READ: Ezekiel 31-33

THINK: Cold terror gripped the heart of a GI as mortar rounds whistled overhead, rifles cracked, and the Vietcong closed in. Suddenly he felt ripping pains as a bullet tore into his chest and arm. Yet it wasn’t the end for this soldier. According to an article in The New York Times, the bullet was slowed by a New Testament he was carrying in his shirt pocket. Years later, the young man still treasured the blood-stained book with the ragged hole through the middle. He believes it saved his life.

This is a nice story, but it says nothing about the life-saving spiritual help the Bible was designed to give. In Ezekiel 33, we read that the ancient Israelites used the words of the prophets to make them feel good but not to change their lives. They took passages out of context to support their confidence (v.24). They found pleasure in listening to the words of the prophet (v.30), yet the Lord said, “They hear your words, but they do not do them” (v.31). The result? They came under divine judgment.

Then as now, God’s Word is not to be cherished as a good-luck charm or to soothe the mind by bringing temporary relief from anxiety. It was given to be obeyed so that its help would not be just for this life – but forever.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light unto my path.” – Psalm 119:105

We don’t really know the Bible until we obey the Bible.

By: Mart DeHaan in Our Daily Bread

PRAY: Confess the times when you’ve listened to God’s word – while reading the Bible, listening to a sermon, etc. – and allowed it to make you feel good without applying it to your life. Commit to allowing God’s word to direct your paths!

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