God is amazing in His completeness and in His mercy. I am struck by this every time I spend any time in the book of Isaiah. Reading over and over again how Israel deserved the punishment it eventually received, I am overwhelmed by how God tells her He will call Israel back to Himself and restore her. He tells her He has already prepared One who will redeem her, One prepared before the beginning of time. As an extension, the Church is the ingrafted branches and so these promises apply to us, too. These promises delight my soul and cause me to just stop in awe at how wonderful God is, how unbelievable His promises are to us, and how totally unworthy I am of receiving any of them. Yet still He promises to do all these great things, because it’s up to Him and not up to me. And then I come across a passage like the following:
“Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
– Isaiah 55:1-2, NIV
So often I hear folks say they don’t have time for Bible study. I usually hear this among the youth or among men who have not taken the time to make an honest effort to read the Scriptures. The usual excuse is that there is so much going on that this is one more thing to do in a busy day. However, listen to the promise here. God is saying those of us who are thirsty, He will quench and it won’t cost us anything. He reminds us that we spend our money and our time on these that won’t satisfy us and won’t fulfill us. He asks us why we do it! And then comes the gentle reminder that if we come to Him, He will give us what is good and delightful for our soul. Spending time in the Word isn’t a chore. It’s a joy! If we’re looking at it as another task to accomplish, we’re looking at it all wrong.
God wants us to know Him. He wants us to take the time to investigate Him. He knows that when we do so earnestly, we will find Him fulfilling. And the best way to come to know Him is to read the Word He has prepared for us. It is filled with information about who He is, what we are in comparison to Him, and what He has done, is doing, and will do in our lives, if we just let Him. The Word contains so many reminders of how God promises us so much. It tells us that even when we feel our loneliest, God is still right there. When we hurt, He aches, too, but we can still go and cry on His shoulder and seek comfort from the only One who can give us true peace. When we are happy and filled with excitement, He is there to rejoice with us. And when we’re confused and unsure of what to do next, He is there waiting to give us direction, if we’d only just ask Him. All these things are said over and over again in His Word. The Bible tells us He is an actively engaged heavenly parent, looking for what is best for us, wanting to shower us with His love, willing to discipline us so we don’t get into worse trouble later on, and always keeping an eye on us so the Enemy can’t snatch us away. After reading things like this over and over again, I cannot help but want to spend a few more minutes in His Word whenever I get the chance.
And that’s how God wants us to look at the Bible and spending time in it. He wrote it so we would know Him. And the more we come to know Him, the more we understand how little this world can offer us that will fill us up and leave us content. The Word is there to make our lives stuffed with His goodness. It’s like at Thanksgiving Dinner when we eat too much and we’re lying on the couch rubbing on our bellies and thinking, “That was so good.” Too much of that turkey is not good for us. However, God’s Word is there for our spiritual bellies and there’s no such thing as too much there! Scripture is supposed to be this way for us. If it’s not, either we’re approaching it with the wrong attitude or we just haven’t given it a fair chance. Because once we start reading what God intends for us, how He’s got treasures stored up for us and how He meets our every need and how He is willing to satisfy the desires of our hearts when we are in Him, how can we do anything but desire it more? Hopefully this week sees you off tasting the sweetness of the Word God has prepared for you and me.