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For as long as I can remember we have been praying for reformation and revival in the church. While I have longed to see the Lord answer that prayer I have also felt the distant and intangible nature of the request. What could we actually do to help accomplish that? If I pray that God will help me bless my children today, I see a thousand ways I could, enabled by His grace, do just that. But when I prayed for revival it was always a far away prayer with no immediately visible work. There was no obvious plow named revival that we could collectively put our shoulders to.
I don’t know when or why I started to assume that reformation and revival would lead to people being in the Word. I suppose because you always see vibrant Christians excited about their Bibles, it is easy to assume that the vibrant faith drove them to a reading of the Word. But since the women in our church started the Bible Reading Challenge a couple years ago I have learned my mistake. I had been seeing things backwards.
The Word, we know by its own testimony, is living and active.
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
What happens when Christians are coming to the Word regularly? They are being worked over, regularly, by the Spirit and by the Word. We have seen with our own eyes that simply encouraging Christians to be in the Word — urging one another to daily reading — has effected powerful change. How could it not? And why are we all surprised? When a Christian reads the Word, they are convicted and encouraged and shaped and taught and exhorted and sustained all at once. As they respond to that, what is happening in their life is revival. When a community becomes characterized by that responsiveness, it is reformation. Reformation and revival so accessible – almost at our fingertips – with so many good things for us to do!
We think that we have already seen what happens when Christians everywhere are reading their Bibles, and so even those of us who esteem the Word, underestimate it wildly. We have seen a world in which Christians have access to their Bibles, but are only dabbling in them. We have seen a table overflowing, but guests with eating disorders and on hunger strike.
The mercy of this table is so profound. It is not only perfect food, it is eternally perfect food. It is not going bad, even though many have refused or only pretended to eat. There is food enough here for the whole world, can we but get them to come and eat it with us!
In 2 Kings there is that wonderful section where Hilkiah finds the book of the law, and gives it to Shaphan. And Shaphan reads it. Shaphan then takes it to the King and shows it to him, then reads it aloud to him. When the king heard the law he tore his clothes. The king responds to the Word, and ends up having “the words of the Book of the Covenant which had been found in the house of the Lord” read aloud to all the people.
“And the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant.” – 2 Kings 23:3
If ever there was a revival, this was one. If ever there was a land full of idols and wickedness, this was one. If ever there was a situation we could learn from, this is it. The Word of God is enough to change really unbelievably bad situations. This was a culture that was practicing child sacrifice (23:10), ritual perversions in the house of the Lord (23:7) and idolatry of the worst kinds that had taken over the land. Is there anything familiar about this situation? A land that ought to know better that has forgotten the Word?
“So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” – Isaiah 55:11
But what do we think that God’s Word will so effectively accomplish and prosper in?
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Just imagine with me what it would mean in the world today if every Christian was “thoroughly equipped” for every good work. Doesn’t that just cause your heart to soar? Can you see with me that God has abundantly provided for us the means to change the world? This thing that we often overlook – but we have free and unhindered access to?! We underestimate the transforming power of the Word so much that the enemy has had easy work keeping us from it.
We don’t have a king to tear his clothes and call all the people together. But we have other means available to us that they did not have then. What would happen if Christian women everywhere decided to use whatever means we have, including social media, to simulate a public reading of the Word? What if we decided to stop underestimating the power of the Word, and instead devoted ourselves to be readers of it, and to make hearers of it?
We are going to attempt to do just that this summer – inviting the whole world to simply read the New Testament with us. Page by page, hearing what God has for us. Faithful old Bible readers alongside baby Christian Bible readers, hand in hand with new mothers, busy fathers, children and teenagers- and every friend, and neighbor, and acquaintance we can get to join us. All together, on the same page, every day, to hear the Word and let it change us.
We so hope you will join us! Spread the Word. Pass the Salt. It’s a #samepagesummer