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November 2020

 

         Life-Changing

“And Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, ‘I have found the Book of the Law in

the house of the Lord.’ And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it.”

II Kings 22:8

            Everyone experiences life-changing moments over the course of their days; moments which we look forward to and/or look back on with fondness; moments that maybe changed the trajectory of our story. For example, the day of one’s graduation from high school or college, the day we get engaged and married, the moment we purchase a new car or house, the moment a child is born into the family, the day you get that job you’ve worked toward for years. All these moment and events are life-changing, to say the least.

            Speaking of life-changing moments, I recently read about a life-changing moment that Martin Luther experienced while a student at the University of Erfurt. No, I’m not referring to his lightning bolt experience (though that is certainly notable). Rather, I’m referring to another event that would play just as important a role in his life. This event took place in 1501 while studying in the library at Erfurt. There he came upon a copy of the Latin Bible, which, as one writer says, “He had never seen before.” “There,” says the same writer, “he observed with astonishment that this book contains many more texts, epistles, and gospels, than were usually explained in the homilies, or from the pulpits in churches. As he turns over the Old Testament, he meets with the history of Samuel and his mother Anna, which he reads hastily through with great joy and delight; he begins to wish from his whole heart that our good God would give him some day such a book to be his own.” For, as he said himself, “I would have read through the whole book, but had no opportunity.”

            Here Luther found himself, in that moment, captivated by God’s Word, which would continue to captivate him the rest of his days as he moved from university, to cloister, and back to university; this time as a teacher of theology.

            Yes, discovering God’s Word and reading that Word was a life-changing moment for Luther. In fact, it was this event that would later lead to his rediscovery of the gospel, to his faithful stand before an emperor, to his translating and publishing a Bible in German so that, just as he once wished in that quiet library at Erfurt, others could have this book as their own.

            In II Kings 22, we read the account of Hilkiah, the High Priest during the reign of Josiah, discovering a copy of the Law (Torah) in the temple. Like Luther, he hadn’t seen this before, and, like Luther after him, it was life-changing.

            Each week we have the opportunity to hear God’s Word; this precious Word that isn’t just a quaint message, but is living and active and able to enliven our hearts and souls. Each week we have opportunity to experience a life-changing moment, a moment when God comes to us and speaks. So, like Luther, like Hilkiah, like Josiah; as we discover this Word anew each week, may we let it captivate our hearts and change our lives.

Pastor Gideon

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