“But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. James 1:25
One of my worst childhood memories was when I accidentally burned a Bible in an outdoor fire pit. My mother asked me to clean up my room. I had a stack of old school assignments that I certainly had no interest in keeping, most likely due to the fact that some of them didn’t have the best of grades and having a bon fire in the back yard seemed like a good way in getting rid of my guilty conscience.
In my haste to rid myself of my lack of academic effort, I inadvertently threw a bible concealed in the papers into the fire. Much to my horror, as I poked at the papers that were now fully consumed by the flames, was a bible that had been given to me. I quickly tried to rescue it from the flames, but it was too late. It had been burned beyond any usefulness. I had burned God’s word in my haste.
A similar event happened in 605 BC, though this time it was intentional. Jehoiakim was king of Judah. He was in the winterized portion of his palace, reclining before a fire when a scroll was brought to him from Jeremiah the prophet. As each section of the scroll was read aloud, Jehoiakim would cut off that piece and throw it into the fire. He continued until all had been read and all had been destroyed in the fire.
Jehoiakim was the second son of Josiah, a king who “walked in all the way of David his father, and did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.” Johoiakim, was one generation away from his father’s example, yet he did not just disregard the word of God, he desecrated the word of God by actually burning it.
Need I remind us that when we discard God’s Word, it doesn’t change God or his word… but it does change us!
We may not literally throw God’s word into the fire, yet in many ways we can disregard the word of God or the words from God in a similar manner.
Through indifference, we ignore the preaching of the word of God on Sundays by allowing the cares of life to choke it out. Jesus warned us about this. We might also cherry-pick the word of God by skipping over the hard parts and only turning the familiar sections that remind us of blessing and peace. For instance, we love the second half of II Chronicles 7:14 “I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land,” yet the second half of that verse is predicated on the first half; “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways …”
Rather than burning God’s word with flames of indifference, let us choose to allow it to burn truth into our hearts. May the word of Christ richly dwell within us with all wisdom, teaching and admonishing us and each other with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in our hearts toward God.
This week, let’s commit to embracing and obeying the full counsel of God with all of our hearts! Amen!