So here we are smack in the middle of this blog series dealing with the Word of God. And today I would like for us to talk about the fact that we don’t revere or respect the Word of God the way we should. Many times in our current culture the Bible is simply viewed as another book in the bookstore. It might be put into the “religious book” category, but it has no distinction from other pieces like The Koran, the sacred writings of Hinduism, or the sacred writings of Buddhism. However, we have to come to the position as Christians where we understand and believe that the Bible is utterly and totally unique among all other pieces of literature. We need to regain a reverent view of Scripture that was held by people in the Bible.
The story that comes to mind for me is found in Nehemiah chapter 8. The setting is in Jerusalem after the Jews had been exiled to Babylon for 70+ years and they have now returned. The temple has been rebuilt, and the walls of Jerusalem have been rebuilt. Ezra is a priest and he brings the Book of the Law of Moses (the first five books of the Old Testament) and is going to read it in the public square in front of the Water Gate. It is obvious that the people understand how holy and special the Scriptures are by their response. Here is what is says in Nehemiah 8:2-5:
2 So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could understand what they heard, on the first day of the seventh month. 3 And he read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand. And the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law. 4 And Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform that they had made for the purpose. And beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah on his right hand, and Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam on his left hand. 5 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people, and as he opened it all the people stood.
All Ezra did was open the book as he stood on the platform, and the people knew that this was a holy moment because of the importance of the book that was being opened. Don’t miss the fact that there are thousands of people that stood and listened to the Bible being read for 6 HOURS. That’s right. They stood “early morning until midday,” that is from 6:00am until 12:00pm! They understood the great importance of the Word of God.
Now obviously, I understand that this is a bit of an extreme example, but it makes my point for me quite handily. How many of us would stand in reverence of the Word of God for six hours as it is being read? Are we even willing to sit for 30 minutes and read it in the comfort of our own home? Are we acting as someone who values the Word of God? Second Timothy 2:15 states, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” If we are to be faithful followers of Christ, then we must treat and respect the Word of God with honor and awe. We have to remember that there is power in the Word of God and we cannot act nonchalantly when we handle it. Remember what Hebrews 4:12 says concerning the Word of God, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
So I leave you with a final question. How do you treat the Word of God? Is it precious to you, or is it just another book on the shelf?