My sweet Terry cracks me up. Sometimes I find him to be exceptionally hilarious. Other times, even his dry wit will have me doubled over in laughter and pondering his sarcasm and humor. One morning while we were having our Bible study, he told me when talking to Travis (my oldest bonus son), Terry told him how he has been reading Isaiah. We both find Isaiah to be absolutely fascinating. But sometimes, it can be like a college literature course where you are forced to find the “parallel meanings” or the analogy for this must mean that. Terry told Travis, “So after reading Isaiah during Bible study, I flip over to read some of Paul’s letters, for dessert.”
Isn’t that so true of what we read in God’s word, anyway? I really do not know how I would get through my quiet times without having a study Bible. The study notes at the bottom tie it all together for me, or will reference another scripture that makes me understand what the author was saying.
I shared how Pastor Steve taught us about illuminated reading. He told us every morning we should pray, “Holy Spirit, will you please show me what you want me to read today?”
I very much believe we need the Holy Spirit to guide us and explain to us what we are reading, no matter how complex or easy the passage is.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind” - James 1:5-6 (NIV)
I want everything I read in God’s word to feel like dessert. But you and I both know, as rich and as sweet and as wonderful as dessert is, we need sustenance. We need the dinner; we need protein and the healthy, balanced carbohydrates to strengthen and energize us, first.
God’s Word is so rewarding. His message is rich with love and reminders of fulfilled promises. We cannot just read the, “sweet, rich dessert” passages. We have to read the messages filled with both wisdom and love, too. Those are the ones that fulfill us. The ones that strengthen us and make us healthy in our faith.
I, myself, have gone back to re-read Psalms the past few weeks. I find myself nodding my head, and saying things like, “Yes! Go get ‘em, God,” when being reminded how David prayed for God to avenge his enemies. It helps us to know God’s Word is relatable to us, even today. We are not the only ones facing heartache or difficult times. We are not the only ones who have been lied to; had someone steal from us, had people coming after us, or had people cheat us out of what is ours.
We are also not the only ones who want to seek justice on our own; who want to go after those who have wronged us. Scripture is peppered with examples of God telling His righteous followers to wait and not seek their own paybacks or justice. “It is mine to avenge; I will repay.” (Deuteronomy 32:35)
Sometimes, I need to read those reminders not to try and seek justice on my own. When I want to call in favors or hire an airplane to fly over a big city with a message of so-and-so and what they did to us; God reminds me to keep my mouth shut and He will handle, accordingly.
God’s promises to uphold His righeous are constant reminders to me. “Let the righteous rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him; let all the upright in heart praise Him!” - Psalm 64:10 (NIV)
What is your least favorite food? Is it broccoli? Spinach? Brussels sprouts? Lima beans? Green beans? Whatever it is, at some point in your life, you were likely told to eat it, because it is good for you.
Reading the difficult reminders to wait on God’s timing in Psalms and Isaiah are like those vegetables we do not always want to eat; but we need them, desperately. Because we need to be fed the wisdom before we can rejoice and trust God’s timing.
I joke about wanting to eat dessert first because life is short, but because I am serious about maintaining a healthy body, I know I have to work out and eat the yummy chocolates in moderation. My body needs the protein and the leafy greens more than it *needs* the chocolate ganache cheesecake.
My spiritual body needs to be fed the reminders to be still and wait on God during the trials of life, before I can appreciate the timing of God’s vindication.