April 27, 2018
Hungry for God’s Word
April 27, 2018
Jesus, quoting Deuteronomy, declared: “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matt 4:4). The prophet Amos speaks about a “famine of hearing God’s word” in the land (8:11). But his description of “lovely young women and strong young men” staggering around in search of God’s word, seems, on the surface, not to relate to our corner of the world. We live in the Bible Belt. Talk of God’s word is all around us. I once overheard an animated discussion in the supermarket over whether we need to read the whole Bible or just the “red-letter” part. We hear Bible quotes from politicians and ordinary citizens alike. Sometimes God’s word seems to be tossed around carelessly, as if simply talking about God’s word were enough.
The old Spiritual reminds us, however, “Everybody talking about heaven, ain’t going there.” We are cautioned in the New Testament to be “doers of the word, and not hearers only” (Jas 1:22), leading to the question: Do we sometimes experience a famine when it comes to doing God’s word? Do we hunger and thirst for God’s Spirit, who will send us to those in need, those seeking healing, those who want to know the blessings of God’s word?
In Acts 8 we read about Simon who tried to buy the power of the Holy Spirit with money. Peter sees in this man a heart full of bitterness, one that has not heeded God’s word and prayed for reconciliation. God’s word is not for sale. Psalm 22 reminds us that praise of God leads to fulfilling our promises so that the poor will be fed, the world will hear and see us witness to God’s word by our lives, and all peoples will turn toward it. This is not only for us, so we will order our lives in our own time, but also a call to proclaim God’s righteousness and justice to the next generation, “a people yet unborn.”
QUESTIONS FOR THE FIELD
- Give some examples of people who are “doers of the word and not hearers only.” How can we support the “doers” in our congregation and encourage more people to become “doers”?
- What does it mean to be “generative”? How can we ensure there will be believers in the next generation? How is it possible to proclaim God’s righteousness to “a people yet unborn”?
FAMILY FIELD TALK
- Talk about what it means to be “hearers” and “doers.”
- Plan a family mission project and use as your “mission statement” a verse from the Bible. (example: Matthew 14:16)
Open for us, O God, the words of Scripture, the words of those first witnesses at the empty tomb, your word as it comes to us in the sound of silence. Make us free to hear and not hold back that we may live in the joy of Jesus Christ, crucified and risen. Alleluia! Amen.