Bought by the Blood

July 22, 2009

Only with the cross can we esteem God’s Word rightly

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. Yet neither the king nor any of his servants who heard all these words was afraid, nor did they tear their garments. – Jeremiah 36:23-24

King Jehoiakim had no regard for God’s Word.  For those who live in reverence to God’s Word it is more delightful than all riches (Psalm 119:14).  To king Jehoiakim the Word of God was worthless and he used it to cut it up and as fuel for a fire.  In cutting up the Word of God he was cutting up his own soul and committing suicide of the soul.  He could have used God’s word to burn away the sin in his life, but instead by  neglecting it he made the wrath of God burn hotter towards him.

The proper response to God’s Word would have been one of fear.  Through God’s Word we see ourselves more clearly and also see God more clearly.  By the Word of God we are able to see more clearly His holiness and glory.  Scripture is also a mirror and we see ourselves in light of who God is we are made aware of our sin and our separation from God.  This is a very fearful thing as it shows that no one has lived up to God’s standard and all are worthy of punishment (Romans 3:23 and 6:23).  When we see the debt that we owe God, as it is one that we could never repay, we should have the opposite reaction of Jehoiakim and be humbled.

To be honest, I don’t always prize God’s word as I should approach it with humble gratitude.  It is a fight to esteem God’s Word rightly.  Thankfully this is not a battle that I fight on my own.  I have the Holy Spirit to empower me to deny my self so that I can seek God through His Word.  This is not something that I do to earn God’s favor, but it is because I have God’s favor through Christ death on the cross for my sins that my response is to commune with Him through His Word.  The cross isn’t just the means by which I am saved, but it also is the process of my sanctification.  If the cross is not at the center of my sanctification then I am not seeking to exalt Christ, but to exalt myself.  Not only can I not save myself, but I can’t continue to make progress in my relationship with God unless He is working in me and carrying me along the process.  Therefore, I do not feel condemned when I fail to have the right attitude towards God’s Word, but instead remember it is all of grace and seek Him to pour out more grace because without His undeserved favor I am in the same boat as Jehoiakim.

Josh Harris gave a great message at Covenant Life Church on this passage which you can listen to here.

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