In Matthew 4:4 Jesus says, “Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
If you go for any period of time without eating, what happens? You get hungry! If you go for a long period of time without eating food, not only would you be hungry but you would also begin to get weak. In the same way that your body needs food, your soul needs God’s Word. If you go for any period of time without it, it hungers! And if you stop feeding on God’s Word for a long period of time, it gets weak.
God’s Word is powerful. It is substance for our souls. I’m sure you’ve seen those commercials on TV where they show pictures of starving children and try to get you to donate money to feed them. Those children are so skinny you can see their rib cage and the definition of their bones. They look this way because they haven’t eaten properly in a long time. I wonder what we would see in ourselves if we had the eyes of Christ and could see past the physical and look at the spiritual?
Could it be that we are starving for God’s Word?
Read 2 Chronicles 34:1-13. Judah, the southern kingdom after Israel split into two (see 1 Kings 12), was in a cycle of having bad kings followed by good kings, followed by more bad kings. The kingdom of Judah continued to go back and forth between following the Lord and not following the Lord. In 2 Chronicles 34, Josiah becomes king of Judah. He was essentially a good king.
Now read 2 Chronicles 34:14-18. During Josiah’s reign, he commanded the people to clean out and renovate the temple. While the renovation was going on, one of the priests found the Book of the Law of the Lord. Essentially, they stumbled across the Word of God, yet they don’t really know what it is.
Here’s the irony. These were God’s people (they knew that), yet they didn’t even know God’s Word existed. They had no idea what this book was. It had been lost and collecting dust for so long they didn’t even know it was missing. On top of that, it was discovered by a priest, who of all people should have known about this book. To make things even more ironic, God’s Word, had been lost in God’s temple (the central location of their religion). God’s Word had been lost amidst their religion. God’s Word had been buried beneath the clutter of their busy, false, and essentially superficial religion.
Let’s revisit the illustration of what happens to our bodies when we don’t eat. The first few days without food are terrible. Your stomach hurts and your body craves nourishment. After 3-4 days, your stomach muscles begin to shut down and you don’t really feel the hunger pains anymore. That’s almost exactly what’s happened here. They had gone so long without feeding on God’s Word, they didn’t even realize it was missing. Their spiritual stomach muscles had shut down. So, after years of not feeding on God’s Word, Josiah opens it up and begins to read.
Read 2 Chronicles 34:19-21. As soon as Josiah heard God’s Word, he hungered for more.
Read 2 Chronicles 34:26-27. When Josiah heard and read God’s Word, he humbled himself. The closer we draw to God through His Word, the more we recognize how small, weak, lame, and sinful we are in comparison to how huge, great, righteous, holy and awesome God is.
Read 2 Chronicles 34:29-33. When Josiah read God’s Word, he and all the people turned away from their sin and turned toward God’s call.
Lastly, read 2 Chronicles 35:1. Passover was a festival celebrated every year to remember what God had done for Israel (see Exodus 11-12). Ultimately God used this event in Exodus to prepare the people for Jesus, the promised Messiah. It was the blood of the lamb covering the doors of the people that saved them from death. It is the blood of the Lamb covering our hearts that saves us from eternal death (Revelation 12:10-11). You see this story developing in Exodus and you see it coming to total fulfillment in Revelation. When Josiah read God’s Word, his attention was turned to God’s power to rescue His people from their sin.
Could it be that you are starving for God’s Word? Here are 4 questions we can use to determine if we’re potentially starved.
- Do you hunger more and more for God’s Word? If you don’t, it could be a sign that your spiritual stomach muscles have shut down.
- Are you getting lower and lower? The more we feast on God’s Word, the more we see how huge God is and how small we are.
- Is your conviction to turn away from sin and turn toward God’s call growing stronger?
- Are your heart and mind becoming more focused on Jesus Christ? Everything in God’s Word ultimately points to God’s power to rescue His people from their sin through Jesus Christ. If our compass is pointing toward anything else, we’re likely starving for God’s Word.
Based on those 4 questions, are you starving for God’s Word?
Austin Wadlow serves as the college pastor at First Baptist Church in Denton, TX. He teaches at a weekly Bible study called Overflow (overflowdenton.org) as well as for other camps and retreats. You can connect with Austin via Twitter: @austinwadlow