September 8, Saturday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

Jeremiah 36:17-25 (ESV)

Then they asked Baruch, “Tell us, please, how did you write all these words? Was it at his dictation?” 18 Baruch answered them, “He dictated all these words to me, while I wrote them with ink on the scroll.” 19 Then the officials said to Baruch, “Go and hide, you and Jeremiah, and let no one know where you are.” 20 So they went into the court to the king, having put the scroll in the chamber of Elishama the secretary, and they reported all the words to the king. 21 Then the king sent Jehudi to get the scroll, and he took it from the chamber of Elishama the secretary. And Jehudi read it to the king and all the officials who stood beside the king. 22 It was the ninth month, and the king was sitting in the winter house, and there was a fire burning in the fire pot before him. 23 As Jehudi read three or four columns, the king would cut them off with a knife and throw them into the fire in the fire pot, until the entire scroll was consumed in the fire that was in the fire pot. 24 Yet neither the king nor any of his servants who heard all these words was afraid, nor did they tear their garments. 25 Even when Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah urged the king not to burn the scroll, he would not listen to them.

I’m not proud of this, but when I was a youth pastor, I burned a few pages of the Bible as an object lesson to highlight how we often disregard and dismiss the commands of God. My hands were literally shaking as I tore out a few pages and lit a match to burn the paper. My intention was to make the point that our lives would be greatly diminished if the word of God was lost to us. Besides really scaring the students and making a few of them cry, I think I got the point across—maybe a little too well.

Could you imagine if passages like Psalm 23 (“The Lord is my shepherd…”) or 1 Corinthians 13 (“Love is patient and kind…”) never existed? What would our lives look like if we were never told the truth of John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son….” You don’t realize how important something is unless it is threatened to be taken from you.   After the Bible-burning exercise, I could better understand why so many Christians throughout history have placed their lives in peril in order to save copies of the Scriptures from being destroyed by their persecutors.

Here in America, we have so many copies of Scripture that we take it for granted, and we often forget how important God’s Word is to us. Could you imagine what our lives would be like if significant portions of the Scriptures were lost to us?   Sadly, the Word of God is something that we have lost in our homes, our schools, and even in some of our churches?  Though we have millions of copies of the Bible in the United States, we act as if there isn’t a copy to be found anywhere. Consider these stunning statistics about the average American’s knowledge about God’s Word:

  • 1 out of 4 Americans can correctly identify John 3:16.
  • 1 out of 5 Americans can correctly define the gospel.
  • 1 out of 3 Americans read their Bible regularly.
  • 4 out of 10 Americans cannot name one of the four Gospels.
  • Only 1 out of 10 Americans can identify the Great Commission.

It is not hard to see why we are losing the culture wars because very few people hold to a biblical worldview. If we are to see a move of God in our lifetime, we must rediscover the Bible and place its teaching at the center of our lives and society.   Chuck Swindoll spoke these words at Liberty Theological Seminary’s graduation: “The greatest need in our times is for God’s people to be biblically literate.” I could not agree more. When God’s people find God’s Word, amazing things start happening in the spiritual character of the church; and that carries the potential to change a nation.

Prayer: Lord, we know that Your Word is life. Those who build upon this solid foundation will survive through storms and difficulties, while those who disregard Your truths are building their lives on sinking sand. Help us to see the value of seeing every situation and world events through the lens of Your eternal Word. Though society tells us that the Scriptures are outdated and irrelevant, reveal to us its timeless nature. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Job 20-21

Correction: The September 6th Bible reading should have been Job 18 and the yesterday’s reading Job 19. The corrections have been made.

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