You name it

2 Kings 22:11-20
We’re going to need better excuses.

I’ll share one with you that I’ve heard. From time to time, someone will tell me what keeps them from reading the Bible is “all those hard names.” They say, “It’s so confusing.” Let me affirm part of that to you. The longest word in the Bible is a name: Mahershalalhashbaz. And while most names in the Bible aren’t nearly that long, some can be difficult to pronounce, at first.

What I’ve learned is unfamiliar names don’t keep us from watching any of our favorite sports. Some of our favorite celebrities have names that can be confusing. I love The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but don’t ask me anyone’s name. The same goes for Star Wars, Harry Potter and even the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So, I’m one of those people who has a hard time with names, too.

But that’s not what keeps us from engaging with scripture.

It’s not even a lack of understanding. You understand more than you realize (or admit). Yes, there’s always more to learn about the Bible’s stories. At the same time, we can come away from a text and see for ourselves what is happening even at first glance.

When someone found the book of the law, they made sure King Josiah heard it. Not that he heard about the finding, but that he heard it read. Apparently, God’s law hadn’t been read in public in sixty years. What was Josiah’s response? He tore his clothes.

Why did he do that?

It was a sign of grief and repentance because he understood. Josiah realized, just from the reading, that the people of God weren’t being led by God’s law. He was their leader. If the people were going to be led by God, it would start with him. Let that sink in. The religious reform we associate with Josiah began with one hearing of God’s word.

Notice what he did next.

The king directed his officials to inquire of the Lord about what he heard. This isn’t a perfect parallel to hearing a sermon, but Josiah asked for an interpretation. While he knew there was more, his first hearing of God’s word proved quite capable of moving his heart.

Most of us are just as capable of having the same experience. Not knowing how to pronounce a name shouldn’t keep us from that.

Charles Spurgeon once said, “Visit many good books, but live in the Bible.” What a helpful illustration. Have you ever moved? Lived somewhere different? When you do, you have to learn to move about in your new place. What about as our neighborhoods and communities change? We learn where things are. We figure out where we need to go and how to get there.

You might even learn new store or street names.

Such is learning the Bible.

Stay blessed…john

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John Fletcher

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