Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Value of Reading Your Bible

Last night I was tired. Monday night had been short. I was SLEEPY. Yet, as is my routine, I read my Bible. We are using the plan referred to on the blog in December that has us read different portions of the Scriptures each day. Last night, of all places, 1 Samuel 6-10. Everyone knows what excitement awaits in 1 Samuel 6-10, right?

The Lord blessed me in two different ways through that obscure text. 1 Samuel 6 opens with the story of the return of the Ark by the Philistines. They return it on an oxcart with untamed cows who have been separated from their calves and this is their plan,

Send it on its way, 9 but keep watching it. If it goes up to its own territory, toward Beth Shemesh, then the LORD has brought this great disaster on us. But if it does not, then we will know that it was not his hand that struck us and that it happened to us by chance." 10 So they did this. They took two such cows and hitched them to the cart and penned up their calves. (1 Samuel 6:8-10)
This is the question we must wrestle with in blessing and calamity, "Did the Lord do this or did it happen by chance?" If you read the rest of the story it is evident, the cows pull the cart straight back to Israel! The Lord's hand was in it -- no surprise. It was important for the pagan Philistines to know that God had afflicted them. And, it is important to me, too. I can bear anything if He is in it. But, if the pain in my life is left to chance, I despair.

The Lord also blessed me with a simple request the repentant Israelites made to Samuel, "Do not stop crying out to the LORD our God for us" (1 Samuel 7:8). Don't stop cryint out to the Lord our God! That is what I want to ask everyone who will pray for me. Don't stop! Turns out, as I continued to read, that God heard Samuel's prayer and responded to the people's heart and delivered Israel from the Philistines. So, I will not stop crying out to the Lord for you. I would love it if you would not stop crying out the Lord for me.

Don't think for a moment that you are too tired to read your Bible. Don't think that what you were planning to read can never bless you. You may be surprised by God!

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