Now after the king had burned the scroll with the words that Baruch wrote at Jeremiah’s dictation, the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: “Take another scroll and write on it all the former words that were in the first scroll, which Jehoiakim the king of Judah has burned. And concerning Jehoiakim king of Judah you shall say… I will bring upon them and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem and upon the people of Judah all the disaster that I have pronounced against them, but they would not hear.’” Jeremiah 36:27-28, 31
In these recent days of Christians arguing over same-sex issues, we see a lot of lip service given to how much we love and honor God’s Word and how much we love each other (the sinner), while hating the sin. I am taking an opportunity today and next Monday (in my Monday Morning Quarterback post) to ask some hard questions about our sincerity on both counts. Today’s question: do we really respect the Word of God?
Young King Josiah, when he first heard the words of the long lost Book of the Law, tore his clothes in grief over the message (2 Kings 22:11). Years later, his son (King Jehoiakim) heard the Word of the Lord and responded very differently…he burned it. They both heard God’s Word and it was not what either of them wanted to hear. But their responses were very different. One showed immense respect for it. The other, utter disdain and disrespect.
A proper respect for God’s Word means we do not bring any of our own bias or phobias or agenda to it when we seek its truth. We do not start with what we want and then go looking for an interpretation that fits that agenda. We do not google the issue of the day and look at other people’s interpretations of it until we find one that supports what we want or what we feel. A respect for God’s Word does not bring a particular comfort level to it and then work to maintain that comfort level in how we interpret it. That is disrespectful of God’s Word. It does not give it its due honor.
God’s Word itself says: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9. How dare we, then, bring our biases and our feelings and our ways and use them as the narrow lens through which we interpret God’s Word? Doesn’t the proper respect for His Word rather come to it with an open heart and open mind and allow His Word to be the lens through which we interpret our lives and our world? It is the difference between having a Biblical worldview and having a worldly Biblical view.
And so, I am making a commitment to God and to myself and to you…
When I am inclined to post a status update or to write a blog or to comment on someone else’s update or blog with my interpretation of scripture, I am going to pause and ask myself a hard question or two about how prayerfully I arrived at that interpretation. What bias or fear or “feelings” did I bring to that interpretation? Is it an interpretation at which I arrived after my own prayer and study and seeking of God’s face, or did I simply stop at that interpretation after reading it somewhere else, and after finding it that it fits awfully nicely with my own personal or political or social agenda?
And if I do not KNOW that I have given God’s Word that due respect in arriving at my own interpretation, then I will not be posting that comment until I do know that.
That is my commitment. You?