41 Let Your mercies come also to me, O LORD–
Your salvation according to Your word.
42 So shall I have an answer for him who reproaches me,
For I trust in Your word.
43 And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth,
For I have hoped in Your ordinances.
44 So shall I keep Your law continually,
Forever and ever.
45 And I will walk at liberty,
For I seek Your precepts.
46 I will speak of Your testimonies also before kings,
And will not be ashamed.
47 And I will delight myself in Your commandments,
Which I love.
48 My hands also I will lift up to Your commandments,
Which I love,
And I will meditate on Your statutes.
It is easy sometimes for us to drift away from reading the Bible. We get very busy, our kids interrupt our quiet times, our work takes up our free time, or we are in the process of moving or building or whatever. Perhaps we spend a lot of time helping others, and we think that somehow makes up for not reading our Bibles, because our ministry is very important. Maybe we look at that old King James translation with its “thee” and “thou” and archaic verbs, and we get discouraged and simply give up. Then we think, “The pastor will tell me what I need to know on Sundays.”
I think we sometimes forget what a remarkable gift we have in the Bible. Until God had written down the Ten Commandments, no other people had ever had the written words of their gods to look at, to refer to, to read and to learn. Only the One True God took the time and effort to set down for His people the things He wanted them to know. Since that time, kings and governments have governed by decree, and nations have lived and died by written words which are constantly changing. But God’s Word – especially those original Commandments – has stood the test of time and has not changed, because God’s will for His children has not changed.
The story told through God’s Word is one big story told through many smaller ones, just as His greatest commandment is one simple idea we enact in every aspect of our lives. Our lives are every bit as complicated as the stories in the Bible, and yet, just like the people in the Bible, we can expect that God has solutions for our problems. In nearly any case, God’s Word contains something that can show us the way.
We cannot rely on even the most capable pastor to teach us everything found in the Bible. By my own very rough estimation, even if a pastor preached on a different passage every Sunday, in a lifetime of Sundays he or she would still only cover about 50% of the Bible text. Even if you read a daily devotional, you’ll still only get snippets of the text, and so you won’t read the whole Bible that way in your lifetime. We cannot rely on others to tell us what we ourselves need to be learning from the Bible.
I myself have read Alexandre Dumas’ “The Three Musketeers” five times over the last thirty-five years, and each time I see new things in it, appreciate different parts of the story, and I always enjoy reading it. When I read the Bible, I have the same reaction. There are many people who read the whole Bible through several times in their lives – or even once every year! Imagine reading the Bible when you are a young adult, and then again every few years as you get older. Do you really think you will see the same things in youth that you see in middle age? Not very likely. Our terribly complicated lives may determine WHAT we get when we read the Bible, but our lives should not determine WHEN we read the Bible.
Take time every day to read the great gift of God’s Holy Word. Like the Psalmist, trust in His Word, delight youself in His commandments, and meditate on His statutes. Over time, you will come to love reading the Bible just as so many have before.
Our Father in heaven, thank You for sharing Your Word with us. We are so blessed to have access to Your voice through the permanent record of Your acts, Your commandments, Your love and Your will. Teach me something new each day through Your Word, so that I may become more like Your precious Son, Christ Jesus. Amen.