Hunger for God’s Word – Nehemiah 8:1-3

When God’s Word Is More Important Than Food Or Drink

1 all the people came together as one in the square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the teacher of the Law to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded for Israel.

2 So on the first day of the seventh month Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, which was made up of men and women and all who were able to understand. 3 He read it aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law.

Community Call

After God sovereignly helped Nehemiah and the returned exiles rebuild the wall in fifty-two days (amidst threats of physical harm from their enemies, threats of false reports sent to the government, and spies leaking intelligence of their progress to everyone who would try to stop the work of God), the people wanted to hear the word of God.  They told Ezra that they wanted to hear from the God who had helped them.  Should not our first response to assistance from Almighty God be to seek our benefactor out to hear what He has to say?

Everyone Enjoined

The group gathered wasn’t just a few who wanted to hear; this was the entire community: men, women, and everyone who was of the age and with the capacity of understanding God’s holy word.  The people didn’t have to be coerced into going, or enticed with anything apart from the desire to hear from their God.  If only all the people who call themselves “Christians” had this same mentality – to eagerly desire and hunger for the word of God and its understanding…

Daybreak Determined

Ezra didn’t wait until after everyone had the opportunity to get plenty of sleep, and leisurely get ready to be present at the reading of the word of God.  Ezra began to read at daybreak, when it was light enough to read in public without the assistance of light from man.  Not only did he start reading the moment that he could, EVERYONE was gathered and was ready for him to read the law of God the moment that he could.

First Fruit

They gave up the first fruit of their day – the first half of their day – to hear the law of God.  There was nothing more important to them than hearing and knowing God’s law at that time.  In our modern fast pace of life in the Western World, how many people would willingly gather from daybreak until noon to hear the word of God, let alone be attentive to it for the first half of the day?

Conscientiously Concentrate

The Bible records that the people listened attentively to the law of God as it was read.  How do we fare with that?  When we read the word of the living God, do we listen attentively to what it is saying?  Do we just skim over it and fill ourselves with the good feelings that we have accomplished our reading (daily or otherwise), and move on with our day?  Do we take in and comprehend the deeper truths of scripture?  Do we apply what we have learned?  What level of comprehension, let alone implementation, do we allocate and achieve for this most important task?

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Do I so hunger after God’s word that I would stand outside for the first half of the day just to hear it?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, I say in my heart that I love You, and that Your word is more important to me than anything else.  Help me to truly mean it my following through with my actions.  Give me the desire, ability, and follow-through to spend more time in Your word and with You each and every day.  May I more greatly desire the bread of life and living water than my own portion of food and drink each day.  Help me to have such a longing in my innermost parts that I cannot wait to open Your word and dive deep into it.  Like David, help me to pant like a deer for water for time with You.  Help me to put everything in perspective, so that I can honor You in this way.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

The Heart of the Matter – Deuteronomy 6:6-7

The Word Of God Penetrates The Deep Areas Of The Heart

6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Heart and Honor

Every disciple of Christ should be filling their mind and their heart with the word of God:

1 Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.

Our minds have a tendency to be filled with something.  When we give our lives to Christ, we now have the opportunity to choose what we can fill our minds with.  The world, the flesh, and the devil are constantly offering suggestions on what we should use to fill our minds and hearts.  But God says we should be filling them with His law.  Additionally, we are to fill our minds with the following:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

By filling our minds with the things of God – His law and the affairs of Heaven, we crowd out the thoughts that compete with the will and ways of God.  This should be a priority for disciples of Christ, for we cannot effectively train our minds to intercept and process as garbage that which deserves such a fate without having the ability to recognize what is good for us and what will cause us problems:

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Teach and Train

In addition to doing this for ourselves, we are to impart the knowledge of God – God’s holy word – to our children.  We are to impress upon our children the importance of following God’s law.  We are to impress upon them value of God’s law.  We are to impress upon them the holiness of God’s law by showing through OUR actions and words the very principles that we espouse.  Children learn more from our actions than from our words.  Even when they appear to be ignoring us, they are most carefully watching us to see if we practice what we preach.  Children look for hypocrisy to validate the truth.  Teach them not only with words, but with works.

Talk and Travel

Not only should we be talking to our children about the law of God when we are at our home, but also when we travel.  In the West, there is a movement by certain individuals to try to restrict the ability of people to practice their religion only in the home and their place of worship.  They believe that people should not practice it anywhere else, because it might “offend” someone.  But Jesus said:

Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.

