What is it to receive God’s word? Countless millions have read God’s word. Go back into ancient history; the world before Noah, his wife and family, that world turned right away from God. Soon the descendants of Noah were turning away again, resulting in God confounding human languages at Babel, a word which is significantly translates into Greek as Babylon.
Then God saw in the man Abraham, a man of true faith. God had many dealings with him and we read 2 days ago in 2 Chron 20 the prayer of King Jehoshaphat as he stood before the assembly and made an impassioned prayer to the LORD saying they were “the descendants of Abraham your friend.” [v.7] But the quite common Hebrew word here is almost always translated elsewhere as love and lover! In God’s message through Isaiah he addresses the people as “the offspring of Abraham, my friend” [41 v.8], it is the same Hebrew word.
In a few days we will read Daniel’s desperate “prayer and pleas for mercy … O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him …” [Ch.9 v.3,4] “Love” is the same Hebrew word! Let us meditate on the quality of our love for him – and his Son!
As we read John’s Gospel earlier this month we saw Jesus’ response to those who proudly said, “Abraham is our father” – meriting the retort, “If you were Abraham’s children you would be doing what Abraham did’ ” [8 v.39] It maybe that some of these were hearing Peter’s speech which we read today in Acts 2. The effect of the Spirit-inspired preaching of Peter caused many to be “cut to the heart” [v.37] and – after that – “with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them saying, ‘Save yourselves from this crooked generation’ so those who received his word were baptised” [v.40-41] What an even more crooked generation surrounds us today!
Back to our opening question; “What is it to RECEIVE God’s word?” It is one thing to hear (or to read) it, it is something else to “receive” it! ‘Receiving’ means that God’s word becomes part of (y)our thinking – and, as a result, of your doing.
And so “those who received his word and were baptised …devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” [v.42]. Before Christ returns may this be our devotion more than ever – and may more receive God’s word and also do this. May we do our part in bringing this about.