“I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.” (Job 23:12)
We all understand the importance of eating —DUH.
Apart from the spiritual discipline of fasting, or the occasional hunger strike of a confined political prisoner, no one would deliberately fail to eat — for to do so is to court certain death. Yet, while we don’t deny ourselves our ” necessary food” (as Job describes it), we nevertheless do go long periods of time without spending quality time reading and reflecting upon Scripture. This is disastrous beyond imagination.
Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” And elsewhere He taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” In other words, receiving God’s Word into our lives every day is even more important to our over all well-being than food is to our body. This is the Meal we never tire of eating…and simply cannot live without.
The prophet Jeremiah felt this way — “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart”(Jeremiah 15:16). Shouldn’t we have the same experience? Indeed, we should; but for some odd reason or another – we don’t. Why is that?
There is something inside us that is not only inattentive, but dismissive of the Bible. And this condition is not only widespread in our own day, but has been a problem for many believers throughout history.
Sir Thomas Fuller, an English Churchman and prolific writer wrote in 1650, “I discover an impudent laziness in my soul. For when I am to read a chapter in the Bible, before I begin I look where it ends. And if it ends not on the same side, I cannot keep my hands from turning over the leaf, to measure the length on the other side; if it swells to many verses, I begin to grudge. Surely my heart is not rightly affected. Were I truly hungry after heavenly food, I would not complain of meat. Scourge, Lord, this laziness of my soul; make the reading of your Word, not a penance, but a pleasure to me; so I may esteem that chapter in your Word the best which is the longest.”
That’s a far cry from our fast food drive through mindset of today! Friend, may I encourage you to (figuratively speaking) park, get out of your car, walk in, sit down and take your time? Don’t rush by the Bible on your way to that which you suppose is more important. The great George Mueller wrote, “The vigor of our spiritual life will be in exact proportion to the place held by the Bible in our life and thoughts. I solemnly state this from the experience of 54 years. The first 3 years after conversion I neglected the word of God. Since I began to search it diligently the blessing has been wonderful. Great has been the blessing from consecutive, diligent, daily study. I look upon it as a lost day when I have not had a good time over the word of God.”
I tell you what. Why not stop right now and read slowly Psalm 1:1-6, and ask yourself where you fit in this passage. We will take a closer look at it tomorrow.