“When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes” 2 Kings 22:11-12
I was speaking with a friend the other day who had spent some time as a missionary in Nepal. After looking through pictures of his trip to Mt. Everest, he began recounting a story of one of the ladies he had met during the course of his trip. One of the things he did over there was distribute Bibles in Nepalese to people and he remembers being amazed by this woman’s excitement in receiving a Bible. As he talked with her a bit longer, she asked if she could show him her old bible. Of course he said yes and she went and grabbed a few pieces of parchment with Nepalese written on it. As he looked closer he saw tear stains and countless notes written all around the main text. Due to past persecution, Nepalese Christians didn’t have more than a few sheets of the Bible at a time, and they would just read them over and over again, and then trade them with each other. My friend was very humbled and amazed by the power the Bible had in this woman’s life, the tears that had been shed over this fraction of Scripture that she treasured for so many years. Josiah, after hearing the Book of Law, tore his clothes. He was so moved and convicted by the word of God, that he ripped his clothes, read it before everyone in Judah, and then overtook the greatest reform in all of Israel. As I read this passage and thought about the story of the Nepalese woman and her parchment Bible pages, I recognized a significant absence in my life. I can blame the over-saturation of Scripture in America, the bottom line of Bible publishing companies, the critical and over analysis of biblical higher criticism. I can blame all of those things and I wouldn’t be wrong to recognize the effect these things have had on the power of God’s word in the West. But I would be wrong to blame them. God’s word lacks weight in my life because God lacks weight in my life. I can read the Bible and walk away relatively unchanged for the same reason that I can receive the Holy Spirit through the death of Christ and the will of the Father and be relatively unchanged for a long period of time. I don’t fear God, not in the way that I should and therefore he doesn’t have weight in my life. It seems one of the major sins of Western Christians, myself included, is the lack of the fear of God, and this realization has been utterly devastating to me. I want to weep as I read the Scriptures, cherish it with my life, study it with my whole heart, and live what it says, because its author is deserving of my fear.
Lord Jesus, I fear you because your wrath is real, your power beyond comprehension, and your presence overwhelming. Let your word have weight in my life!