Have you ever experienced how God humbles people? Well, I’m beginning to think that its a trend now in my life. God opens a new journey or lesson for me, I do it or learn it. And then I feel on top of the world. I yap on it( innocently though). I enjoy the ‘limelight’ that comes with the statement, ” I made it mama”. And then the crest of that hill stops being as exciting. I start looking for the next step.
And that is when God comes in smiling saying, ” for I know the plans I have for you”. I smile even widely. This gotta be good. And then Bam! God opens up a Mt.Kenya, while here I was on top of Ngong hills thinking that I made it! God always has bigger and better lessons ahead. I just never think if it when I’m celebrating the one I’m on.
If you’ve read at least 10 random pieces from this blog, you must have seen this statement, ‘ and then I read the whole Bible’. I’ve talked about how that came about on several occasions. I was happy. I knew I had achieved something important to my spiritual life. And that still stands.
Now, if you’ve followed me on Facebook, you’ve also seen some devotions I share from Charles Haddon Spurgeon. I love that man’s interpretation of the word. But above that, one thing has always puzzled me. He makes a whole devotion out of a single line. Not a verse. A line. And that line can come from anywhere. For example, ” and she let down the red cord”. That has always mesmerized me. Like I know preachers have sufficient grace for their calling, but how does he do that? And so I kept on wondering about it after every single devotion.
Months later after completing cover to cover, I was back again. I have been feeling this desire to read the bible again. All of it. I tried starting it just as I did last year. And it has not worked out. Something has been off. Yet the desire to read it has persisted. So I began looking for different ways of reading it.
And it is that search that has led me to how God desires me to read his word. And not just me but all of us. And guess from whose sermon’s I got the direction from? Charles Haddon Spurgeon. My guy. Like God had ordained these steps in such a way that I wouldn’t miss them. He knew if there is a person whose knowledge of the word amazes me, it has to be Spurgeon. So who is best positioned to condemn me and teach me how to read the word correctly? You guessed it right.
So I’ve learnt a few things from Charles Spurgeon’s interpretation of this statement, ” have you not read..?”. Jesus was asking the pharisees condemning his disciples that question. He was asking people who had studied the word of God severally and thoroughly. He was asking men who knew the word inside out, ” have you not read?”. That question felt so personal. I have read the whole bible, yet God is here asking me, ‘ have you not read?’.
So did I read wrong? Yes. How? Reading God’s word isn’t like a textbook, that I read for knowledge. Its my daily bread that nourishes me. So when I read the first time, I read it as a book, to be familiar with it. And sincerely, that was one of my major aims of doing cover to cover within a year. And I did achieve it. But God doesn’t want me to partake of my food like that. By being familiar with it. He wants me to savor it. To delight in it.
So how should we read the word?
1. With the help of the Holy Spirit
The word of God is His means of taking us to the other side of life. Its the boat of transporting us from being just us, to the other side of being more Christ like. So we definitely can’t row this boat alone. You see the way we prepare our spirits when partaking of the Holy communion? More should the preparations be, when going to partake of our daily spiritual foods. I shouldn’t show up from anywhere, hurriedly read my bible, and leave. It should be something I pray about. And invite the Holy Spirit to help me before doing ,even if my devotion lasts only for 10 minutes. Its no excuse to not ask for God’s interpretation of His word.
2. To Understand it.
Have you not read..? This implies that we read but don’t understand the deeper meaning of it. Why was it written there? God intentionally decreed every word that we have in the bible. The Old Testament isn’t just a tale to tell us of how big our God is. Or how hardheaded the Israelites were. Every single verse is food for our soul.
Some verses will be understood easily. Others will require a lot of meditation to be understood. While others, still, will require God himself to place the meaning in our hearts. But unless we understand the word, God shall be asking, ” have you not read..? ” Even after reading the bible a thousand times. And as I explained, only the Holy Spirit can help us understand. So every verse we read, we should seek to understand. Otherwise we haven’t read it.
There are several benefits to reading the word the way God wants us to;
We all know that is one of the major reasons on why we don’t fly to heaven immediately we get born again. Praying for God’s assistance ,then reading the word, then obeying what it says, is a discipline in itself. It allows us to trust in God. Not just with our sins and troubles, but with our daily walk with Him.
It will move us from depending on sermons and other people’s devotions to grow our faith to tapping it directly from the source. From saying ‘I read somewhere…’ , to this ‘verse means this way from my daily devotion’. It will increase our dependence on God. And our fear for Him. And He says that His friendship is for those that Fear Him. And to those ones, He reveals His Covenant. And to those who follow His covenant, He shows His Steadfast love and faithfulness. In simple terms, you become just like Christ.
Imagine the Holy Spirit helping you to meditate upon God’s word? The psalmist talks of several blessing that flow after that. But it’s a discipline that doesn’t come easily for our brains that are used to roaming to wherever they feel like. Our minds are used to activity and chaos. Meditation requires us to still our minds for a while. To concentrate on something specific. And that discipline is one of the things I will acquire when I read the word the way God desires. Plus it will greatly enrich my thoughts. Something I’m in dire need of.
In a flash, I got from thinking I had read the word, to realizing that I’ve barely scratched the surface. But instead of being sad, I’m excited. This is a journey I’m so looking forward to. It promises to bring me closer to God. I definitely will not turn out to be like Charles Surgeon, neither do I desire to, but I now understand how he got revelation over what even a line in the bible means. Its no longer a secret or wonder. And I’m also amazed. That when God says He longs for us, He means it more deeply than I thought.
I’ve also learnt that reading the word is not the end. At first, I thought of reading the bible as a ‘discipline’ in itself. Like one of the activities a Christian is supposed to do to grow spiritually. You know, things like pray and worship God. But now I understand it differently. The word is supposed to take me to God. Its like a passage. It is supposed to allow God to speak to me. Its not an ending to what God has said to me. Its the beginning.
But above all that I’m humbled. Like I thought I had read, until God asked, ” Have you not read..? ” .