One of the things I try to convey to other Christians is to have a deep passion for God’s Word. If we’re supposed to live according to His Word, we have to know it. And that certainly sets the standard for reading and learning God’s Word. But if you’re like me, you’ve been in more than one class where you were there because you had to be. It was a required course and you had to pass. So you learned what you had to learn, but it wasn’t particularly thrilling and you weren’t really interested in doing it. You had to do it. And that’s the only reason you did.
When it comes to God’s Word, we can take the same sort of attitude. “I need to know the rules. Might as well get this over with.” If we take this attitude, we miss so much. This is one of the things I really try to explain. God’s Word contains so much for us. It’s more than just a set of rules. It reveals to us what God wants us to know about Him, about His plan, about His creation, and about us, too. Therefore, every time we earnestly dive into it, we’ll gain a better understanding of God. We’ll know much than just the rules. We also begin to see the why behind the rules. I love to know why. That helps me better follow and obey the rules.
It’s like the classic case of, “Don’t touch the stove.” “Why?” “Because if the stove is on, you may burn your hand.” Thank you very much. I know now why I shouldn’t touch the stove. And as I grow and understand more of one layer, God’s Word has so much more. Going back to the stove example, once I understand touching the stove may be dangerous, the next thing I understand is how to recognize whether or not the stove is on. And then I understand if it’s the stove top or the oven that is on. And then if it is the stove top, which eye is on. God’s Word is the same way. Once we understand why God says something, we can build on that. For instance, we learn about how communion is practiced. Then we learned that Christ instituted it. Then we learn that it was in celebration of Passover. Then we learn what Passover was and why it was established. And then we learn why the Israelites were in Egypt in the first place. And we learn how all of this started way back in the Garden of Eden. But you know, this isn’t the most important reason.
This Ezra went up from Babylon, and he was a scribe skilled in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given; and the king granted him all he requested because the hand of the LORD his God was upon him. Some of the sons of Israel and some of the priests, the Levites, the singers, the gatekeepers and the temple servants went up to Jerusalem in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes. He came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. For on the first of the first month he began to go up from Babylon; and on the first of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, because the good hand of his God was upon him. For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel. – Ezra 7:6-10, NASB
Ezra was able to get permission to leave Babylon and go to Jerusalem. He was able to make that trip safely. And in both cases the verses indicate that He was able to do so because God’s hand was with him. Why was God’s hand with him? We find out in the last verse: “For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD and to practice it.” Ezra’s heart was on studying God’s Word. It was his passion. Not only did he want to learn it, he wanted to practice it. Because God’s Word was Ezra’s desire, God was with Ezra.
This has important ramifications for us, too. God obviously is favorable towards those who value His Word. That only makes sense. The people who have a passion for God’s Word have a passion for learning to know and love God more. We don’t have the capability to ask God out for coffee or to play a game of handball to get to know Him better. We have prayer, we have interaction with other Christians, but the best resource we have is His Word. Therefore, if we want God’s hand to be with us, we need to be passionate about His Word. Passionate about learning it. And passionate about putting into practice that which we have learned. If we are, we will see God at work in our lives. And we will understand and know Him better. And that will cause us to want to learn more about Him. And we come into this cycle where we can’t get enough of God’s Word because we can’t get enough of God. That should be our goal. And God’s hand will be upon us as we do so.