“The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.” (Psalms 119:160 ESV)
It is ironic that in our day the concern over “Fake News” has come to the fore. A few weeks ago, news outlets in the UK, USA, and Australia were “taken in” by a news report from a phony news site purporting to cover news from the USA state of Mississippi. It had a story that a couple who had submitted to genetic testing for IVF treatment discovered that they were twin brother and sister. The pair supposedly had been adopted by different families and had unknowingly wed. It seemed to be a legitimate news story. But it wasn’t, and there was a bit of consternation over the fact that established news outlets had been snookered. I said that it was ironic, in that we live in an era where we want the truth to be malleable, to be “relative.” “What may be true for you may not be true for me.” And yet we clamour for truth.
Thank God that we live in a universe where there is “true truth.” God, Who is truth, has communicated His will as to what we are to know and believe about Him and His universe, and what duty He requires of us. We have this sure word communicated to us in the written Word, and especially through preaching of His Word each Lord’s Day. Psalm 119.160 declares “The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever” (ESV). What an honour and privilege to be able to hear “true truth” in a world that is full of lies! But do we treat it as such? Do we value receiving and knowing the Truth?
If you had received a letter with all the necessary bona fides informing you that you were heir to an estate of unimaginable wealth and that you should show-up next Sunday to hear how you could go about securing access to it, you’d be certain to prepare to listen to the instructions. You won’t nod-off, to be sure! Beloved congregation, we have such a promise in Christ that we are heirs of God and co-heirs with Him. A key metric of our congregation’s health is how we go about listening to God’s Word. How ought we then to hear the Word of God when it is read and preached?
Well, we must attend upon it with diligence, ensuring that we’d be in place, ready to hear at every opportunity. We’d arrive early to the worship services. No wandering of thoughts, but a fixed focus. We’d ensure that we had prepared the week prior and especially the previous evening and that morning, through prayer. We might make notes about what we’ve heard to help jog our memory, and we would certainly review the instruction given. We’d “fact check” what we’ve heard in preaching against the written Word. And if it squares with the Word, we would “receive the truth with faith, love, meekness, and readiness of mind, as the Word of God….” We’d review it and think over it, and talk about it with others who also had heard, perhaps in one of our community groups or around the table with family. We’d perhaps memorize key passages of what we’ve heard. And we’d act upon it.
Q. What is required of those that hear the word preached?
A. It is required of those that hear the word preached, that they attend upon it with diligence, preparation, and prayer; examine what they hear by the Scriptures; receive the truth with faith, love, meekness, and readiness of mind, as the Word of God; meditate, and confer of it; hide it in their hearts, and bring forth the fruit of it in their lives.
– Westminster Larger Catechism, Q160.
Take some time to ask yourself the question, “how much do I show that I value the Truth of God’s Word in my life?” It may be that you may need to seek the Lord’s forgiveness in neglect of His Word preached, and go to Him with the prayer that He’d help you to repent and start learning to value His Word. And that, my friends, is a prayer in which He hears, heeds, and will help.