If we limit our teaching to the home, we will not have the opportunity to fully impart our wisdom to our children.  “Teachable Moments” arise in everyday life, and it is important to impart the wisdom of God to our children at all times.  We can only do this if we take the time to teach them wherever we may be.

Sleep and Stand

God’s word is so important that we should even take the time to teach it to our children when we are getting ready to sleep, and when we first rise.  There is no time that we shouldn’t be imparting the wisdom of God to our children.  When we don’t CONSISTENTLY teach our children, their minds wander to the things of this world.  God implores parents to teach their children His laws during EVERY WAKING MOMENT.  To do otherwise is to invite other influences into their lives that could harm them.  Children observe EVERYTHING, so rather than let the world, the flesh, and the devil train them, take the time and effort to train them up in the law of God.

A Qualifying Question

Parents, let’s ask a question:  Am I training up my child(ren) in the way that they should go?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, I love you and adore You.  Your law is beautiful to behold.  When it is practiced, great righteousness proceeds from the ones who adhere to it.  Father, You have made it plain to us that we cannot keep Your law the way that we should.  Thank You for Your Son, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for my sins and the sins of the world.  Thank You for your law, to teach me that I cannot please You without accepting Jesus’ sacrifice for my sin.  And thank You for the opportunity to speak into the lives of others about Your love and grace, and Your holiness and righteousness.  Father, help me to mindful of what I do every waking moment that I would honor and glorify You in every thought, word, and deed.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Order vs. Chaos – 1 Corinthians 14:26-33

God Infused Order Within Everything In The Universe

26 What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28 If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God.

29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 30 And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. 31 For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. 32 The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. 33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.

Crazy Chaos

Paul was addressing the use of the spiritual gifts in worship in this passage.  The children of God were eager to use their gifts, but their eagerness tended to cause chaos when they gathered together.  Rather than build up the body, the gifts were causing chaos through cacophony.

Imagine a busy airport with everyone talking to each other.  The noise would have been deafening and confusing.  Or imagine being in a room with two hundred televisions, all set to different broadcasting stations, all at the same volume, all at the same time.  It would be nearly impossible to focus on just one of them with so many other streams of visual and audio information bombarding us, each demanding that we pay attention to them.

Chaos would be the rule.  The author of chaos and confusion is Satan.  God is truth, and the truth does not seek to cause confusion, but clarity in thought.  Truth takes the chaos and puts it into order.  Chaos can drive us crazy.  Truth pulls us out of the maelstrom and places us upon the solid Rock of Jesus, where the buffeting of chaos cannot touch.

Power in Peace

Paul attempted to address this with order in worship.  By limiting the number of people speaking at one time, it would be possible for the body to focus on what was being said, and that would result in the body being built up.  When the body is built up, working together in harmony, and focused upon the singular goal of yielding themselves to the Holy Spirit, order comes out of chaos, and the power of God is manifested through his people acting in unison.

Sovereign Signature

While we might say that these things are good for us as we relate to one another, what about the rest of creation?  Did God deem it proper to include order in the rest of creation? How about the things that exist outside of the physical universe?  Let’s take a look at the universe first.

The Golden Ratio

There is a special number, a ratio, that appears to exist in just about everything.  From the way that DNA spirals, to the way that plants’ leaves grow on the stalk, to the spiral arms of the galaxies, to the formation of crystals, and the spins of subatomic particles, there is a commonality in all of it.  The number is known as the Golden Ratio.  You can see it everywhere you look.  It appears in all of nature.  It is believed that the Golden Ratio may play a part in the human perception of beauty.

God left us a huge clue in both visually observable and non-visually observable (that which is too small to see with the naked eye) nature of all things.  God left us a signature that everything was created with purpose, and that it was the result of an ordered, intellectual pursuit rather than just random happenings.

Hierarchy of Angels

Paul clues us in to the structured order of ranks of angels, in this case, fallen angels:

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

The Trinity

There is structure in the Trinity.  The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are God, yet each one has purpose and responsibility within their relationship to each other.  The following is not an exhaustive list of this order, but a very primitive overview to show that there is order within:

  • The Father oversees and judges
  • The Son creates and redeems
  • The Holy Spirit indwells, empowers, exhorts, consoles, convicts, counsels, exalts and points us to Christ

Each are co-equal as God, but each have different assigned roles.  And in this, there is great order and unity.  There is no dissension in the Trinity, only unity and order.

