When I was 12 my friends and I would swim in the Black Warrior River that ran right beside our neighborhood in Tuscaloosa. We would come up with all sorts of games like who could jump the farthest off the banks to who could stay under the longest, etc. One game we played without any particular name was a contest to see who could jump into the water without letting their head go under. You can imagine how meekly and how mildly we must have approached the banks and how gently we must have leaped in trying not to go under. Looking back, it took more of an effort to not go under than it did to go in over your head.
Sometimes I think we approach the Bible that way. We all want some degree of water; we need that water of life for our survival. But sometimes we want it in such mild doses that it really does not affect us at our very core. We could say we like to be refreshed in a sense at certain times. We can approach the word wanting to get sprinkled, cooled off if you will, a taste here and there as opposed to depending on it daily for our very survival. If we do in fact come to the word so meekly, mildly, and gently we may in fact not be coming at all.
I would encourage you to immerse yourself in the Word of God in a consuming manner. Treat the Bible like a man dying of thirst would treat water…something he longs for, something he is obsessed with attaining, something with which he can barely think of anything else besides how to gain it.
My encouragement to you is not a new encouragement by any means. As the Israelites waited on the Eastern Bank of the Jordan River ready to cross over to the Promised Land, Moses told them that the word of God was “not an idle word for you…indeed it is your life!!!” (Deuteronomy 32:47). He equated the entirety of my life with the Bible. What a powerful statement!!! In essence he was saying that once they were to cross over the Jordan they had to depend on the word not as if their lives depended on it but because their lives would depend on it.
Once the Jews crossed over the Jordan and entered the Promised Land, their new leader Joshua picked right up where his predecessor Moses left off–with the Word of God. He didn’t suggest reading it occasionally, casually, meekly, mildly, or gently, but in the following manner: “this Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have success.”(Joshua 1:8)
Also consider the Psalmist in Psalm 119. That Psalm is exclusively devoted to the power of the word of God in every aspect of our lives. There the word is referred to as the law, testimonies, precepts, statutes, commandments, judgments, ordinances, among others. What a wonderful endorsement the Psalmist gives to the pages of Scripture we know as the 66 Books of the Old and New Testaments.
Unlike my childhood games on the Black Warrior River, the River of Life which is the word of God is something we are to be completely immersed in and we are to continually bask in its goodness. Consider the following words about the Scriptures from one of the greatest preachers to ever ascend the pulpit, Pastor Charles Spurgeon:
“Oh, that you and I might get into the very heart of the Word of God, and get that Word into ourselves! As I have seen the silkworm eat into the leaf, and consume it, so ought we to do with the Word of the Lord-not crawl over its surface, but eat right into it till we have taken it into our inmost parts. It is idle merely to let the eye glance over the words, or to recollect the poetical expressions, or the historic facts; but it is blessed to eat into the very soul of the Bible until, at last, you come to talk in Scriptural language, and your very style is fashioned upon Scripture models, and, what is better still, your spirit is flavored with the words of the Lord.”
Would the quote above best describe you and your personal devotion to Christ and His Word? Or would you be better defined as one who merely toys and tinkers with the Word of God only approaching the Bible casually and occasionally? My hope is that you and I would be found even today as those who could also exclaim with unbridled enthusiasm as the Psalmist did “Oh how I love Thy law!!! It is my meditation all day long!!!” So let me challenge you, take up the word even as you read this and see for yourself how wonderful Jesus is; how wonderful is His Law.
Peace in Christ, George