Never Even Missed It
by Pastor John Fredericksen
One Sunday, a Christian family of four decided to take two different cars to church. After the service was over, the young boy rode home with his mom while the eight-year-old girl rode with dad. The father and daughter decided to stop at a furniture store to look for a living room set. After a while the dad got in his car and drove home. After a few minutes in the house, the mother asked, “Where’s Emily?” Until that question, the father had not realized that he left the store without his daughter and drove all the way home without her. Despite the solitude in the car, he never missed her until after arriving home. All the way back to the store, the ten-year-old brother, who was very angry with his father, kept asking his dad, “How could you have forgotten my sister?”
It is a simple reality that many times the most important things in life are simply forgotten. During the years of Israel’s many kings, a pattern of turning away from the Lord to false gods persisted. But that changed with one king. Once King Josiah ascended the throne, “he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord” (II Kings 22:2). “And like unto him there was no king before him, that turned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might” (II Kings 23:25). Josiah became a spiritual reformer, ridding the land of false worship, sinful practices, and leading the nation back to the proper, exclusive worship of Jehovah.
This spiritual revival began at the beginning of Josiah’s reign and was built on one primary incident. Josiah instructed trusted people to make needed repairs in Israel’s house of worship, the temple, which had been neglected for many years. In the process of making these repairs, Hilkiah the high priest made an important discovery. He reported back to King Josiah, “I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord” (II Kings 22:8). Amazingly, God’s chosen and blessed people, Israel, had been without God’s Word for decades. It had been absent in their times of worship, in their homes, in their conversations, in their work place, and in their lives, AND NOBODY EVEN MISSED IT.
Over and over in the Old Testament, the Lord instructed Israel to build their lives around the Scriptures. They were to write portions of it on their door posts, read it daily, diligently teach it to their children, and make it a topic of conversation as they went about their day (Deut. 11:18-20). How could it be that God’s own people could be without God’s Word and not even miss it? No doubt the answer is through a growing neglect of the Scriptures, disinterest in spiritual things, and preoccupation with temporal things, resulting in a cold callousness toward the Lord. It’s a dangerous pattern and a dangerous place to be.
Could we today, who know Christ as Savior, come to a place where we have little or none of God’s Word in our lives and never even miss it? Absolutely,and it happens all the time. The same pattern that plagued Israel persists today. We are easily distracted and preoccupied with the temporal distractions of this world. Neglecting time in the Scriptures, or not applying it to our daily lives and conversations, can lead to a growing disinterest in the things of the Lord. It may be easier to see this in someone else’s life than in our own, but this danger is very real for all of us.
What should each of us do to avoid this from happening to us? The first thing is to be awakened to our need to make God and His Word preeminent in our lives. Just as Israel was to read it daily, constantly discuss it, and make it the central part of their worship, so it should be for us. This principle is just as needed today as it was for Israel. The Apostle Paul tells us to “hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love” (II Tim. 1:13). God’s Word in our lives is our life line to good spiritual health so “don’t leave home without it” and make it a topic of conversation with family and Christian friends. Finally, don’t neglect the place of worship where God’s Word is rightly divided and where the primary doctrines of grace are recognized to be found in the letters of the Apostle Paul.