How do we react to God’s word? Often when we read accounts in the scriptures about God’s words being shared it is often accompanied by the reaction of the hearer. At this time I would like to look at a few passages and see how different people responded to God’s word and teaching. In doing so I hope it will help us to consider our attitudes when we hear it today.
Nehemiah 8:9 And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.
The response to God’s word can be very emotional. Here we see an entire group of people brought to tears. These tears were shed because the people realized they had not been living their lives in accordance with the law. If you are trying to serve God, it is easy to understand why we are saddened when the word shows that we are off track. The good news is that once we make these realizations, God will give us not only the opportunity but the assistance we need to make the necessary changes in our lives.
Jeremiah 36:21-23 21 So the king sent Jehudi to fetch the roll: and he took it out of Elishama the scribe’s chamber. And Jehudi read it in the ears of the king, and in the ears of all the princes which stood beside the king. 22 Now the king sat in the winterhouse in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him.23 And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth.
Some people’s response to the word is rejection. They think they can do away with it simply by destroying the written copy. Later in Jeremiah, a new copy of the scroll is created. The former Soviet Union did it’s best to supress the bible. Today it is different. I recently read about a project to get more copies of the bible into the former Soviet Union. There are others that think they can get rid of just the parts they do not agree with. I know of one man who asked a person about a particular scripture. They said it was not in their bible. The person was right, he had actually cut it out with a pair of scissors! It did not work for the King in Jeremiah’s day, and it will not work today.
Matthew 7:28-29 28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: 29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
It is one thing to hear God’s word from a preacher or a prophet. How would it be to hear it directly from the Son of God? We can get an idea of that reaction here. I have to say there have been few times in my life when I felt astonished. While this passage does focus on Jesus and his authority, I feel it also helps us understand the importance of this teaching. After he finished this sermon the people started to follow him. Why? They wanted to know more. The people realized that this teaching was from God and it would help them to have the type of relationship with God they needed. Hopefully we will all have that desire to know more after we hear God’s word.
Acts 17:19-21 19 And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? 20 For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean. 21 (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)
For some people, the way to react to God’s word is to say it is a good thing but then try to add other teachings to it. There are some who take parts of the bible they like and combine it with doctrines of another source to create a religion that works for them. We read later in Acts 17 that some accepted Paul’s teaching while others rejected it. In John 14:6 Jesus makes it clear that there is only one way to the Father, and that is through him. Any effort to combine it with another doctine will not be pleasing to God.
Acts 2:36-41 36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. 37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. 40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. 41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
The final thought I would like to look at today is the need to react to correct any wrongdoing in our lives. These people realized they needed to do something. When they found out what is was they did it. As we read the bible and come across teachings that we are not living up to, it is going to spark some emotion. They key is how we react to it.
Thanks for taking the time to let me share my thoughts with you. As always I would appreciate any type of feedback that I may do what I need to in order to make this a more helpful series of posts. Have a blessed day!