I’m amazed by the how God’s word, through his Spirit, moves his people to repentance. Hopefully you can relate to the profound effect of the reading of the word can have on a person. God’s word has power. It shows us who God is and who we are in comparison to him. Through the reading of his word we see our sinfulness exposed and it should drive us to repentance and humility. Hebrews gives us a great picture of the power of the Word to change man.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
Throughout the Old Testament there are many examples of God’s word bringing about humility and repentance in his people, as well as grief over sin, but specifically let’s look at just a few.
First we have King Josiah. In 2 Chronicles, we read that The Book of the Law of God was found and read to him. His reaction is profound.
Then Shaphan the secretary told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read from it before the king. And when the king heard the words of the Law, he tore his clothes. – 2 Chronicles 34:18-19
Is this how you felt when you first heard the Word proclaimed?
Then we read Ezra’s reaction to sin, in the case of intermarriage among the Israelites. God told them not to intermarry.
For they have taken some of their daughters to be wives for themselves and for their sons, so that the holy race has mixed itself with the peoples of the lands. And in this faithlessness the hand of the officials and chief men has been foremost.” As soon as I heard this, I tore my garment and my cloak and pulled hair from my head and beard and sat appalled. – Ezra 9:2-3
Now let’s look at the reading of the word and its effect on the people.
Then the king sent and gathered together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. And the king went up to the house of the Lord, with all the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the priests and the Levites, all the people both great and small. And he read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant that had been found in the house of the Lord. And the king stood in his place 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 his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant that were written in this book. Then he made all who were present in Jerusalem and in Benjamin join in it. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers. – 2 Chronicles 34:29-32
When was the last time the word of God pierced your heart?