Thursday, May 29, 2008

Ripping, Burning, and Eating- Na Session 1

In the opening message of the conference, Josh Harris spoke to us about three possible responses to God's Word.

1. Josiah (2 Kings 22)- "Ripping"
The Word of God had been lost for at least a generation from the people of God. They were worshipping idols, following their own selfish desires, and doing pretty much everything you'd expect from a people that didn't have scripture growing up. God in His grace moved Josiah to reopen the temple and directed men there to find God's word, preserved in a forgotten corner. When it was read before Josiah, he tore his robes for shame of how he and the people had gone against God. He literally wept in repentance.
How often do we respond this way? Do we weep after reading God's word and seeing how far short we've fallen or do we immediately point to others and rebuke them for their failings? Josh stated that true reformation comes from seeing God's Word and then changing our lives accordingly, as Josiah did with all of Israel. God's Word is powerful, and we must humble ourselves before it and be changed by it.

2. Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 36)- "Burning"
This King was the grandson of Josiah and had a very different response to God's Word. When it was read before him, he tore it apart, a piece at a time, and burned it. He showed no fear of retribution; no fear of God. His heart was a cold piece of stone and his prideful heart though he was above such things as a Word from God.
We may read this passage and be shocked, but how often do we fall into the same trap. We burn God's Word in simple ways, like neglecting to read it, or making it a chore to be checked off our to-do list, or by reading it and ignoring the commands for life-change. We cannot blow off God's Word simply because we don't agree with it or it may be hard to obey. God's Word is God's Word, no matter where it comes from or how it feels confronting our hearts. Josh said that often how we listen is more about the man [preacher] than about the Word. We get excited for certain speakers, and tune out for others. This shows a lack of humility and trust that God can and will accomplish whatever He desires through His word, no matter what the vessel that carries it looks or sounds like.

3. Jeremiah (Jeremiah 15:16)- "Eating"
Jeremiah, in the midst of discouragement, takes up God's Word, eats it, and is delighted by it. Eating takes a great amount of trust in what you are eating. The food becomes a part of us and affects us. This was the reaction from Jeremiah, a reaction of delight and joy.
This delight isn't a reward for complaining to God about our problems. God offers hope to those who repent, not to whining babies that think they know better than God. The Word is what offers us hope in the midst of discouragement.

So, how do we react to God's Word? I hope that as you listen through these messages (linked above) God's Word will again become a delight to your heart and a satisfaction to your soul.

Random Quotes:
"An understanding of the gospel transforms our view of the Bible."
"The Bible isn't about all we need to do for God. It is about all that God has done for us through Christ."

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