Okay, one more ODJ devotional for this month:
read > Colossians 4:2-18
After you have read this letter, pass it on to the church at Laodicea so they can read it, too. And you should read the letter I wrote to them (v. 16).
Paul’s closing remarks indicate how his letters were read. There were no personal copies for believers to take home and read with their morning coffee. Instead the church gathered to hear one person read the letter out loud, and when they were done they copied it by hand before sending it on to another city. For the average Christian, the Word of God was heard with their ears before it was seen with their eyes.
We thank God that we can read His Word whenever we want, but we must not neglect the unique power that is present when the church gathers to hear it read aloud. When we hear God’s Word we realize that:
1. His Word is alive. God’s Word is not inert marks on a page but is “alive and powerful” to make things happen (Hebrews 4:12). God speaks, “Let there be,” and the universe flashes into existence (Genesis 1:3). God says, “Lazarus, come out!”, and a dead man stirs to life (John 11:43). God declares, “Look, I am making everything new!,” and His words swish around the swill of corruption and spit it out of creation (Revelation 21:5).
God’s Word performs what it describes. Martin Luther said it’s important to read God’s promise of forgiveness (1 John 1:9), but we especially believe it when we hear that promise announced to us: “Go in peace and sin no more” (John 8:11). This power of God’s spoken Word is why the sermon is the centerpiece of our worship services.
2. His Word is life. We let the Word of God that we hear interpret what we see. Our eyes tell us we are habitual sinners; God’s Word declares we are saints (1 Corinthians 1:2). Our eyes tell us our dead brother or sister is never coming back; God’s Word says their gravesite is resurrection ground (1 Corinthians 15:50-58).
We trust our ears, not our eyes. And we gather often with God’s people to hear more.