Author - Mike Curtis
As the year has progressed, I’m amazed by the relationships between the passages in each day’s reading. M’Cheyne did not plan these relationships and themes, but since God is beating us over the head with the same ideas over and over again (and of course sovereign), we see them over and over again! How hard-headed we must be to need the message that many times, and how resilient our sin is to keep returning time and again.
But it isn’t new, we see the need for the message in the people mentioned in today’s passage. From Josiah discovering the Word of God to Jesus telling people who He is before his crucifixion to Malachi's call to faithfulness for God’s people and the message in Revelation that those whose names are not written in the book will be cast into Hell – from each of those we see both our need for grace and God’s response in providing grace through His Word!
Over the holidays we like to cook in our family. Even when we go on vacation, we do not opt for eating out, but we tend to make what my boys call “good food.” The week between Christmas and New Year’s has been called the “week of good food” in our family and recently we’ve had a theme of favorite Austrian meals for dinner that week, with one exception. On Christmas Eve, we share a Polish dinner since that is my family’s ancestry, don’t let the name fool you. When we cook that particular meal, I go back to some old family recipes – one for pierogi that my grandmother handwrote over 30 years ago and recipes from cookbooks that have been passed down through the years with yellowing pages. I’m so concerned about losing them that I’ve both typed and scanned what we use and have multiple copies in multiple places. It seems as if I’m storing some information critical to the continuation of the world itself.
Though the Scriptures had been stored in a safe place in the temple, the Levites lost track of them. In 2 Chronicles 34, they find the scrolls and read them to King Josiah who had an idea of God’s Word, but nothing specific. We get the message that he was close, but not close enough, there was a profound influence of sin in the community due to a lack of hearing the Word of God directly. Once the Word is spoken, the Spirit grabs the hearts of the King, priests, and all the people in order to effect a drastic repentance and they push toward following God again.
But wait, this same message is in Malachi 2 where our prophet reminds the priests of their main mission of communicating God’s Word faithfully to His people and then telling the people why their worship is not received – they are living in habitual sin in their familial relationships. Instead of communicating the message in the positive light of 2 Chronicles 34, Malachi tells the priests and people about their sin and how it is keeping them from God’s long-lasting covenant.
Oh, and there’s more! In the events leading up to His death, Jesus again reminds anyone who will hear of both who He is and what His mission as a Man is. He reminds Pilate that his power has come from God himself, even if he doesn’t believe that. John then points out many of the prophecies fulfilled that fateful day. It is all in the same vein – reminding us of God’s faithfulness in his Word throughout the centuries.
Of course, even in Revelation 20:15 we read that John saw “anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.” It is again the reminder of the importance of the Word throughout history. It is a clear result of God’s grace through hearing His Word and surrendering to the Spirit who calls us into a relationship with Him.
How are you dealing with the Word? How are you dealing with your own sin? How about the person of Christ? Do you discover each and every day how to live or do you skim over things thinking you know what to do, but are really just making up your own way? When I tried to make some of my favorite holiday foods from memory, it doesn’t work well – I often forget ingredients or procedures. What about the Word? Are we forgetting what God says to us and His direction for our lives? May we humble ourselves and be open to each and every day’s message that we read or hear from the Bible. May we repent of our sin in order to focus more clearly on God Himself, and may we know Christ more and more! Let’s have the zeal of King Josiah in implementing each and every part in our lives and communicating it to the people around us.