you respond?
What commitment are you making to hear, read, study, memorize, and meditate on Scripture this week? What actions (beyond the Hand), does the Bible require of you? Grow devotionally. Cultivate a lifestyle of following God’s commands as you regularly renew your commitment to obey Him. We need to read the Word and follow the Word.
Love is a verb,