The Danger of Neglecting God’s Word
What is at stake if the Word of God is either not taught or not heeded or both? Nothing less than God’s judgment.
Today’s reading: Jeremiah 11-13; 1 Timothy 4
17 But if you will not listen,
my soul will weep in secret for your pride;
my eyes will weep bitterly and run down with tears,
because the Lord’s flock has been taken captive. Jeremiah 13:17
15 Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. 16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. 1 Timothy 4:15-16
Jeremiah describes Judah as those who are “accustomed to do evil” (Jeremiah 13:24). They have been taken captive and lost the ability to do good. Doing evil feels normal. They worship idols with no hesitation. They have become useless like rotten underwear. They live under the imminent threat of God’s judgment and their utter humiliation.
Is there any hope? What is needed is a return to God’s covenant, His law. They have neglected it both in the study of it and the doing of it. Centuries later it is still a problem in New Testament times. Paul addresses that subject with Timothy.
Timothy is charged with teaching the church in Ephesus. The goal is not merely that they have an education in the Bible but that they be trained in godliness. Timothy is to model this for them, despite his relative youthfulness. The pastor is called to grow, to make progress in the knowledge and practice of God’s Word. Paul tells him to “immerse” himself in these things.
If you are a pastor or church leader, do those you lead see your progress? Do you challenge them by a life that is wholly given to growth in godliness based on the Scriptures? This same exhortation applies to all believers. It is not hard to be taken captive by false teaching which is only slightly off-track from God’s word. Like Judah, we can become accustomed to do evil until it feels normal. Beware of the life of your soul. Immerse yourself in learning godliness.