Summary: The Word of God is the wisdom of God for us and the revelation of God to us. It is a living book and no other book can have that said about it.
The Book of God
Prairie Baptist Church – 1/17/10
Text: Nehemiah 7-8
Key verse: Nehemiah 8:8 - So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.
Premise: The Word of God is the wisdom of God for us and the revelation of God to us. It is a living book and no other book can have that said about it.
A woman wrote “My doctor had recommended surgery and referred me to a specialist. Arriving early for my appointment, I found the door unlocked and the young surgeon, deeply engrossed in reading, behind the receptionist’s desk. When he didn’t hear me come in, I cleared my throat. Startled, he closed the book, which I recognized as a Bible. “Does reading the Bible help you before or after an operation?” I asked. My fears were dispelled by his soft, one-word answer: “During.””
Eleanor Schmidt, in Reader’s Digest
Discuss the text briefly, beginning in chapter 7.
1. The Prominence of God’s Word
A. When God speaks, we listen – 8:3
i. Writer Charles Swindoll once found himself with too many commitments in too few days. He got nervous and tense about it.
“I was snapping at my wife and our children, choking down my food at mealtimes, and feeling irritated at those unexpected interruptions through the day,” he recalled in his book Stress Fractures. “Before long, things around our home started reflecting the pattern of my hurry-up style. It was becoming unbearable.
“I distinctly remember after supper one evening, the words of our younger daughter, Colleen. She wanted to tell me something important that had happened to her at school that day. She began hurriedly, ‘Daddy, I wanna tell you somethin’ and I’ll tell you really fast.’
“Suddenly realizing her frustration, I answered, ‘Honey, you can tell me—and you don’t have to tell me really fast. Say it slowly.”
“I’ll never forget her answer: ‘Then listen slowly.’” Bits & Pieces, June 24, 1993, pp. 13-14
ii. We should give attention to the Word of God when it is spoken
iii. There will come a day when people will not listen (2nd Tim. 4:3-4)
iv. We need to listen while the Word of God is still spoken - Amos 8:11 - Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:
B. It is the centerpiece of preaching – 8:4
i. 2 Timothy 4:2 – Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
ii. This ought to be heartbeat of every Christian, to hear the Word of God proclaimed.
iii. We ought to hunger for it – Acts 17:11 - These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
a. Readiness of mind – means zeal, spirit, eagerness
b. This is what they wanted more than anything, to hear the Word of the Lord.
C. It should be highly respected – 8:5
i. We do not worship the book as much as the God of the book
ii. Nevertheless, These are God’s words to us and are divine – Psalms 119:89 - For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.
2. The Purpose of God’s Word
A. To ground us for spiritual living - 2 Timothy 3:16-17 - All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
i. Doctrine – God teaches us about Himself
ii. Conviction - Reproof – Nehemiah 8:9 - For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.
iii. Correction – It shows us how to correct sin and overcome our sinful nature
iv. Instruction in Righteousness – Holy lives come from a holy book
v. Application (2nd Tim. 3:17) – that we will mature and be equipped and trained for good works.
B. To bring joy through obeying the Word (8:10-12)
i. An old dog was watching a young dog chase his tail. The young dog stopped to rest, and told the older dog, “I believe happiness is in my tail, and if I catch it, then I will have happiness!” The older, wiser dog said, “I caught mine once. . . and I found out that happiness is not in the catching, it’s in the pursuit.”
Sometimes it seems like the people who seem like they’ve “caught” everything they were chasing after haven’t found joy in it!