Course of Collapse

Careful observation of nature shows that there is another order.  There is a universal tendency for all things to move from an ordered state to an un-ordered state.  In other words, all matter moves from order to chaos.  Iron, in the presence of water, will always rust.  Rust, without some extraordinary measures, will never “degrade” back into pure iron and whatever other elements are released.  Bodies decompose after death.  Wouldn’t it be interesting if we poured chemicals into a vat, and slowly the chemicals interacted and formed a new body!

God has designed the universe to have universal, observable laws.  Laws like gravity, inertia, mathematics, and truth.  Each of these, without outside interference, will always give the same answers when they are probed.  Two plus two will always equal four, all things being equal (no outside interference).  Matter is attracted to planets (as opposed to being repelled by them).  An object in motion will stay in motion if there are no other forces exerted upon it.  We accept these as laws, and rely upon their very dependable, repeatable nature.

Imagine what would happen if the Earth no longer orbited the sun.  Imagine what would happen if the laws of inertia and gravity were nullified.  Imagine if gases, like our atmosphere, were to suddenly and without notice, change temperature and volume, with no discernible pattern.  There would be pandemonium and chaos.  Our world, and everything in it, on it, and above it, would be in constant flux.  We would be in constant panic, perishing left and right, with no ability to control or predict how the very things that we rely upon to live would contribute to our eventual, and very swift, destruction.

Love and the Law

If we look at the Law of God, the Law that God gave Moses for the people, each of the Ten Commandments deal with our relationship with others – our interactions with God and each other.  Whether it is obedience to God, or righteous conduct with others, these Commandments should guide our interactions.  Each of them is based in love.  In (agape*) love, there is peace and harmony.  This brings order into our lives.  Love fulfills the law because the law is designed to point to Love as the principle that governs perfect order in the universe.  Love brings order to chaos, and provides the right environment for the flourishing of relationship and conduct between us all.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Does order or chaos occur when I get involved?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You are glorious in all of Your ways.  Please help to bring order to my chaos.  Teach me what I can do to help stand strong in the waves of difficulty that occur when the enemy sows discord and anarchy in people.  Keep me strong, and guard me in all my ways.  Help others to see Your love through the order that occurs when disciples of Christ act in unison.  Help me to be a part of order rather than chaos, and to be yielded to the Holy Spirit as Your Son, Jesus Christ, was yielded to Him when Jesus walked the Earth nearly two thousand years ago.  Thank You, Father, for instilling order in Your creation and Your commands, that I would have structure and stability in my ways.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more? Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?


  • The word agape is one of four Greek words that describe love (agape, eros, philia, storge).  This type of love has three defining characteristics – it is unconditional (no strings attached), sacrificial (requires that the giver make personal sacrifice over self to show love to another), and volitional (an act of the will, not emotion).  This is Godly love – love that is born from the desire to see another person prosper, grow, be nourished, and succeed ahead of our own selfish desire.

Grace of God – John 1:14-18

God Is Full Of Grace

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

Glorious Grace

Since before time began, God was the embodiment of grace.  Before any matter ever existed, grace had always been and was perfected invested in the Lord God Almighty.  Knowing all that would ever transpire, it took God grace to bring it into existence, knowing the pain and hardship that would follow.  God’s grace, as a key part of His perfect and defining character, would be fully on display with the fall of humanity into sin, and the subsequent restoration of man through the life, death, and resurrection of none less than the Son of the Living God.

Angels seek to look into these things, for they have not been the recipient of God’s grace.  As the recipients of such a magnificent and glorious aspect of the character of God, we too should look into His grace throughout time since God sacrificed an animal for the sin of Adam, and gave a final sacrifice for sin through Jesus Christ.

First and Foremost

As an archetype, Jesus was and will always be the first and foremost in everything, for He was the one who, through His voice, brought all of creation into existence.  John the Baptist recognized this, and declared Jesus (his cousin) to be before him, even though John the Baptist was born first into a physical body ,and preached repentance and holiness in preparation for the grace that was to become ours through the perfect and final sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Jesus was not the first person to be awakened from his sleep in death (for more information, read up on the lives and deeds Elijah and Elisha in 1 & 2 Kings), but was the first to be transformed through His resurrection into His post-resurrection, perfected human form.  Christ was perfect and sinless, and therefore deserves to be the first in all.  He has rightly received the title King of Kings and Lord of Lords, for He and He alone did all that the Father desired of Him without ever sinning once.

