Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Be a hearer. And a doer. And a hearer.

"Blessed is he who reads 
and those who hear the words of this prophecy, 
and keep those things which are written in it"
Revelation 1:3

I want you to think, for a minute, about John, the author of Revelation.  Picture an old man, painstakingly scribbling on parchment of some sort.  He was writing down a vision, and if you've ever tried to describe a dream to someone, I think that will give you an idea of how hard it must have been for John to put into words what he had seen. 

I wonder how he felt about writing it down.  I wonder if it was hard, or if it just flowed out of him, all the details he remembered.  And I wonder if he had any idea of the long-lasting impact of what he was writing.  Seeing the vision he saw must have been a tremendous blessing for him, but his responsibility had only begun.  He still needed to "do".

In John's day, the Word of God had to be read to the people; that was the only way they were going to hear it.  Today we have the blessed privilege of reading for ourselves, although to be honest, I think sometimes that makes the hearing harder.  I can read a passage, seeing every word I read, but still go away not really having "heard" any of it.  Today's highlighted verse is a promise, but also a warning to me, to not take the Word of God lightly.

On the day he died, Moses spoke to the Israelites, as they stood ready to cross over the Jordan River to the Promised Land.  It's in Deuteronomy 32 and it's called the Song of Moses.  I recommend you read it, or re-read it. 

Upon completion of this song, Moses spoke to the people.  These are verses 45 through 47:

"Moses finished speaking all these words to all Israel, and he said to them:  Set your hearts on all the words which I testify among you today, which you shall command your children to be careful to observe ~ all the words of this law.  For it is not a futile thing for you, because it is your life, and by this word you shall prolong your days in the land, which you cross over the Jordan to possess."

This is a great verse for new beginnings... for when you're ready to begin the doing part of being a believer.  When we begin a new chapter in life, we are often trembling with excitement, or quaking with fear.  But if the steps we take are in obedience to Him, then there are promises.

But what I love about stepping out to do something for Him, is the knowledge that it's really not about what I'm doing.  He chooses us to do hard or scary things for Him because we love Him, and because we are teachable.  I love that about Him.  Doing things for Him shows love to others, brings Him glory, and puts us in obedience to Him.  Win, win, win.

You hear God's call on your heart when you step into serving Him, but that only happens because you responded to His tugging on your heart in the first place.  He began something in you that very first day you believed in Him, and He continues it every day after.  And as Philippians 1:6 tells us, "you can be confident that He who has begun a good work in your will be faithful to complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." 

That means both undertaking a job for Him, but also continuing our own learning.  Taking on a role of leadership doesn't make you any less a follower.  Taking on a role of doer doesn't make you any less a hearer.

We must not take lightly the opportunity to serve, but it also shouldn't take the place of our continued learning.  The Book of Revelation comes with the promise of blessing for those who hear it and keep those things written in it, but the Bible itself comes with the promise of sanctification.  In John 17:17, Jesus prays to His Father:  "Sanctify them by Your truth; Your Word is truth." 

And so He will.


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