“Better is one day in Your courts than thousands elsewhere.” (Psalm 84:10)
I want to talk today about how to get the most out of your Bible reading. And the simplist and most direct way to put it is to invite you into your Bible as though you are taking a slow walk in a beautiful park — one filled with God’s presence.
King David wrote, “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple” (Psa 27:4).
It is an indisputable fact that one cannot seek the Lord, and at the same time be in a hurry. Too often it is the manufactured pace of our lives that detours us from God’s presence, and derails us into life’s many pitfalls. And there it is we find ourselves scurrying about for a “word from God” – desperately flipping the pages in hope of finding some verse that will pop off the page and get us through the day.
Seriously? Is this the best we can do? Why settle for crying out to God from the pits, when you have an open invitation to sit and talk with Him in His courts?
The key to entering His House is to walk slowly, listen carefully, watch attentively, and respond thoughtfully. Many of us rush right past a word from the Lord. Our eyes having been captured by the hazy glow of a distant sparkle, we unwittingly race over the golden nuggets that are strewn all about our pathway; leaving true riches on the road while we chase after all that glitters.
The importance of spending much time with something of great value and beauty is illustrated by a quote from the National Geographic magazine about Carl Sharsmith, an 81 year old guide in Yosemite National Park.
“Carl was back at his tent quarters after a long afternoon with tourists. His nose was flaked white and red with sunburn; his eyes were watery, partly from age but also from hearing again an old question after a half-century of summers in California’s Yosemite National Park. A lady tourist had hit him with a question where it hurt: “I’ve only got an hour to spend at Yosemite,” she declared. “What should I do? Where should I go?”
The old naturalist-interpreter-ranger finally found voice to reply. “Ah, lady, only an hour.” He repeated it slowly. “I suppose that if I had only an hour to spend at Yosemite, I’d just walk over there by the river and sit down and cry.”
A whole lifetime is not long enough to appreciate fully the beauty and learning and value of the Bible. That’s why we must take time to study its truths and make them real in our lives.
My friend, Buddy Owens, put it best – “When you open the Bible do so determined to read for depth, not distance.” Don’t tell yourself you must read this chapter before you rush out the door. Rather, start reading slowly and thoughtfully, looking and listening for that moment when the Spirit of God whispers to your heart and stops you in your tracks. Perhaps it may happen only three verses into your reading – but there, at that intersection, you have met the Lord.
And that is enough.