Focal passage: Nehemiah 8:1-8
Do you struggle with reading your Bible consistently? When you do get around to reading it, do you find your mind wandering, unable to focus on the words before you? Why do we often have such trouble being captivated by the very words of God?
In this passage, we see a very different response from the Israelites to God’s Word.
Specifically, we find three components of how the Israelites responded to the Word of God that we can apply to our own encounters with God’s Word.
The first component of a proper response is to be attentive to God’s Word. Are we approaching God’s Word with an attitude of expectation and a genuine desire to hear what God has to say? Too often we simply try to squeeze a pithy verse into an already busy schedule, as if this was a serious or worthy attempt at hearing from God. Instead, should we carve ample time and ready our hearts to hear what God is saying in the words of scripture?
It is not enough to hear God’s Word, however. As Jesus points out in John 14:15, those who truly love Him obey His commands. The Israelites responded to the reading of the Word in worship. Worship is an appropriate response after God has spoken, but we must be careful not to confuse lip service with worship. Worship does not end with our words, but carries over into our actions. To worship God is to obey what He commands in His Word.
One final takeaway from the Israelites’ response is found in verses 7-8. Notice, they studied God’s Word. It was necessary that some who were more skilled and well-versed explain God’s Word to others.
We should not be lazy or complacent in our approach to the scriptures. We must study them diligently. Spiritual growth and intellectual engagement are not mutually exclusive. Let’s approach the Bible with the weightiness, seriousness and rigor that is appropriate for the very Words of God. Don’t neglect the Bible; God’s Word is the fuel for a consistent godly life.