6.06.2017

A lesson learned late - but never forgotten!

How I wish someone had challenged me with this truth when I was a teenager and young adult.
I used to read dozens of books each year - for pleasure. I would stay up reading, bleary-eyed until 2 am, but would not rise early to read my Bible.
It was not until I was almost 30 that the Lord chose to thwap me over the head using a loud voice to get my attention because I had refused to listen to His still, small voice.

A group of my peers and I were reading a historical/biblical fiction trilogy, and we talked of little else. Our enthusiasm for the plot, the characters, and the drama was palpable. Until ...
One day we were at an event with our pastor's wife and decided we should invite her into our new world of literary excitement. She listened to us rave about the book, and when we asked her if she would like to read it with us she said, "I'm sorry, I will not be able to do that."
"Why not?" we asked incredulously.
"Well, I have learned that when I start reading a book that captures my attention, my imagination, my emotions, and my time, the Lord receives nothing because I have given everything away - to a book. If I cannot keep Scripture first because books written by men compete for my heart, I must refuse them. Even good books."

I will never forget her words, and they have convicted me many times since then.
I am an unashamed bibliophile. I LOVE books.
But there was a three-year span when the Lord would not let me touch a book that was not Scripture.
Spurgeon? Taylor? ten Boom? Elliott? Miller? Forget it. The Lord kept challenging me, "Michelle. These are MEN. They created their words out of Mine. Read My Word. Search My truths. Trust My promises. My Word is sufficient. Let it lead you, encourage you, comfort you, and make you wise. It is all you need."

I spent three years reading nothing but Scripture, and never once did I fall asleep crying because I missed out on the latest compilation of Spurgeon's sermons. I was FULL, and I was satisfied!
My only regret - was not learning the lesson sooner.

                               ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether.

They are more desirable than gold - yes, than much fine gold! 
Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. 
Moreover, by them Your servant is warned. 
In keeping them there is great reward! Psalm 19
The Christian has discovered one book truer and more precious than all the rest together. Let the Bible be to us the book of books - the one book in all the world whose every verse is wisdom.
In studying it, be sure to take it for what it really is - the revelation of the thoughts of God, given us in the words of God. Knowing that we have divine thoughts embodied in divine words - we sit down to the study of the heavenly volume, assured that we shall find the perfection of wisdom in all of its teachings.

Let us read and re-read the Scriptures - meditating on them day and night.
They never grow old, they never lose their sap, they never run dry.

Though it is right and profitable to read other books, if they are true and good - yet beware of reading too many. Do not let man's book thrust God's book into a corner! Do not let commentaries smother the text - nor let the good, shut out the best.

Let your reading be always select - and whatever you read, begin with seeking God's blessing on it.

But see that your relish for the Bible is above every other enjoyment. The moment you begin to feel greater relish for any other book - lay it down until you have sought deliverance from such a snare, and obtained from the Holy Spirit a more intense relish, and a keener appetite for the Word of God!

"Your words were found, and I ate them. And Your Word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart!" Jeremiah 15:16

~ Horatius Bonar, "Follow the Lamb" 1861

No comments: