Jeremiah 17 goes to the root of the problem in society. The Prophet Jeremiah is told by God to go and stand at the entrance by which the kings of Judah and the people go towards the Temple. He is told to cry out, “Shema Davar YHWH, Hear the Word of the LORD.” It is rather sad that the kings and the people had forgotten what it was to “Shema’, hear” the Word of the LORD. The Book of Deuteronomy required that before the king was installed as king, he had to write with his own hand a copy of the Torah. This was a very unique injunction, not required of any of the other kings of nations around them. He had to then make sure that he read from it every day, so that everything that he did was under the guidance of the Torah, the Word of God (Deuteronomy 17:18-20). This essential command obviously was not maintained. The young prophet Jeremiah discovered this, when the spiritual, social, and economic condition of Jerusalem had hit rock bottom. At this time, the 18-year-old king Josiah asked for the repair of the Temple of God. The repairers suddenly discovered something called the “Book of the Torah.” This was obviously a great shock for the religious and regal establishment. “Oy weh! There is something called the Torah!” they exclaimed. Josiah, the eager young king, asked for the reading of this thing called the Torah. On hearing the Word of the LORD, he profusely repented, and initiated a nationwide repentance and revival. (2 Kings 22; 2 Chron. 34)
Jesus the Messiah found the same kind of situation during his time. The people had been starved of the Word of the LORD. The religious leaders- the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Zealots, the Judeans, etc. had taken the common people into various paths which had no relationship to the Word of the LORD. To these people, Jesus the Messiah says, “I AM the bread of Life . . . Do not labor for food that perishes, but for food that remains to eternal life, the food which the Son of Man will give you.” (John 6:35, 27). This is the Living Word, the Logos, the Torah, who alone can cause more than the revival, which took place during the early days of Josiah and Jeremiah.
Let us pray that during these days of Lent, more than the focus on starving, we would focus on feasting on the Word of the LORD- the written Word and the Living Word. This Word alone can cause a deep, and enduring revival.
Rev. Dr. R. Boaz Johnson, Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies