Tidbits of Treasure
6“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
(Deuteronomy 6:6-7 NIV)
Why do we read the word? I was thinking over a conversation where I had started with the words, “the Bible says…” I heard my daughter snicker and say, “Oh mom, the bible again?!” As I replayed that conversation, thoughts came to me; what was the purpose for my children making a decision to read their bibles? If they were not going to find what was spoken inside an accurate set of instructions for better living, then why were they doing it? I am not complaining that they are taking the time to learn what is taught to us, but it started me thinking; have I as their mom, done a good enough job explaining why we need to read and follow this book?
In James, we are told that listening or hearing the Lord’s instructions is not enough to count ourselves as His holy people. We are meant to show our faith by our actions, not without them. I have heard before that the greatest way to teach our faith is without words. We can reach more people, through our actions. Yet, it is not our actions, but our belief in Christ and what he did for us on the cross that saves. Sometimes, this way of thinking gets in our hearts and our reason for doing become misguided attempts to earn points. In reality though, it is our love for Christ and what he did for us, that should create a desire in our hearts to obey and to follow what Jesus himself has displayed for us. In order for us to know what example Jesus gave, we have to read his word.
On the other hand, we need to know that faith without works is dead, and follow the instructions that tell us we are to apply what we hear to our life. In the book of James, he compares the lack of action in our faith to an individual who looks at themself in the mirror and then turns away and forgets what he or she has seen. (James 1:22-25) I know I am guilty of this, because so often I walk out of a Sunday service and I cannot even remember what was said. I try, I want to remember, but for whatever reason, the processing of what I hear converted into action, can get lost. It is a silent reminder however, that God calls us to study his word and meditate on it day and night. I believe that the more we do that and learn from Him, the more we will retain when people are talking.
Thinking back to my daughter’s response, which is similar to what she has heard her brother say, made me wonder if their actions to read the word lacked some guidance. Too often, we make faith a checklist of things that have to be accomplished. Almost as if the action is what will save us and make us eligible to believe that we are chosen. But what about the value of realizing, who God is and why we need to read his word? This little tidbit, reminded me the treasure that is found in the word, when we act on what we hear and see. “Whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it – not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it – they will be blessed in what they do.” (James 1:25)
“They will be blessed in what they do.” God honours those of us who look to keep his word as a part of our daily life. Social values and beliefs however, can make it difficult because the way of the Lord, is not seen as favourable or right. The belief that God still exists, is becoming rare amongst people. So it makes sense that my daughter would role her eyes and question why I had to bring the bible up again. I realized, that I have not instructed her and explained, that I believe, the word of God is alive and active. It continually displays the continuity of God’s character and the instructions are applicable today, as much as they were when the book was originally written. In addition, when I leave a Sunday service, it is the lessons that are taught on verses I have already read, that stick most often. Therefore, the more we read his word, the more familiar it becomes to us; the greater our understanding for application and the stronger the connections made regarding a Sunday teaching.
Taking this opportunity to grapple with this thought, reminded me that I, as a parent, had to continue to guide my children and instruct them in His word. When they come to me and ask, “why did God let that happen?” or comment on the harshness and brutality that was the Old Testament, I do not need to feel ashamed at not having the answer. The ways of the Lord are beyond our understanding and to be honest, I am glad!
25“To whom will you compare me?
Or who is my equal? Says the Holy One
26Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one
And calls forth each of them by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing.
28Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired and weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
Seeing God as omnipotent, returns to him, the right to make all decisions. “He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them – he remains faithful forever.” (Psalm 146:6) This peace of knowledge, this tidbit of treasure, reminds me of the power of God and that is why I continue to bring up the bible. It is given by someone who never changes to meet the approval of anyone. He seeks goodness for all people and grants us the right to choose how we will respond. But He, will not change. Therefore with confidence, we can choose to follow his word and apply his principles; they will never change on us. I do not believe, that we will find our time, learning to live as God has asked us to do, wasted. He is the same today, as he was yesterday and he will still be tomorrow. This surety is a rare thing in our world today, but it is there, and because of that, I will respond, “Yes, honey, the bible!”
For giving us a solid rock upon which we can place our hope and trust. Although it is difficult to live differently from what is considered socially acceptable, it is what you have asked of your children. Therefore, with confidence and love, I will continue to share your instructions with my children. May their hearts cleave themselves to you, and with a hunger and thirst, may they seek your word for themselves.
In Jesus name, Amen
Additional Scriptures: Hebrews 4:12, Isaiah 55:8-9, Psalm 19:7-9