Nehemiah 8:8, 12 NIV
8 “They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read.”
12 “Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them.”
The reading of God’s Word brings about the fruit of joy when its meaning is made clear; God has given certain people in the church such as pastors and teachers the gift of exhortation so that the Scriptures may be explained and others may understand. Diligent study, prayer and meditation play a big part for those called to preach, and careful attention and an open and teachable heart a must for those who listen. But in all this, true knowledge and understanding — along with the wisdom on how to use what is learned — comes from the Holy Spirit.
We are blessed because we have the Word of God as a lamp to our feet and a light on our path (Psalm 119:105), but how can it be so if people complicate it and make doctrines and teachings that make it hard to understand? Let us therefore allow God’s Word to be what He intended it to be — a bright star that guides our way as we move away from the darkness of this world and into His glorious light!
As I grow in God’s grace each day, I’ve found that the best way for the Bible to be understood is to make it practical. Use every opportunity and circumstance to reflect and apply bible verses and allow it do its work in our lives. We try to learn and memorize scripture but it will only get to really shine its light on us when we find ourselves in a situation where we are able to actually apply it.
In our case, it could be as simple as going on what we initially assumed to be an uneventful and fairly short car trip to claim the iPhone5 that my husband won for me from a facebook contest (Yey! It’s really free! What a wonderful gift!) But, as all good trips go, we got lost. For three hours we drove through the night trying to find the office where to claim the phone. At first we were fine, singing along with really nice acoustic versions of Hillsong praise and worship music, but eventually, our nearly 1-year-and-a-half-old Sam started to get bored and so did 5-year-old Ate Allyra. So it became a lesson in patience and creativity, because we all tried to keep our cool while inventing a million and a half ways to keep the kids busy in the car. We also used the opportunity to teach about prayer, and since we were lost, the most logical bible story that came to mind was the parable of the lost sheep. I asked my daughter whom she thought would be able to find the lost sheep, which at that time meant US, and without hesitation, she replied, “The Good Shepherd!” So she led us in prayer and it went something like this:
“Father God, our Good Shepherd, please help us to be found and protect us. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.”
Simple, right? But it was truly heartwarming to hear our little one pray so innocently, and trusting our Father God, our Good Shepherd, so fully.
Indeed, there are so many spiritual applications to the parable of the lost sheep; it has been preached and taught in so many ways, but I believe that for our family, that particular “Word of God” became most “alive” for us that day. And of course, God is truly faithful, we eventually got found, claimed our free gift and went home.
As I love to claim and exclaim, “God is good, ALL THE TIME!” Be blessed!