How many Bibles do you see?
Where are they sitting? The floor? A table? A shelf?
How long since they were last opened?
I'm not trying to make you feel guilty, but I do want to challenge you today, the way I've been challenged recently.
This one starts with a book my three year old niece signed out of our church library. I've read a lot of different stories to her, but, while I don't mind reading most of them, I'm not used to them being anything other than stories to me - some familiar, some not. To say I was a little surprised when the one I was reading to her began to challenge might be an understatement.
I went home later that evening still thinking about it. The story was a simple one about a kid who lost his Bible and hadn't been treating it well, and why he should treat it better once he found it. As I sat at home that evenings, I counted at least 10 Bibles on the shelf by my chair, another on a table, and there's one in my office at work. And then, who knows how many available through the Bible app on my phone. All of them used at some point or other - some more than others.
I left the thoughts about it at that, until I was reading in Nehemiah a couple weeks later, when I couple of verses prompted the thoughts again.
To set the scene a bit: Nehemiah had returned to Jerusalem and had led the rebuilding of the wall, with the other exiles that had returned. It was now complete and they had been re-establishing the residents of the city. All who could understand had gathered to hear Ezra, the priest, read the Law of Moses aloud.
Nehemiah 8:5-6 says:
Ezra opened the book. All the people could see him because he was standing above them; and as he opened it, the people all stood up. Ezra praised the Lord, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, Amen! Amen! Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. (emphasis mine)
When Israel heard God's Word being read they stood to their feet and then they bowed low in worship of God.
When I read those words, all the questions I had asked a couple weeks ago cam flooding back.
It was different for Israel because they didn't each own their own copies of God's Word, but I began to wonder if we could learn something their response to God's Word. Something I wonder if we've lost with all our easy and immediate access to Bibles today. Something I've lost.
How do I treat God's Word?
How do I respond to it being read?
The Bible is God's Word to us. God speaking to us through it - into our lives today.
But, maybe I've gotten so used to it being always available I've forgotten what a privilege it is to have it so easily accessible to me?
Maybe it's become so commonplace in my life I don't treat it the way I should?
I'm not saying our Bibles should be objects we worship. But, I do wonder if the way we treat them can, at least sometimes, be a reflection of the value we're placing on God's Words to us? Maybe there is value in us reflecting on the way we treat the Bibles we have and whether that reflects the value we place on it, or if there's some inconsistency there we need to deal with.
How does my heart respond to hearing God's Word?
Maybe it won't be the right place to physically stand and then bow low in worship in response to God's Word, but even then, we still can in our hearts.
What is the attitude and response of your heart to hearing God's Word?
Is how you treat your Bible (or Bibles) a reflection of that? Should it be?
Do you need to change something here?