I have been writing about the ways that God reveals Himself to us, looking at Psalm 19. You can read the previous posts by clicking here and here. God has revealed Himself; we are invited to know Him. The bigger question is: do we want to know Him?
Psalm 19, written by King David, describes three ways God reveals His character: in creation, in His word, and in our experiences. Verses 7-11 say:
The instructions of the Lord are perfect,
reviving the soul.
The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
The commandments of the Lord are right,
bringing joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are clear,
giving insight for living.
Reverence for the Lord is pure,
The laws of the Lord are true;
each one is fair.
They are more desirable than gold,
even the finest gold.
They are sweeter than honey,
even honey dripping from the comb.
They are a warning to your servant,
a great reward for those who obey them.
Each of the titles used for God’s word helps us understand more:
- Instructions – God is trying to teach us; we need instruction
- Decrees – God is tell us the way things are
- Commands – we need to learn to obey God’s will
- Laws – this is the way God made the world to work; if we disobey His laws, there are consequences
God has revealed His character in His word. Those who take the time to read, study, and follow God’s word live better lives because they understand the nature of God, creation, reality, morality, and humanity. Those who don’t immerse themselves in God’s word inevitably start to think of faith more generically or culturally. God’s thinking is not our thinking; it is only by constant contact in the Bible that our thinking can be changed. For Christians, we are not reading the Bible alone; the Holy Spirit lives in us and helps us understand and be transformed (see John 14:26).
There are many benefits listed for following God’s word:
- The soul is revived, full of life
- The simple are made wise, meaning anyone can be wise if the time is taken
- The heart is made joyful
- Insight for living is granted, helping to make the right decisions at the right times
- Warnings are given, those who heed God’s word can see danger coming
- Rewards are given to those who obey
These benefits, combined with the thrill and joy of knowing God more, are why David can say that God’s word is more desirable than gold and sweeter than honey. But most people – including Christians – spend more time pursuing money and food than learning God’s word. We seek to find joy, warnings, and wisdom in our entertainment and relationships more than we do in God’s word. God’s invitation is on the table; will you take the time to know Him more? Many people start with 10 minutes a day and quickly find it turning into 30 or 60 because they are hungry to know God more. Study Bibles and commentaries then get bought for deeper understanding because knowing God is unlocking life; everything is finally starting to make sense.
The Bible is the word of God; the revelation of God’s character. Jesus is the fullest revelation of who God is, which is why He is the Word of God (see John 1; note the capitalization). The entire Bible is important, and the Bible is centered on Jesus (see Luke 24:27, 44; John 5:39), which is why Christians need to know the words and works of Christ better than anything else in life. Christians have challenged themselves to ask WWJD? (What Would Jesus Do?). But it’s hard to know what Jesus would do if you don’t know what Jesus actually did! That may not work on a bracelet: IHTKWJWDIYDKWJAD. Knowing Jesus means we know God, and knowing God unlocks joy, wisdom, hope, and love into our lives – greater than we could have imagined
If there are so many benefits to the study of God’s word, why do so few do it? Simple: it’s hard. Study takes time. God’s word reveals things inside of you that you don’t like, and that hurts. God doesn’t force Himself on us but invites us; He reveals Himself to those willing to seek Him. For those who do, the benefits are immeasurable, and there is no greater benefit than knowing the Creator, the very heart of all love.