Grace is Greater

Moses was entrusted with the Law of God, and through him came the other rules through which man may live in relationship with each other and with God.  The law is not grace, but rather a perfect litmus test to show us that everyone who was born as the seed of Adam is in need of God’s grace.  The law merely points out our need – grace fulfills the need.  And it is through the perfect grace of God that we are saved, and not by our own hands, that no one may boast.

Grace is like Bernoulli’s principle and the Law of God like gravity.  Gravity is a power force, but Bernoulli’s principle provides a stronger force to overcome it.  Grace overcomes the law, and as such is much more powerful.  As we set our eyes upon the the beauty of the One who is the embodiment of grace, we should remember that grace triumphs over the law as it is more powerful.

Radical Relationship

John briefly mentions in this passage the relationship between the Son and the Father, indicating that it Jesus is in the closest relationship with the Father.  It is through this amazing relationship that the sacrifice of Jesus that we are able to reap the benefit of God’s grace.  Even now, Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, interceding in prayer for us.  And the glory and the power of grace is being poured out from Heaven upon all who are the recipients of the imputed righteousness of Christ through the incredible relationship that exists between the Father and the Son.

This relationship is so powerful, that we are given the right to become God’s children through adoption.  God is not our foster parent; He is our adoptive Father, fully embracing us as His very own children, to participate in His glory and grace and riches.  For God owns all that He has created, and seeks to share His wealth with His children as an inheritance that is unequaled.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I growing in my relationship with others as in the same way that God seeks to deepen my relationship with Him?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You have prepared everything in advance, and know all things before they happen.  You have foreseen my failures, and still love me and seek after me.  I thank You for your patience, kindness, mercy and grace.  Strengthen me when I fall, and help me to get back up immediately so that I can continue on this arduous journey of life that becomes more difficult with every passing second.  The time of the coming of Your Son approaches rapidly, and I seek to be prepared so that when He arrives, You will find Your house in order, and all that You have requested of me will have been accomplished.  Forgive me for my sins, and grant me Your mercy and grace, of which I need more of every moment that I grow in You, for as You reveal Yourself to me, I realize more and more just how far I am from the embodiment of holiness that is Your perfect character.  This I ask in Jesus’ Holy and Precious Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Character of God – Psalm 119:89-91

God’s Word Endures Forever

89 Your word, Lord, is eternal;
it stands firm in the heavens.
90 Your faithfulness continues through all generations;
you established the earth, and it endures.
91 Your laws endure to this day,
for all things serve you.

Wonderful Word

God’s word endures forever.  His word guides us in our ways.  We can rely on God’s word not changing, for God is truth, and there is no deception in Him.  The steadfast nature of God’s Word helps us to remember that He is faithful as well.  We can depend upon His word to guide us in the way we should go.

The counsel of men is fallible, and can change over time.  God’s word has the perspective of eternity, providing us with a more full understanding of the character and nature of God, as well as understand His righteousness and man’s evil.  The permanence of truth is should be a great comfort to all who seek it and learn from it.

Fully Faithful

God is always faithful.  His faithfulness spans generations, and is eternal.  And even though Heaven and Earth will pass away, God’s faithfulness will not.  God will always keep His word.  When we are tempted to believe that God is not being faithful, we only need to look at the endurance of our planet to remember that God does not change.

Loving Laws

Since God’s word will not pass away, we can always be assured that He will be fulfilling His promises.  God has made us many wonderful promises that He has fulfilled and continues to fulfill today.  His laws guide us in truth and righteousness.  It is only through the law that we recognize our true condition and can turn from sin towards God.  Permanence seems to be forsaken in the world today for the less permanent wants and desires of man.  Nothing in God’s word will pass away until everything is accomplished.  We ignore God’s Holy word at our own peril.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Do I delight in the character of God when I am going through trials?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You do not change like shifting shadows, but are the same yesterday, today, and for eternity.  Help me to remember Your steadfast love as I encounter the many trials I face today.  Strengthen me in the knowledge of Your character and desire to fulfill in Your time all that You have promised.  Keep my heart continually pointed towards Yours as the difficulties of life pull at me, and help me to cry out to You for my every need.  Surround me with Your peace, and guard me in my ways.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?