SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSONS
Commentary by Walter Albritton
March 30, 2008
Josiah Inspires Us to Embrace the Power of the Word of God
2 Chronicles 34
Key Verse: The king stood in his place and made a covenant before the Lord, to follow the Lord, keeping his commandments, his decrees, and his statutes, with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant that were written in this book. – 2 Chronicles 34:31
A friend asked me why our church is attracting so many people. The answer is obvious: our senior pastor consistently preaches the Word of God. His sermons focus on biblical truth and its application to our lives today. He seldom strays down a “rabbit trail.” Simply put, he proclaims the gospel Sunday after Sunday.
Shallow preaching attracts people for a season. Biblical preaching inspires people to commit to the long haul. If we have learned anything from the Bible and Christian history, it is that God changes people who take seriously the Word of God. Hebrews 4:12-13 explains why this happens:
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (NIV)
No one is quite sure what book was found by Hilkiah the priest, only that it was called “the book of the Lord given through Moses.” It may have been the Torah. It may well have been the Book of Deuteronomy. What is known is the remarkable effect this book of God had on the Israelites through the leadership of Josiah the king.
We know also that evil reigned when the Word of God was lost and ignored. Righteousness prevailed when the king and his people renewed the covenant to keep the commandments and teaching of the Word of God. Here is one of the great principles of the Kingdom: Evil rules and ruins life when people do not live according to the Word of God.
Josiah’s example is noteworthy. He humbled himself before God. He took the Word of God seriously himself. He used both his power and his influence to lead people to live by God’s Word. Though none of us has the influence of a king, we can use the influence we have to guide people to trust and live by the Word of God. Like Josiah we should never be ashamed of our faith in, and love for, God’s precious Word. Our children, grandchildren, and friends should know that the Bible is one of our greatest treasures.
In many ways our journey with Christ is one rediscovery after another of the amazing power of the Word of God. Over the years some of my richest experiences have been the result of studying God’s Word with a small group of people. I have witnessed the conversion of many people to new life in Christ as God spoke to us through the Scriptures. Indeed, I have been “converted” again and again myself as the Word of God “judged the thoughts and attitudes of my heart.”
When a few of us dig into the Scriptures together, the Holy Spirit often speaks directly to our needs, prompting us to do what James recommends: “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (5:16). That is when lives are changed and conversion happens.
The greatest result of Bible study is that “the words” of Holy Scripture will lead us to “the Word,” the Christ, the “Living Word” of God. When we encounter and embrace Jesus, we have a choice. We can “fish or cut bait.” We can surrender or walk away. When we choose to believe, to confess our sins and be baptized, then we may soon cry with John:
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (1:14)
Long ago Josiah and the people of God were marvelously blessed through the rediscovery of God’s Word. But even more wonderful are the blessings that await us today when we covenant with others to learn to live all of life by the Word of God! + + +
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