What is it to receive God’s word? Countless millions have read God’s word, but that is not the same. Back in ancient history, before Noah, people turned right away from God. Soon the descendants of Noah were turning away again, resulting in God confounding human languages at Babel, a word that is significantly translated into Greek as Babylon.
Then God saw Abraham, a man of true faith. God had many dealings with him and we read two days ago in 2 Chronicles 20 of 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” (verse 7). But the quite common Hebrew word here is almost always translated elsewhere as love and loves! In God’s message through Isaiah he is addressed “the offspring of Abraham, my friend” (41:8), 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 …” (9:3,4). “Love” is the same Hebrew word!
As we read John’s Gospel recently we saw Jesus’ response to those who proudly said, “Abraham is our father” – meriting the response, “If you were Abraham’s children you would be doing what Abraham did” (8:39). It may be that some of these heard Peter’s speech in Acts 2. The effect of the preaching of Peter caused many to be “cut to the heart” (verse 37) and “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” (verses 40,41). What a crooked generation it is today!
Back to our opening question; “What is it to receive God’s word”. It is one thing to hear (or to read), it is something else to “receive”. ‘Receiving’ means that God’s word becomes part of our thinking and doing. And “those who received his word and were baptised and “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (verse 42). Before Christ returns may more receive God’s word and do this.
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