God has always wanted His people to be “people of the book.” He had Moses write down the book of genealogy so that man could trace himself back to Adam and thus remember his Creator (Genesis 5:1). He had Moses read the book of the law to the Israelites so they would vow to keep every word (Exodus 24:7). Joshua also read the book of the law to God’s people, including every blessing and every curse (Joshua 8:34). Providencially, God allowed Hilkiah, the priest, to find the book when it had been neglected and lost (2 Kings 22:8). Later, after the Jews had returned from captivity, the book was read once again to the whole congregation by Ezra, the scribe, instigating a national revival (Nehemiah 8:1)
In every circumstance, God required that his people take an oath that they would know the book. He made them promise to obey every word in the book. He promised himself that they would be blessed or cursed based on their keeping or not keeping the words of the book. Every step, every ounce of success for God’s people was always directly related to the book. You can check the book itself.
The success or failure of mankind still rides on the knowledge of and keeping of the book. But in 2012, there are only a few people in existence today that are truly people of the book. Consider the facts:
- Most people have never studied the Bible. I am not saying they haven’t read the Bible, but rather, they have not studied it. There is a big difference.
- Most people do not take Bible class seriously. They see it as optional, a bonus, or an unnecessary part of church participation that is for teachers and preachers.
- Many people scan the Bible looking for answers to certain questions. They do not realize that the best answers are found through a balanced understanding of the entire work.
- The world in general does not show the proper respect for the Bible. If they did, they would not talk about God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit as they do. If they did, they would not teach and practice religion the way they do.
- Satan is keeping the world busy. Too busy with work, school, and recreation for people to spend time listening to what God has to say in the book.
This article is not meant to be harsh, judgmental, or cynical. Its purpose is to remind the reader of the great opportunity God’s people have to be people of the book. When you are people of the book, you know the will of God. When you are people of the book, you can find heavenly answers to earthly struggles. When you are people of the book, you have the peace that comes with knowing that regardless of what you are dealing with, God will deliver you. When you are people of the book, you can do more than feel like or hope that heaven will be your home, you can know it. When you are people of the book, you think differently, act differently, and live differently – and it makes your life and the life of every person around you – better!
Every generation of people has the responsibility to be a people of the book. May we not forget!
“And they stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for one-fourth of the day; and for another fourth they confessed and worshiped the Lord their God.” ~ Nehemiah 9:3
-Jeremiah Tatum preaches for the Willow Avenue Church of Christ in Cookeville, TN