Summary: Today we’re going to focus on the impact of the Word on our lives when we read it, study it and act on it. When you allow the word to penetrate your life on a daily basis, it has the power to transform. We see several things the Word can do in your life.
Rejoicing in the WORD
Nehemiah 8: 9-18
A young girl became a Christian in a revival at her church and was baptized the closing Sunday morning. That afternoon she ran through the house singing and dancing. Her grandfather yelled at her, “You ought to be ashamed of yourself. You just joined the church and you’re singing and dancing on the Lord’s Day!” Crushed by her grandfather’s attitude, the little girl went out to the barn, climbed up on the corral fence, and observed an old mule standing there with a sad, droopy face and bleary eyes. As she reached over and patted the mule sympathetically, she said, “Don’t cry, ole mule. I guess you’ve got the same kind of religion that Grandpa has!”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., was a member of the U.S. Supreme Court for 30 years. At one point in his life, Justice Holmes explained his choice of a career by saying: "I might have entered the ministry if certain clergymen I knew had not looked and acted so much like undertakers." So where is the joy? Where is the "always" rejoicing in the Lord? Where is the "always" giving praise with joy in our hearts for the great things He has done?
Chapter 8 reflects a major change in the book of Nehemiah. Up to this point, the book has been about re-construction, but now the focus changes to the re-instruction of God’s people. Today we’re going to focus on the impact of the Word on our lives when we read it, study it and act on it. When you allow the word to penetrate your life on a daily basis, it has the power to transform. We see several things the Word can do in your life.
First, it has the power of conviction. When they heard the Book of the Law read, the people began to weep. When you read the word on a daily basis, something begins to happen in your life. You become aware of the brokenness that you weren’t aware of before and that only God could do things that I was truly seeking. Hebrews 4:12 puts it this way: "For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword . . ." What’s sharper than a double-edged sword? A scalpel. A sword is used for condemnation and death but a scalpel is used for healing. When I allow the word to be part of my everyday life, it gets to those places that are unresolved inside of me that I’ve repressed and often are not even aware of. Any time you’re not allowing the word to penetrate the core of who you are, you’re practicing "religion" rather than having a radical relationship with Jesus Christ. That’s why so many religious people only go so far in living for God and they appear to be hypocrites. Many religious people are like whitewashed tombs. On the outside they look great and do all of these religious things, appearing very spiritual but on the inside there was nothing but death. And here’s the problem: religion creates self-righteousness. I’m right, you’re wrong. When you’re dealing with religion, you’re always pointing out the splinter that’s in your sister or brother’s eye and you are never dealing with the log that is in your eye. It’s why the Pharisees had such problems with Jesus and why ultimately the religious people crucified Jesus. But when you allow the Word to penetrate your heart and mind, it’s no longer about other people’s sin but yours.