Thursday, October 07, 2010
The Vision (10/7/10): Reverence, Read, Reach
Image: Fellowship after morning worship on a recent Lord's Day at CRBC
In last Sunday morning’s service, I preached on 2 Peter 1:19-21, a classic passage on the doctrine of Scripture. I concluded the message with a three-fold application: to revere, read, and reach for the Word:
Peter’s high view of the Bible should promote a sense of reverence for the Word of God.
In his study of this passage Michael Bentley point out how other religions express reverence for the writings they consider to be sacred (Living for Christ is a Pagan World: 1 & 2 Peter Simply Explained, p. 206).
No Muslim would put a copy of the Koran on the floor or under his arm. If he places it on a bookshelf he will put it in the highest shelf in the room. When he reads it he will often place it in a stand so that he does not have to touch it overmuch.
The Sikhs have a holy book (the Guru Granth Sahib). No Sikh will read that book without first taking a bath and completely changing his clothing (usually dressing completely in white). They place this book in the center of their place of worship and when the worshippers enter they bow to their book and they sit at a level lower than their book.
If these revere uninspired books, how much more should believers revere God’s Word! Now, this does not mean that we should promote silly superstitions, but maybe it would be good to handle our copies of the Word of God with care and to take on a spirit of reverence when we listen to it being read. We show reverence for God’s word when we read it, mediate upon it, memorize it, hear it preached and taught, and carry its teachings into ever corner of our lives. Bentley: “It should be like the very breath that we breathe” (p. 206).
Another devotional story I read recently told of a man who visited a wealthy household where he was shown a large library with many beautifully bound books, filling shelves from floor to ceiling. The owner of the house joked, “I haven’t read one of them, but they sure look good, don’t they?” The visitor replied in shock to this comment: “Why you have a treasure house in this room, but you have neglected it.” Later, the man went home, however, and picking up his beautifully bound Bible he said, “Who am I to talk? Here is my ‘treasure house’ and how often do I read it?” (see Joel Beeke and Diana Kleyn, How God Used a Thunderstorm and Other Devotional Stories, p. 79).
Finally, Peter says that the Scriptures are like a light shining in a dark place. Maybe you are realizing today that you have been in spiritual darkness. Your eyes have been blinded by “the god of this age” (2 Cor 4:4). You don’t know who God is. You don’t know who Jesus is. You don’t know who you are. You don’t know how you should live. God is holding out to you today a light for your path and a lamp for your feet. This light is not the end in and of itself, but it points us to the one who said: “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12).
Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle