“At the command of the Lord, they camped, and at the command of the Lord they set out. They kept the charge of the Lord, at the command of the Lord by Moses” (Numbers 9:23)
As a Christian, how do you know what to do or how you should conduct your life? The answer is by the Word of God. This should be the answer for every professing believer. Without the Word of God, we are left to our own devices to do as we please. The Word of God is the Christian’s only authority for rule and practice in their life.
The children of Israel were not as fortunate as we are today. They did not have a canonized book with 66 books called the Bible. However, God gave them a cloud by day and a fire at night that sat above the tabernacle, which was a representation of His presence. The cloud by day and fire at night would lead and guide Israel as to where God wanted them to travel on their journey. And according to our text, Israel obeyed the Lord up to this point in their journey while in the wilderness, because they could only journey as far as the cloud or fire led them.
This is a great reminder for those who name the name of Christ. Why? Because Christ is the eternal Word who took on flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). The Hebrew writer reminds us, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world” Hebrews 1:1-2). Just as God spoke everything into existence by His Word (Genesis 1), so He still speaks today through His Word, the Bible. And like Israel, we can only go as far as God’s Word will lead us.
So, why read God’s Word? The Bible itself teaches us that the Scriptures are sufficient for the sinner’s salvation and the saint’s sanctification (1 Timothy 3:14-16). I will submit just a few thoughts concerning believers need to read God’s Word.
1. You must read God’s Word to know God.
The fundamental truth of Christianity is that we can know our God. You and I will never know God apart from His Word. Thus, the reason why we read God’s Word is to worship Him in Spirit and Truth, but more importantly, is to know God as he has revealed Himself through the Scriptures. Many people claim to know God, but its not the God of the Bible. There are too many who claim to be Christians and do not know the Word of God, which is a contradiction. Do you know the God of the Bible, personally? Do you spend time with Him daily in His Word?
2. You must read God’s Word to obey God.
Christians do not read God’s Word just for knowledge. Rather, we want to obey what God has commanded us to do. James wrote, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22). If you just read or listen to the Word, while not obeying the Word I’d refer you back to the first point to consider “your calling and election.” Do you read the Bible as a checklist? Do you actively listen and obey God’s Word?
3. You must read God’s Word to know His will for your life.
God’s Word gives a believer purpose in life. God reveals who He is and gives direction to the believer through His Word, as it is accompanied by the Holy Spirit. In order to know God’s Will for your life; First, you must know God and the forgiveness of sins through His Son Jesus Christ. Second, you must be willing to submit to God’s Word as it is revealed in Scripture. There must not be any unconfessed sin you are holding on to. Third, you need to seek God in prayer along with Scripture reading as you seek His will. Fourth, Seek godly counsel in identifying God’s will in your life. However, you need to seek godly counsel, not counsel from those who will only tell you what you want to hear. Fifth, I would submit that once you have whole-heartedly sought God's will, then do what your heart desires (Psalm 37:4), but don't try and force it. If it is God's will for your life, I promise you it will come to pass.
The bottom line is this; as a believer, you must make it a priority to read, meditate, study, and apply God’s Word to your life. Jesus said, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). Apart from God’s Word, you will find yourself floating along in life aimlessly and no purpose. So, will you begin to read your Bible to know God better today? Will you read God's Word to obey God better today? Will you read your Bible to know your purpose better today? And don't forget to delight in Him while you do it. Have a blessed day. SDG!