I’m not sure the world understands the joy we as Christ followers take in God’s Word. I can say for me personally, I enjoy reading the Bible, I love to hear God speak to me, and I delight in new revelations from His Word. It is wonderful to hear from The Lord and understand His will. There is an intimacy as He speaks to the heart and mind as we read and listen. That relationship becomes even deeper when we not only hear Him, but we obey Him. Verses 33-35 read,
“Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes;
and I will keep it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
and observe it with my whole heart.
35 Lead me in the path of your commandments,
for I delight in it.”
It does us no good to read the Scriptures and ignore them. Pursuit of God begins with hearing and reading His Word and is furthered by accepting, comprehending, interpreting, appreciating and obeying. To observe or perceive, discern, and heed the law of God with our whole heart requires that we do more than just read, we internalize and follow it. It is not complicated, it is not memorizing and heartlessly and mindlessly obeying 613 impossible laws. God doesn’t want ritual from us, He wants our commitment to a relationship with Him. (Hosea 6:6). Jesus told us following Him wasn’t what the Pharisees and Sadducees were making it out to be. Matthew 11:25-30 reads,
“At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Dedication to Jesus and following Him is wonderful. It is so wonderful that some begin following Him and then become selfish for the personal benefits. They make money off of Him, they become celebrated in the world, or they get drunk from the awesome power. Even in the early church some people said they followed Jesus but they were really eager for the advantages of The Holy Spirit. You can read about one such person, Simon the Magician in Acts 8:9-24. Verses 36-37 of the Psalm say it this way,
“Incline my heart to your testimonies,
and not to selfish gain!
37 Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
and give me life in your ways.”
When we start following Holy Spirit power instead of The Holy Spirit, money instead of the Kingdom of Heaven, or fame instead of Jesus we are no longer pursuing God, we are pursuing idolatry and it leads to sin, stagnation, and even death. 1 Timothy 6:9-10 reads,
“But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”
It is not the advantages that cause us to long for God like a parched man in the desert longs for water, it is His goodness, love, and friendship that causes us to yearn for more of Him. And He wants us to pursue Him and know Him. Jeremiah 29:11-14 reads,
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.”
God is not Santa Claus. He is not some gentle grandfather, or like Hollywood’s renditions of Him. He is not George Burns or Morgan Freeman. He is Sovereign Almighty Creator of Heaven and Earth. When we know the real Him, the God whose glory is so intense that the smallest glimpse of Him caused Moses face to shine and scared the Israelites so that he had to put a veil over his face, we are awed, humbled, and deeply respectful. (Exodus 33:17-23, Exodus 34:29-34). He is fierce. His love is powerful. He is The LORD, I Am. (Isaiah 42:8). Verses 38-40 read,
“Confirm to your servant your promise,
that you may be feared.
39 Turn away the reproach that I dread,
for your rules are good.
40 Behold, I long for your precepts;
in your righteousness give me life!”
It is wonderful, delightful, terrific, and magnificent to know God, to continue knowing Him more and more is a beautiful gift and the apex of eternal life. If we want to know God, we must read, listen to, and heed His Word. If we want to be in a relationship with Him we have to pursue friendship and spend time communing with Him. 1 John 1:2-4 says it this way,
“the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.”