by Ian Wilsher
I love the word of God. But then what’s not to love?
I became a Christian in my first year of university and had the privilege of attending student Christian conferences at which world class teachers opened up and explained His Word. It whet my appetite.
My wife and I went to a Bible college for two years which gave us a good overall knowledge of the Bible. We learned how the Old Testament history, poetry and the prophetic books all fit together. We learned an overview of the gospels and the New Testament letters. We learned the value of exploring what God says through exegetical study of the Scriptures. It also gave us a skeleton or frame on which further study could hang. It was, in my opinion an invaluable experience. Some disparage Bible or Theological colleges saying, “It’s dry academics” – which of course it can be, but certainly doesn’t have to be.
I am in the habit of taking time nearly every morning to read and meditate on the Scripture. It’s a delight. Why is it so special? This is my opportunity to hear what the Lord of all the earth has to say to me! I find it astounding that He speaks to me every day. It’s not magical. It’s not complicated. I simply take a book of the Bible and read my way through it, just a small bite-size section at a time. When a verse jumps out, I pause and consider it. Journaling or writing in my notebook helps somehow – things I’ve missed before become clear or stand out. As He speaks to me I enjoy the riches of this treasure which I have. As King David said, His ordinances are “More precious than gold,… and sweeter than honey” (Psalm 19:10)
Other reasons this book is so precious to me?
- God has given me guidance and direction as I’ve read and listened. Not just in a ‘how to live’ way, which of course, is absolutely crucial, but also when we’ve needed to make a decision, He has spoken. Interestingly, the verse Adie and I had on our wedding invitations and Order of Service was, “I will guide you and counsel you in the way you should go” (Psalm 32:8) And that has been our experience. When we took a sabbatical, it was because God spoke through Leviticus 25:4. That sabbatical changed the direction of our lives and ministry. Another time I wanted to throw in the towel, I was ready to give up and the Lord spoke to me through 1 Peter 5:2. Later, the decision to persevere was shown, by future events, to be the correct one. These are not Scriptures I was looking for, I did not open the Bible randomly and read the Scripture my finger landed on, but rather, I read these Scriptures during my regular morning devotions.
- Another reason I love this book, is that it builds my faith. As I learn about the incredible character of God, His unfailing eternal love, His compassion, His mercy, His faithfulness and patience, my trust in Him grows. I learn of His authority and power and majesty and how He is ultimately in control as ruler of the universe, I know I can rely on Him. As I read the Psalms and see how saints cried out to him in praise and prayer, it encourages me to do the same. As I’ve read, so I’ve grown in my knowledge of Him and my trust and my relationship has steadily grown.
- As I have read, I have received the nurture and succour I have needed when I have been low and empty. I cannot tell you how often I have started reading feeling despondent but finished encouraged and uplifted. “This poor man called and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles (Psalm 34:6) This has been my experience.
- The Bible itself uses the analogy of the sword of the Spirit for the Word of God
(Ephesians 6:17). And of course, it’s an essential part of our armoury in our battle
against Satan’s lies and attacks. Just as Jesus did when Satan tempted him in the desert, we can counter satan’s lies with the truth of His Word. Knowing the Scriptures enable us to do this. John writes and says, “I write to you, young man, because you are strong, and the Word of God lives in you and you have overcome the evil one.” (1 John 2:13)
- Having an overall grasp of the tenor of Scripture enables us to recognise error as it arises. Error will stand out and be seen as a misfit in the general revelation of God, His way of salvation and what He expects of us.
- A critical reason why the Scriptures are so valuable is that they are, “able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy3:15) The whole Bible is a story of God’s rescue mission, His deliverance from our predicament of being alienated from God because of our selfish human nature. The Bible tells the story of how He took the initiative to reveal Himself and make a way, through Jesus, for our sins to be forgiven and for us to be reconciled to him. As a result, I am able to read and rejoice in His amazing grace and the hope I have in Him.
- And because of all of this, as I read and submit to His Word, He gives me success. “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. (Joshua 1:8) What a promise! Equally the Psalmist promises us, “Blessed… Is the man who delights in the law of the Lord and on the law he meditates day and night, he is like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers! (Psalm 1:3). I have seen and known God’s blessing and fruitfulness in my life, despite my many failings and weaknesses. I believe it’s God’s faithful fulfilment of this promise.
I love the Scriptures. They are such an incredible treasure. Treasure is discovered through searching and excavation. Don’t miss His riches for you.
The Law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple,
The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart,
The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes,….
The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous.
They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold,
They are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb.
By keeping them is your servant warned,
In keeping them there is great reward.