I know that many of you are blessed to have a group of Ladies you meet with on a consistent basis to study God's Word. They are like Sisters in this Blessed season of life. You share your joys and your struggles, you pray faithfully for one another, and you seek God for direction, comfort, and His divine answers in the myriad aspects of your lives.
Oft times you have a leader or a teacher who takes you through a particular study, such as the book of Esther or Ephesians, or the Psalms; sometimes your leader will choose a topic of study such as The Armor of God, or Overcoming Depression. I have known great joy and grown tremendously in such groups.
One year, however, I had the best Bible Study Leader EVER... It was only six months into my marriage that a group of ladies from our Sunday School class (who had been reading through good books together and meeting on a weekly basis) decided to read through the best book of all. They planned to read through the Bible in it's entirety, over the course of the year. While there was an older women who had been leading them through their other topics, she encouraged us to see what God had to teach us in His Word with the help of the Holy Spirit. Each Tuesday morning we gathered together to share what we had gleaned.
While there were many lessons we all learned over the course of the year, one of the main take-aways for me was that The Holy Spirit is real, He's available, and He longs to guide us through God's Word as we Seek Him there.
In 2002 the Word of God came to life as it never had before. While I had read most of the Bible before, I'd never read it in order and been privy to the overall story of God's chosen people Israel. Every story, every promise, every sacrifice, every prophet... all pointed to Jesus. The answer!
It was so impacting, in fact, that I purposed to read through the Bible "every other year". The plan was that I'd have a year in between to read enjoyable books by others, often times about God's word, or an enjoyable fictional work, or thoughtful books about mothering, and wife-ing... Followed by another journey through the Bible the next year.
Now I confess it hasn't happened the way I intended. I began my second journey through the Bible on December, 19th, 2003. It was the day we brought Caleb home from the hospital. We sat before the Christmas Tree in a big comfy chair. Candles danced, Christmas tree lights twinkled, and soft music played. And thus I began the story of Genesis with my first born boy wrapped up in his baby blue blanket, all snug in my lap.
It was magical.
And exactly four years later I finished that second trip through the Bible. Yes, four years and two more children later I finally finished Revelation!
it's true that I didn't have the accountability of a formal group to keep me reading at a rapid pace, but more than that... I was simply overwhelmed. But still, during that time, the Holy Spirit kept teaching me in new and exciting ways. All of the Scriptures I had hidden in my heart since my youth became manna for me. Children's songs that were entirely Scripture (Hide em in your heart Vol. 1 and 2 by Steve Green) were the verses that became most applicable in my daily life. My Bible Study this time around was technically very slow, but personally very profound because my life was the stage upon which God's Word came to life. When I was exhausted and sleep deprived, I didn't simply read " But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31) This time I lived it. When my patience was all spent I didn't just read God's Word, it came straight from it's hiding place in my heart as I sang throughout the day, "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control... Since we live by the Spirit let us keep in step with the Spirit."(Galatians 5:22-23)
But it's time I reach for new fodder and not grow dependent on what I have already learned. And so in June I began a third journey through the Bible, beginning again in Genesis. I am currently halfway through Numbers and I have to tell you Leviticus was as difficult as ever to get through, but my faithful Bible Study guide was as diligent and loving as ever as He takes each time we have together to challenge and apply the Word to my life.
This morning as I read Numbers Chapters 10 through 14, many nuggets of gold filled my heart and challenged the way I'm living. One of the biggest lessons for me this morning was in Chapter 13 when Moses sends out spies to assess the land God has promised to give them. Only Caleb comes back reporting to Moses and the Israelites, "We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it." Caleb remembered that God had promised the land to His Beloved nation, and so Caleb believed that God would accomplish His plan even in the face of adversity.
In chapter 14, after God declares that those people who have seen His power displayed in miracles but have chosen not to believe Him in this, will not live to see the Promised Land. "But my servant Caleb, because he has had a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land which he entered, and his descendants shall take possession of it." (Numbers 14:24)
My two main take-aways this morning were:
1) I cannot stop praying for my own, dear Caleb, who is not naturally courageous, that He would take hold of God's promises in Scripture and trust them fully, even in the face of adversity.
2) That our family would not look at the world as those spies without faith had, in their own strength. When they saw the enormous people who already inhabited the land God had promised them, they reported, "we became like grasshoppers in own sight, and so we were in their sight." (Numbers 13:33) When we walk by faith and not by sight, trusting what the Lord has promised through His Word, than we are the giants. But when we instead look to the giants in our lives, the issues in our marriage or our parenting, learning disabilities, playground strife, our weight or self-image..." than we forget God's promises of hope and a future and eternity.
And so today I will pray for increased faith, for my Caleb and for us all, that we will live victoriously and not as grasshoppers. For when we see ourselves as grasshoppers, others will perceive us thusly. And then were will be no impact for the Kingdom flowing for our little, faithless, fearful lives.
Thanks be to the Greatest Bible Study Leader of All time! The Holy Spirit.
Categories: Bible Study