Atlanta Braves first baseman Matt Olsen’s grand slam made quite a splash when it cleared PNC Park and landed in the Allegheny River in a 14-2 Braves win over the Pirates on Aug. 24. Olsen became the 45th major leaguer to hit a home run into the river, but was the first Atlanta Brave to do so.
Pittsburg’s public safety officials decided retrieving the ball would make a good training exercise for its divers, so using radar equipment, divers found the ball on the river bottom a few days later. I haven’t heard if it made its way back to Atlanta, but certainly Olsen will cherish this treasured memento.
In 2 Chronicles 34, we read about the recovery of another hidden treasure. In his eighteenth year as king of Judah, Josiah began repairing the temple in Jerusalem. In the process, a priest found the Book of the Law in the temple. Apparently, this scripture was misplaced during a period of neglect and unfaithfulness or had been purposefully hidden from invading armies and then forgotten.
Can you imagine forgetting the Word of God? Can you imagine the excitement Josiah must have felt when this Book of the Law was brought to him? Shaphan the Scribe read this treasure to the king and hearing God’s Word deeply touched Josiah (2 Chronicles 34:18).
Too often we neglect the Bible. The late Dick Hall, a leading Georgia Baptist pastor in his day, told about preaching a revival and making visits with the host pastor. They visited in the home of a senior lady who shared her troubles with Hall.
Hall asked her to get her Bible so he could read words of encouragement with her. She got up, walked into the next room, rambled around, opened and closed drawers and finally returned with her family Bible covered in dust. Here was this lady who needed a timely word from scripture, but obviously she had not opened her Bible in ages. All the while, the treasure of biblical truth was readily available, but she neglected it.
She’s not the only one. According to the 2022 “Annual State of the Bible Report” provided by the American Bible Society, Bible reading has dramatically decreased over the last year. The findings come from a survey conducted in January by ABS in collaboration with the University of Chicago.
“In the past year, nearly 26 million Americans decreased or stopped interacting with scripture. Since 2018, approximately 47-49% of American adults have been identified as Bible users; this year, however, showed a 10-percent decrease,” the report revealed. These folks are missing out.
Here are ten reasons to treasure God’s Word:
1. The Bible teaches us about God. God reveals Himself to us on the pages of scripture. We gain insight into His nature, His activity, and His purposes.
2. The Bible points people to Jesus. “Our research clearly shows that when people read the Bible and apply its message, it brings them hope and introduces them to full life in Christ,” said John Farquhar Plake of the ABS.
3. The Bible reveals God’s guidance. Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”
4. The Bible nourishes our spiritual lives and helps with spiritual progress. I Peter 2:2 reads, “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word that you may grow thereby.”
5. The Bible keeps us from sin. Psalm 119:11 reads, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
6. The Bible convicts us of sin. Reading God’s Word is not just for gaining information; it can bring about spiritual transformation. Read about King Josiah’s reaction to hearing scripture read in 2 Chronicles 34:18-21.
7. The Bible reveals God’s purpose for my life. God’s ultimate desire is a personal relationship with His Son Jesus Christ (John 3:16).
8. The Bible gives us delight. Describing the person who walks closely with God, the author of Psalm 1writes “His delight is in the law of the Lord” (Psalm 1:2).
9. The Bible gives God’s wisdom. God’s wisdom is often different from the world’s wisdom. Read the book of Proverbs for practical counsel.
10. The Bible reminds us of God’s loving care. Numerous scriptures encourage and comfort, such as Psalm 23 about the Shepherd caring for His sheep. The Lord is our shepherd, and we are the sheep in his tender care.
The children’s song got it right. The Bible really is a treasure book that we should truly treasure.
David Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Georgia. Visit www.mcdonoughroad.org for information and online viewing options. Visit www.davidchancey.com to see Chancey’s books and other writings.
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