Today's passage in Jeremiah continues in the same vein as yesterday's - completely relevant to our culture.
Our passages in 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles basically bring up the question - when you hear/read the Word of the Lord, when you recognize the holiness of the God we serve, when you realize how far our society has gone away from following our God - what is your response?
Is your response like Josiah's?
From my Life Application Study Bible... As the Book of God's Law was read to Josiah, he was chocked, frightened, and humbled. He realized what a great gap existed between his efforts to lead his people to God and God's expectations for his chosen nation. He was overwhelmed by God's holiness and immediately tried to expose his people to that holiness. The people did respond, but the Bible makes it clear that their renewed worship of God was much more out of respect for Josiah than out of personal understanding of their own guilty before God. How would you describe your relationship with God? Are your feeble efforts at holiness based mostly on a desire to "go along" with a well-liked leader or popular opinion? Or are you, like Josiah, deeply humbled by God's Word, realizing that great gap between your life and the kind of life God expects, realizing your deep need to be cleansed and renewed by him? Humble obedience pleases God. Good intentions, even reforms, are not enough. You must allow God's Word to truly humble you and change your life.
What is our response to the Word of God? King Josiah found a copy of the law that had been lost for years - and he treasured it, he studied it and he changed his life because of it. We often have 10 different versions of the entire Bible at our finger tips - and for so long we've left it sitting on the bookshelf collecting dust.
What's the difference between a lost Bible and an unused one? Quite frankly, the unused one is worse - because now we're just purposefully ignoring the Word.
Of course, we are now reading and studying the Word together and that is wonderful. But that is not the final step. The final step is, of course, applying what we learn to our lives.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does. James 1:22-25
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
Do we allow the Word to do it's work? Do we give the Spirit access to our inmost thoughts? Do we acknowledge our own sin when we study the Word or do we justify it or pretend it's not even there? If we acknowledge it, do we then convince ourselves it's not a big deal or do we repent, resulting in changed behaviour?
Do we respond like Josiah?
Or do we respond like his son Jehoiakim who after hearing the Word of God, tore it up and threw it in the fire (Jeremiah 36)? Oh, no, we would never do that! But in reality, when we don't bother to read it, when we disregard it, when we ignore it - we may as well have thrown it in the fire.
You can be like Jehoiakim's father. You can hear the Word of the Lord and fall on your face and say, "Oh, God, I'm so sorry." Humble yourself and say, "Lord, I want to live in obedience to Your Word. Have mercy on me."
And He will. (Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Outlasting the Critics)
Tomorrow's passage: 2 Kings 23:1-20, 2 Chronicles 34:29-33, 2 Kings 23:21-28, 2 Chronicles 35:1-19, Nahum 1-3.
Less flipping: 2 Kings 23:1-28, 2 Chronicles 34:20-35:19, Nahum 1-3