Summary: The importance of the Bible, and calling people back to devotion in the study of the Bible
That dusty old book.
King Josiah was born during the darkest time in Israel’s history. For years the people were mixing pagan practices with their worship of God. Disregarding God’s call to remain separate and distinct. During this time pagan priests were brought in, offerings to Baal and other god’s were being made. The people were turning to mediums and spiritualists for guidance. They sought out idols for their homes. The people were literally lost in their spiritual confusion.
They no longer heard the clear call of God like Moses, Isaac or Abraham did. In all their confusion they forgot God’s word. They stored the Book of the Law in some dark closet and forgot it even existed.
After hearing God’s word King Josiah began to seek guidance from God. He realized that Israel had no guidance and no plan. He tore down the pagan altars, he ripped out the idols and smashed them, and he removed the corrupt and pagan priests. After hearing God’s word Israel turned from a dead religion and trusted in the living God.
It is ironic to me that the best selling book of all time is also one of the least read. Most people own a Bible, but it sits on a bookshelf or on the coffee table and collects dust. We have God’s blue print for life and yet we ignore the plan and start the building on our own.
What happened in Israel has happened again and again throughout history. God’s people rediscovering God’s word brings renewal to their lives and to Christianity. The protestant reformer Martin Luther discovered God’s word when he became frustrated with shifting traditions in the church. Luther translated the Bible into the common language so that anyone could read the scripture and hear God’s voice.
John Wesley was known as “A man of One Book.” For Wesley the Bible was the last word in determining the boundaries of Christian faith.
So here we are in the 21st Century, in the information age. We are exposed to more information and media than at any other time in history. Yet, we have this old dusty book. I wonder what it says inside?
In our arrogance we think that we are better than the Israelites, the pre-reformation Catholics, we think we have it all figured out. Yet, we still have this old dusty book. I wonder what it says inside?
Our children are taught that there is no real truth. That truth is what you make it. They are taught that there are no differences between religions.
Psychics have hotlines and TV shows. Many of us read fortune cookies with more interest than the Bible. Horoscopes are printed daily in every newspaper across the country. Self help books litter the bookstores. We are seeking something. We are looking for help, for guidance, for direction. Yet, we still have this old dusty book. I wonder what it says inside?
Many of us here today, look at the Bible as our guide, and as God’s word and truth. But, how many of us know what it says inside? Sure we can quote a few verses, but do we study it?
New York City
If you were planning a trip into New York City, would you glace at the map and remember a few street names and hope that they would get you to where you needed to be? I wonder how many of us would study the map before we ever left. I bet most of us would have it in the car as we were driving, and I bet just as many would be checking it frequently as we made our way through the city.
We place our lives on cruise control and we fly down this Interstate of life, we don’t check the map that often because we don’t see much change in our lives from day to day.
10 degrees off
Suppose for a minute that we are plotting a course through life and we accidentally miscalculate our direction by 10 degrees. That’s the same as 3 minute dashes on a clock. As we start out on our trip we don’t notice much difference at all. In fact for a long time everything looks like it should but we are really way off course.
Field Training exercise.
Colonel who went out to qualify for navigation. But, what he didn’t know was that the first direction that he was supposed to take was 5 degrees off from what it was supposed to be. 5 hours later a very, very mad Colonel made his way back to camp. He had missed every single one of his markers simply because the first set of instructions were wrong, after that everything else was off too.
Yet it is still amazing to me to think that we convince ourselves that we don’t need to read the Bible every day, and that we don’t need to study God’s word.