Devotion for February 9, 2024

“Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.” (Revelation 1:3)

We cannot find the truth of God in the way we discovered Antarctica or how Watson and Crick discovered the secrets of DNA. It is a mystery, but not of the Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, or Miss Marple variety. The truth of God belongs to God, and He has given it to Jesus Christ to show His people what will soon take place. Prophecy is not just foretelling but forth-telling. It reveals the truth of the way things really are, as well as how things will be.

We are told that the one who reads aloud the words of the prophecy handed from Jesus to John will be blessed. It is not a superstitious or magical blessing. Studies have shown that reading aloud involves multiple different areas of the brain and helps get words into long-term memory. This sounds very much like “letting the word dwell in you richly” (Colossians 3:16). For much of history, texts were read aloud rather than silently to oneself. Over 4000 years ago in the Middle East, the commonly used words for “to read” literally meant “to cry out” or “to listen”. Reading aloud to one another is even more beneficial because it strengthens emotional bonds between people.

In his other letters, John says there is something special about speaking the gospel face to face — that it brings a joy not known just through reading words on a page (2 John 12; 3 John 13). In his book “Life Together” (1954), Dietrich Bonhoeffer spoke beautifully of the communal act of reading aloud and worship. He reminds us that our lives do not belong to us as individuals but to “the church of the triune God, to the Christian family, to the brotherhood”. God’s word comes by revelation. It is His gift. His word is intended to be heard, with faith, and especially, where possible, read and heard in the company of believers.

Prayer

Lord, let Your Word live in my heart forever. Strengthen my faith to share the Word with everyone around me, so that not only the law that convicts, but the gospel that saves, is heard by all. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Stay encouraged!

Pastor Mike

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