What effect do the words of the Bible have on you as you read? They vary greatly as we see today, but this causes us to exercise our minds in many different ways. God has recorded many different events and messages so that His word is a lifelong study – indeed, more than a study, a cause of prayerful meditation. Often it is about failure and its causes.

Our Old Testament readings today were both about the dismal end of God’s nation. The final two chapters in 2 Kings detailed the dreadful destruction of Jerusalem and the distress of the people, and Ezekiel 13 is about the ungodliness at the time. God said, “I will make stormy winds break out in my wrath … and great hailstones in wrath to make a full end” (verse 13). The Psalms of David had long been written so some who knew them may have mediated on them. Maybe Psalm 12, which ends, “on every side the wicked prowl, as vileness is exalted …”! Those trying to be righteous would have meditated on the two previous verses, which start, “The words of the LORD are pure words …”!

Compare the prophecies about the destruction of Jerusalem with the forecasts Jesus made of his death and the reaction of his hearers. Luke says, “… while they were all marvelling at everything he was doing, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Let these words sink into your ears: the Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.’ But they did not understand this saying …” (9:43-45). Their minds were focused on “which of them was the greatest” (verse 46)! With that state of mind his words would not sink into their minds!

There is a telling comparison with what comes later in Luke. After his resurrection, two disciples who had walked with an unrecognized Messiah later confessed, “Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?” (24:32). They were in a mood to “let these words sink” into their minds! He had chided them that they “were slow of heart to believe all that the prophets had spoken” (verse 25). It seems to be our nature to believe only what we want to believe – but in looking at all that the prophets have spoken and comparing our world today with the reasons for the destruction of Jerusalem years ago, let us cause the words of Christ and the prophets to sink into our minds, so we can walk with greater faith.