Responding to God’s Word
by Jim Hughes
The Book of the Law of the Lord their God was read aloud to them for about three hours. Then for three more hours they took turns confessing their sins and worshiping the LORD their God. (Neh. 9:3 NLT)
Now, this is a worship service I would have loved to be in! For three hours the Word of God was read to the people and for three hours the people responded to it by confessing their sins and worshiping God.
Very few people would tolerate such a service today. Most people get very antsy when a service lasts much more than an hour. Most of us today want to hear the Word read and expounded on for absolutely no more than forty minutes and it is much better if it’s for around twenty minutes. Most people will just get up and leave the service if it involves much more than that.
When was the last time you actually sat down and read the Word for more than just a few minutes? Can you say that you have ever sat still and read it for three hours at one sitting? Could it be that our tolerance level for worship is a reflection of how much time we spend in the Word?
The Word was read for three hours. We are not told if that included just the reading of the Word or if it also included expounding on it. Either way, it just would not go well with us today. But it didn’t stop there.
Having heard the Word, the people then took another three hours out of their day to repent and worship the Lord. I personally believe that the Word of God convicts people of their sins. Yet, how many of us can honestly say that it convicts us? Are we not hearing what God says?
It used to be that when the Word was proclaimed, an altar call was given so that people could publicly respond to the Lord speaking through His Word. Today, we are getting rid of our altars.
Is it any wonder that our faith is so weak and ineffective?
I am not advocating for six-hour worship services, but I am advocating for a much better response on our part to God’s Word. We must regard the Word as the voice of God. We must return to it, listen to it, and respond to it in a proper way. God will not do anything in us or our churches until we do.
About the Author
I am a retired pastor having served the church mainly as a bi-vocational pastor for over 40 years.
I have been married for over 40 years and we have two married children and a single son.
I have an online ministry, posting daily devotionals and tweeting on faith and marriage.
I have authored a series of devotional books covering every book of the Bible and several marriage books.
You can read Jim’s “Sunday Inspiration” column on the 4th Sunday each month here at Mustard Seed Sentinel.