Last week I talked about how we listen to God by reading His Word, the Bible. I mentioned some of the things He has “told” me as I read and the fact that it isn’t always deep, theological truths. I was thinking this morning how important those simple things have been to my Christian walk and how those things are brought to my mind to help me get through things much more often than the deeper things I am now learning. In 1Corinthians 3:2 Paul talks about this: (ESV) “I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it….”
God is refining us. The Bible is God’s way of telling us the things He wants us to know. One of the things I find so amazing about this Book is that it speaks to all of us. It has been said that the Bible is so simple a child can understand it yet so deep a theologian can drown in it (author unknown). God will speak to you no matter where you are in your understanding of Him. Just “be still.” Listen to what He is saying to you.
I find it amazing that, the first time I read through the Bible, God showed me things I could understand as a “new reader.” Now, as I read through for the 4th time, I marvel at the things I “missed.” But God is speaking to me differently now. I am maturing in my walk with Him and He is changing the way He speaks to me.
Not only do we need to depend on the Bible to grow as a Christian, but we must learn to depend on it to get through difficult times (also to praise and thank God!). During my struggles, my valleys, the last thing I want to do is open my Bible. I tell myself the same thing I told myself that first night of surrender: “It won’t work….” Sometimes I give in and don’t read God’s Word. Sometimes I do. And I can tell you that valleys are wider and deeper when I don’t. And, again, I am amazed at how the “tone” of God’s word changes depending on what I’m going through.
I want to share one of the things that has been so helpful to me. The 2nd time I read through the Bible, I used a chronological reading plan. I wanted to see how all of what I had read the first time fit together. I realized I was reading the same stories in different books so I couldn’t get a coherent picture of what God was doing in the world. But as I read it chronologically, I saw patterns and a big picture. I began to hear God telling me all kinds of things, but one of the more memorable ones was how He gave me a deeper understanding of the Psalms. Reading chronologically, you read what David was going through when he wrote a particular book or verse. Often when someone would point me to a Psalm for encouragement or to uplift me, it wouldn’t help me much. I would get discouraged because I blamed myself for not seeing what I was supposed to be seeing. Reading David’s thoughts as he hid from Saul brings the verses to life and highlights how leaning on God helped him get through some terrifying events in his life. Reading his continual praise of God is such a good example for us to follow and increases our faith.
Open that Bible! Read it with the mindset that God is sitting right next to you telling you what He needs you to hear.