I grew up in a Christian home and asked Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of my life many years ago. I practically live at the church since I work there and since my husband and I serve together in the youth department at our church. I do my best to spend time in God’s Word and in prayer each day. I strive to teach important Bible truths to our children and I have a deep desire to know the Lord more.
I do not list these “accomplishments” to brag, but to show that even if we are doing “the right things”, our hearts can still be filled with all the wrong things. And, even if our hearts aren’t FILLED with bad things, are we really in awe of God? Do we treasure the fact that we get to read His Word each day, or do we feel like we have to do it so we can check “read my Bible” off of our lists?
Sometimes I feel like I am missing the point as I try to spend time with God. I know I need to read my Bible because God reveals Himself through His Word. But, I feel like I’m not coming into His presence in awe. We flippantly open our Bibles, pray a quick prayer, and think we have done a good deed. Is this really what God wants…for us to feel proud and to flippantly approach His Word, like He should be so honored that we have chosen to spend time with Him today?
Today, I am reading in Nehemiah and I was convicted that I do not honor God’s Word like I should. In chapter 8, we see the people meeting together as Ezra, the high priest, reads from the Book of the Law:
“…Ezra the priest brought the Book of the Law before the assembly, which included the men and women and all the children old enough to understand. He faced the square just inside the Water Gate from early morning until and read aloud to everyone who could understand. All the people listened closely to the Book of the Law…Ezra stood on the platform in full view of all the people. When they saw him open the book, they all rose to their feet. Then Ezra praised the Lord, the great God, and all the people chanted, “Amen! Amen!” as they lifted their hands. Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground…Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were interpreting for the people said to them, “Don’t mourn or weep on such a day as this! For today is a sacred day before the Lord your God.” For the people had all been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law.”
As I read this passage, several phrases convicted me:
- “from early morning until …all the people listened closely”
Wow! I can’t imagine listening to anyone or anything for several hours straight! And, it says that the people listened closely. They weren’t just standing there, bored to tears, but they were listening because they knew God’s Word was the most important thing. This convicts me to treasure my time in God’s Word and to really take time to listen to His Word and apply it to my life.
- “they all rose to their feet”
Do I revere God’s Word so much that I would stand to my feet at the sound of it being read? Of course I’m not saying that we should make this a daily habit, but I felt convicted that these people held His Word in such high esteem that they would rise to their feet, showing that they were giving all of their attention and respect to His Word.
- “lifted their hands…bowed down and worshiped with their faces to the ground”
Wow. How prideful am I that the though of bowing down seems a little embarrassing? I have to admit that there have been times when I am singing in church and have felt like I needed to show God that I was in awe of Him by lifting my hands, etc. But, pride begins to fill my heart as I think about how I might look silly, what the person next to me might think, etc. But, in this chapter of Nehemiah, we see that the people are so in awe of the Lord that they bow down with their faces to the ground.
- “weeping as they listened to the words of the Law”
The people are so in awe of God and His Word that they are weeping. This should be a day of celebrating; the people have just finished building a wall…they should be rejoicing! But, they approach the Word of God with reverence and realize the gift they have been given.
As I read these verses, I was convicted and challenged. I was convicted because I am not approaching God’s Word with enough reverence and awe. I was challenged because I want to be more in awe of His Word. I don’t want to treat it like it’s a chore to check off my list or like it’s another accomplishment I can feel good about.
Father- help us to approach Your Word with great awe and reverence. Thank You that we have the freedom to access Your Word each day. May we not take that gift for granted. Teach us how to lay aside our pride and to give You glory and praise.