By Most Rev Dr Emmanuel A.S. Egbunu, Bishop of Lokoja
“More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.” (Psalm 19:10, ESV)a
When the Apostles were faced with the first major challenge of the early Church – the discrimination against the Greek speaking widows among them, they came up with a plan to resolve the issue without compromising their assigned role by the Lord Jesus. The way they addressed the community of believers brought out both care and a sense of priority: “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”” (Acts 6:2–4, ESV).
Those who delight in the Word of God and know its worth cannot but devote themselves to it. There are many important things that need to be done. We cannot ignore them, but neither should we neglect our primary responsibilities. Those called to minister the Word of God to His people must take special note of the priorities set out here. But also, in this season of Lent, all Christian believers must make the special effort to devote themselves to the study and meditation on God’s Word. Devotion to any cause requires that other legitimate claims to our time and resources must be sacrificed. When people are devoted to the Word of God, they set time apart, they have a reading plan, they spend time to know what God wants done on earth as it is purposed in Heaven. That then dictates the pattern of their lives and the direction of their prayers. It truly revives the soul.
When people are devoted to the Word of God, they have solid and healthy convictions about this life and the hereafter. It was this conviction that enabled the apostles to remain resolute in their commitment, despite the threat of the religious authorities of their day. Devotion to the Word of God makes people know that no contrary opinion can overrule God’s mandate and commands. Devotion to the Word of God exposes those so devoted to the power of God to help in times of weakness, confusion, and need. That is what makes people stand on the promises that cannot fail, for God cannot fail. His Word supersedes the uncertainties of our undulating economic terrains. The Word of God contains very great and precious promises, backed up by the power of God. It feeds our faith even when the circumstances are contrary; it calms our fears when we are besieged by the forces of evil; it arms us for battle. Joshua the warrior was told to trust the Word – as if to say, even more than his weapons: “you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:8, ESV)
Those who are devoted to the Word of God discover the character of God and know that He cannot lie, no matter what happens. That is why David could say he would fear no evil even in the valley of the shadow of death; and Paul and Silas could sing in the prison. In our days of stress, there can be no better approach that devotion to the Word of God. And can there be a better time to begin than Lent?