Respect for the Word

May 23, 2011

in Pastor's Corner

Nehemiah 8: 5-12 says, “Ezra opened the book. All the people could see him because he was standing above them; and as he opened it, the people all stood up. Ezra praised the LORD, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, “Amen! Amen!”

Then they bowed down and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground. The Levites—Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan and Pelaiah—instructed the people in the Law while the people were standing there. They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read.

Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and teacher of the Law, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, “This day is holy to the LORD your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law.

Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength. The Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be still, for this is a holy day. Do not grieve.”

Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them…”

This is a record of those who upon hearing the Word of God stand to hear it for hours.

They rejoice and weep at the same time, and then are encouraged to celebrate together because they at last hear the Word of God and understand it.

What a different day and age in which we find ourselves. What disrespect is heaped upon Holy Writ. What low regard is displayed upon the understanding of God’s holy Word.

One might be tempted to ask, “Where does this disrespect for the Word come from?

I think part of this disrespect for the Word of God these days is due to the lack of respect some pastors and church leaders have for the scriptures.

Even in what are supposed to be worship services, pastors and teachers in the midst of the congregation, refer not to the inscrutable wisdom of the Mighty God, not to the painstaking revelation of the Holy Spirit, not to the God Breathed inspired truth. No, instead the hungry people of God are given quotes from talk shows, scenes from the latest Hollywood movie, advertisements from television, factoids from the internet, and drivel from the latest bookseller.

To the young pastor Timothy, Paul writes this admonition: “Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching.” 1 Timothy 4: 13

And … “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” 2 Timothy 4: 2-4

We would do well to be remind ourselves at times of what God has done for us in giving to us the Scriptures. For in the pages of the Scriptures are found the living words of Almighty God; words that have the power to give life to dead souls.

The church is not mine, it is not yours, it belongs to Jesus Christ. He wants to speak to His church through His word. Give attention to it. Give it respect!