I occasionally have someone say to me something like this: "You talk about the importance of reading Scripture and about the relevance of Scripture to daily life. But how do I find the specific passages in Scripture that address the particular struggles I am facing today?"
We want a tabbed index or a search engine. If I enter "My dog just threw up on Samantha's new prom dress. What should I do?" and then hit the little search icon, I am immediately linked to a book, chapter, and verse that tells me, "Apologize and offer to replace the dress."
But Scripture doesn't work like that.
How, then, can I find the verses that speak to the unique challenges I am facing today? How do I know where to look to find answers for my deepest heart questions?
All I can say is: Read the Book!
Last Thursday morning, I woke up feeling hopeless. I was tired of struggling to pursue holiness, and yet seeing so little tangible fruit. I was discouraged by the dry, dead, lifelessness of my own heart and the dry, dead, lifeless response of another with whom I desire meaningful relationship. I lay in bed praying, "God, there is no strength left in me. I feel so dried up and dead. I have no will or breath to continue."
Then, BAM!, God spoke to me and told me that if I would look on page 1191 of the Reformation Study Bible, I would find 10 Easy Steps to Personal Holiness and Relationship Restoration.
Actually, I crawled out of bed, got dressed, hit "brew" on the coffee maker, and sat down to read the next passage in my daily Bible reading plan. Let's see . . . time for Ezekiel 37-39 and the little book of Jude.
And I read . . .
The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones...and they were very dry. And he said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" And I answered, "O Lord God, you know." Then he said to me, "Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD . . . Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live . . . and you shall know that I am the LORD." (from Ezekiel 37:1-8)
I continued reading through my tears. This section of Ezekiel 37 concludes:
Then he [the Lord] said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, 'Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.' Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people . . . and I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the LORD." (Ezekiel 37:11-14)
People, could God have spoken any more precisely to the cry of my heart earlier that morning?!
Here's the weird thing: I am following a read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year plan a friend shared with me last December. It is not my "usual" reading plan, not the one I used previous years.
Also, when I say I "follow" a reading plan, I am using the term very loosely. Life happens and, often, when it does, life is crazy. I read ahead; I get behind; I progress through a reading plan like a Slinky lunging haphazardly down stairs.
Last Thursday, November 10th, I read the assigned passage for Sunday, November 27th.
God had me exactly where he needed me to be in his Word in order to speak directly to the cry of my heart last Thursday morning. He is that good at hearing and speaking to his children.
So, once again . . .
How do you find the specific passages in Scripture that speak to the particular struggles you are facing today?
Read the Book.
3 weeks ago