February 22, 2012

Joy in Understanding

Nehemiah 8:1-12

All the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them.
Nehemiah 8:12


How important is it to you to know the Bible’s message?

Even though the Scriptures had been given to Israel and, with it, the knowledge of what it meant to keep covenant with God, that knowledge had been lost during Israel’s captivity in Babylon. But now, in a remarkable worship experience, Ezra the teacher read the law, and the Levites unpacked its meaning. The response of the people was tears of repentance, until Nehemiah announced this was a time of celebration. Why? Because the people now understood the meaning of God’s Word.

That episode came to my mind when I participated in the graduation ceremony of 600 students from our Bible study program in Congo. What struck me was the joy these students and their families had. Many had prepared special outfits for the occasion. As they testified to what their study of God’s Word had done for them, they radiated joy. They now understood the teachings of God’s Word. Marriages had been healed, and families restored. Church leaders had matured in the faith for greater service.

I wondered whether we find so much joy in the study of God’s Word. Has it been neglected where you live? If so, what can you do to change that?

Lord, forgive us if we have neglected your Word. May we study it with joy, anticipating new discoveries each time we open it. Open our eyes, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

About the author — Bob Heerspink

Dr. Robert Heerspink was director of Back to God Ministries International from 2006 until 2011, when he passed away. He had previously pastored several Christian Reformed churches. Bob loved to write and was a frequent contributor to the Today devotional.

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