In a follow up to last week's message about loving other's and praying for them, this week we looked at loving God's Word- the Bible. God has given us this incredible piece and we should worship God as we study it. We looked at Nehemiah 8:1-8 where Ezra reads from the book of the law of Moses (Genesis through Deuteronomy). A few things to think about from these verses. Verse 3 says that the people listen attentively! They did not casually listen or daydream, but they were hinging on every word read. Verse 5 says that the people stood up. They did this in reverence and respect of God's Word. We read in verse 3 that Ezra read from early morning until midday. By this I believe that the people did not just stand for a few minutes, but they stood for a long period of time out of their respect for God's Word. Then in verse 6 it tells us that the people raise their hands, they cried Amen! and bowed down and worshipped God. They were worshipping God because He has given us such an incredible piece of information to live by in the Bible. We then discussed two challenging points that I personally have been challenged with.
1) Do you read or study the Bible?
We were asked this by a professor I had in seminary when we were studying spiritual disciplines. How often do we read something and then a few minutes later we have forgotten what we read? This is because we did not study it. If we actually take time to study God's Word, then it will have a greater impact on our lives.
2) How much do you memorize?
I looked back at some of my notes from October 2007 where I asked the following question that I first heard asked by David Nasser. He first asked the question "How old are you?". Then he asked this: "Take the number of how old you are- do you have that many verses of Scripture memorized?" Now there is nothing magic about having the same number of verses memorized as our number of years old we are, but it's something to think about. We should never memorize Bible verses out of pride or to prove our academic abilities, but in order to hide God's Word in our heart as Psalm 119:11 tells us. We learn God's Word in order to use it as a weapon against sin. But how often do we use the excuse "I'm not good at memorizing" or "I can't memorize"? It is not that we are not good enough, we just do not make it a priority in life. We all will memorize what is important to us and what we want to learn. We played a game at the beginning of the night where we each said "I'm going on a picnic and I am taking (fill in the blank). Then the next person would say the same thing and would add something. We went around the circle twice and had many things we were taking on this picnic. We all memorized that list because we wanted to at the time, just like we do with song lyrics, tv/movie quotes, etc. So if we actually want to memorize Scripture and make the effort then we will be able to.
So this was something that God has challenged me with and I believe is a great challenge for all believers. We are going to make an effort as a group to memorize more Scripture. My prayer is that you will do the same.