Bible Reading Thoughts

In the course of preparing a seminar for a CU weekend away, I came across this apt reflection on living by the Word from C.H.Spurgeon. It fits nicely with the vague theme of my blog, so I’ve posted it below.

The word of God is always most precious to the man who most lives upon it. As I sat last year under a wide-spreading beech, I was pleased to mark with prying curiosity the singular habits of that most wonderful of trees, which seems to have an intelligence about it which other trees have not. I wondered and admired the beech, but I thought to myself, I do not think half as much of this beech tree as yonder squirrel does. I see him leap from bough to bough, and I feel sure that he dearly values the old beech tree, because he has his home somewhere inside it in a hollow place, these branches are his shelter, and those beech-nuts are his food. He lives upon the tree. It is his world, his playground, his granary, his home; indeed, it is everything to him, and it is not so to me, for I find my rest and food elsewhere. With God’s word it is well for us to be like squirrels, living in it and living on it. Let us exercise our minds by leaping from bough to bough of it, find our rest and food in it, and make it our all in all. We shall be the people that get the profit out of it if we make it to be our food, our medicine, our treasury, our armoury, our rest, our delight. May the Holy Ghost lead us to do this and make the Word thus precious to our souls.

Having just spoken about the dangers of coming to the Bible like the Pharisees, who avidly read the letters, counted the verses, learned the commands by rote, but missed the point, Spurgeon exhorted people to come to the Scriptures to know God, to behold the beauty of Christ and dwell and meditate upon Him.

The more I think about this, the more I’m convinced it’s not just a challenge that Spurgeon’s original audience needed to hear: there’s a danger that we, too, ‘may reverence the letter and yet really have no devotion towards the Lord who speaks to us in these words.’ Why do you read your Bible? Is it out of duty, ritual, or habit? How do you feel when you miss a day, or two, or six? Guilty? Unworthy to come to God? Like you’ve let Him down somehow? How do you feel when you’ve gone a whole week straight, not missing a single day? Chuffed? Like a good Christian? Like you’ve pleased God by doing so well? I ask myself these questions as much as anyone else – I am so quick to miss the point! I cannot make God any more pleased with me than he already is, because my righteousness has absolutely nothing to do with me! Jesus is the one my hope is in! The Bible is so precious because it shows me him – reminding me how gracious, loving, kind and good Jesus is, correcting all the wrong ideas that so quickly clog up my thinking and send me spiralling back into despair and guilt because I’m so useless. How can I not delight to come to God’s Word when that is the case?! I can find there my all in all, because that is where I see Jesus.

Quotation from A Sermon (No. 1503), C.H.Spurgeon. Image from Rob Ryan

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