Do you care for God’s Word? Are you appreciative of the fact that many of our homes in the U.S. have multiple copies of the Bible, and that even for those that don’t, access to this precious gift is as close as a smartphone app or the nearest Walmart?
“‘The time is surely coming,’ says the Sovereign LORD,
‘when I will send a famine on the land—
not a famine of bread or water
but of hearing the words of the LORD.'”(Amos 8:11 NLT)
Failing to read our Bibles is a terrible mistake. This particular prophecy from the Old Testament was given to Israel, but that doesn’t mean God can’t or won’t allow it to happen to others who ignore Him. To the contrary, Jesus warns–not once, but in two separate contexts–“For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.” (Matthew 13:12 and Matthew 25:29) But what does He mean?
God’s Word–what for centuries has been called “The Holy Bible”–is not like other books. It isn’t something like “The Illiad” or some other classic that can be picked up and read once and be done with. Because the Bible is the living, breathing Word of God, it is something we must read regularly. Just as we wouldn’t think of eating once and saying, “Okay. That was good; I’m done” and never nourish our bodies physically again, or eat only once a week on Sundays, we cannot read the Bible sporadically. We need daily spiritual nourishment!
The proof of this lies in who Jesus is. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”(John 1:1, 14) Jesus is identified as the Word. Then later in John 15, Jesus tells us to abide–to remain, to stay–in Him:
““I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.” (John 15:1-6) (Notice that those who don’t abide in Him are cast out, withered, thrown into the fire and burned.)
But what did Jesus mean when He told us to abide–to stay–in Him? How can we do that–can we literally crawl inside of Jesus’ physical body? Obviously not. The way we remain “in Jesus” is by remaining—by faithfully and obediently immersing ourselves–in the Word, the Bible.
Which brings us back to the earlier quote, “For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. (Matthew 13:12) If we remain in Jesus–in the Word of God–God will bless our faithfulness and multiply it, but if we are lax to take advantage of what God has so graciously provided or even indifferent to it, “even what he has will be taken away from him.”
So, are you like the people God condemned–“You can’t wait for the Sabbath day to be over and the religious festivals to end so you can get back to…” (God mentions cheating, but fill in the blank–the point is that they can’t wait to get back to their lifestyle away from any thought of God) (Amos 8:5a NLT)? Or, can you honestly tell Him, “As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. (Psalm 42:1 NLT)
Help us to appreciate the genuinely priceless treasure You have given us in Your Word, and remain in it. Amen.