We all have things we treasure, love, care deeply about. Things we would deeply miss if we lost them. For some it’s people. For others it’s a hobby or career. For children it may be their favorite toy. Each of us, Kings, Paupers and everyone in between, has a treasure our heart longs for.
King David had many things that he loved. Consider the relationships, wealth and power of a King. David had many wives whom he cared for. His Kingdom was full of riches from around the known world. He had the power to command anyone in his Kingdom to do nearly anything he desired. King David had all that the world could offer, yet, in the Magnum Opus of the greatest hymn writer, (Psalm 119) all earthly treasure faded into the background. His heart overflowed for his greatest love.
If you don’t have time to read the whole chapter right now, just read through these excerpts:
I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
[ Nun ] Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
My zeal consumes me, because my foes forget your words.
I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words.
I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil.
My tongue will sing of your word, for all your commandments are right.
In these few verses, it’s clear that David clings to God’s Word for guidance and sanctification. He delights in God’s Word like his mouth delights in good food. That his hope is in God’s Word. That his love for God’s Word fills him with so much joy that he can’t help by sing about it. For David, the Word of God was so much more than a mere book. For Him it was the very breath of God, bringing his soul back to life. Illuminating the darkest places of His heart.
We have grown numb
When I read David’s shameless emoting about God’s Word, it magnifies the deadness in my own heart towards the object of David’s affection. How often I roll out of bed and grumpily open God’s Word to check a box on my to-do list. How often has someone shared with me how God’s Word has spoken to them, and I smile, but, in my heart, I just want to do anything else. How many times do I come to the end of a day and know that my soul needs more, yet I want nothing more than to fall asleep.
Apparently I am not alone. According to a recent poll 19% of people who believe that the Bible is the actual or inspired word of God read the Bible 4 times per week or more. So 81% of people who believe they hold a special revelation from God in their hands don’t engage with it regularly.
The root cause
The reason we are so cold to the Word of God is that we have a worship problem. We all have 24 hours in a day, and we all choose to spend that time based on what our hearts want most. Sadly, if we are not engaging in God’s word daily, that means that everything we spend time doing is something we love more than God’s Word. (Luke 6:43-45)
So just pull up my boot straps and read it, right?
We can’t muster up a love of God’s Word by simply reading it more. Reading the Word in our own power and our own strength will profit us nothing. (Psalm 127:1-2) The Bible is not a magical book. Reading the words on the page alone won’t change us. We need something more.
The better way.
Invite the Holy Spirit to speak through his Word. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would speak to us through God’s Word. (John 16:13-14)
Get Help. Now that we are relying on the Spirit and not ourselves, we can open God’s Word and start reading. There are a ton of free and inexpensive resources available to get more out of your time in the Word including:
Youversion: This was one of the first Bible apps and is still the most popular. It has some great reading plans to guide you. I’m currently going through the ESV Study Bible plan because it’s a great mixture of Old and New Testament readings each day. Josh is currently listening (audio version in the Bible app) to the M’Cheyne one year reading plan.
Commentaries: There are very smart people who have studied the Bible for a lifetime who share their thoughts on many books of the Bible. Listening to their interpretations can help illuminate the Scripture for you. As you study a book, ask your MC leader for recommendations of good commentaries.
Your Pastor/Elder/MC leader: If you want to make your MC Leader’s day, tell them that you want help studying Scripture. Any Pastor who loves the church God has put in his care will be excited to help you, or even study the Bible with you.
Preaching at Sunday Gatherings: In our church we regularly preach through books of the Bible. That that opportunity to study the same book. Get a commentary for yourself and read it. Learn along with your Pastor.
Share God’s Word in Community: A good meal that is shared with friends tastes sweeter. Likewise, when you find a great treasure in God’s Word, sharing it with the family enhances your enjoyment of it. Share what the Holy Spirit teaches you with your Missional Community. The Holy Spirit may want to use you to teach the same Word you received to someone else.