Most of us have Bibles but we are also very, very busy. So finding or maybe making time to pick up those Bibles can be a challenge. But we all have the same amount of time 24 hours every day, 1,404 minutes every day. You can do the math for how many minutes in a week, month or day. I think the issue is not finding time; it's making it. Let's be honest. The problem here isn't time; it's desire. As I have mentioned many times, Leanna and I have a CD playing the Bible almost every night. Well, last night was one of those nights it wasn’t turned on. At about 2:30 I woke up and came downstairs and started reading my Bible and this is where I was and where I think I am being led for this study, for both you and I to learn from.
Psalms 119:1-2 KJV Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD. (2) Blessed are they that keep His testimonies, and that seek Him with the whole heart. Let me stop there because it's interesting that this Psalm, which is all about the Bible, begins with the word blessed" or happy. He talks about benefit that you and I get from reading God's Word. And the very first benefit is we get blessing from God. Who doesn’t a blessing from God?
Blessing is one of those difficult things to describe, but you know what? We all know it when we get it. When you read the Bible and you're blessed by what you read, you know you've been blessed by the Bible. Did you notice that there are several categories of blessings that can come from God? It says, Blessed are the undefiled in the way. Let's skip past the undefiled part for now and talk about those who are in the way. Everybody receives some blessing from God. Every person who walks on the face of the earth receives some blessing from God.
Jesus said it this way in. Matthew 5:45 KJV That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. In other words, everybody who draws breath is going to get some benefit, some blessing from God just by being alive. They're just walking along the pathway, and they're blessed as a result. But, that's the first level of blessing. There is a deeper level than that or perhaps a higher level than that. He says, Blessed are the undefiled in the way, those who choose to walk in the way where they are (bless-able), if this is a word. Those who choose to walk in the way where they're living blamelessly before God. And God says, I can give more blessing to them because they're closer to Me. They're more intimate with Me. They walk in a way that is more pleasing to Me. So, they're undefiled in the way. They haven't soiled their lives with a lot of sin. They're in the way like everybody else, just walking along the pathway of life. But, their blessing is deeper. It's higher; it's richer because they live in a way that pleases the Lord God.
There are three categories of blessing that we pick up from Psalm 119. Number one, walking in the way. Number two, walking undefiled in the way. And now let's go verse 2 for third category. In verse 2 it says there are those who seek Him with their whole heart. That's where real blessing comes from. When we seek God with our whole hearts, we're people after God's own heart, just like David was a man after God's own heart.
One of the things that you and I enjoy when we get in the Bible is we just enjoy the blessing of being in the presence of God. And you know what? I don't want to rob myself of that blessing. I don't want to rob myself of that intimacy by allowing myself to take the time I could spend in the Bible and simply watch TV during that time. I mean, how dumb is that? Well, apparently, it's pretty dumb. But it's also pretty common, isn't it, because we get robbed of blessings because we don't spend time with God? Instead, we spend it with our favorite TV shows, or playing games on the computer. One of the benefits that comes from spending time in God's Word is just being blessed by God. But that's not all. Here is another benefit. Psalms 119:24 KJV Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counselors. Now, that's an interesting phrase. The "testimonies" here is a synonym for the Bible. The things that are written in the Bible," he says, "are my counselors. They give me counsel.
So, not only by reading the Bible do I get blessing, I also get counsel from God's Word. It's a delight to have good counsel, isn't it? To have a friend that you can rely upon? You can go to that friend when you're in a difficult situation or you just need some help, just need some advice. The Bible talks about such a friend. Proverbs 27:9 says it's good to have friends who will give you good advice. But, you know what? The Bible also talks about there being safety in the multitude of counselors. The more friends you have who give you good advice, the surer you are that it's good advice. Now, what if you could judge that advice against a friend who sticks closer to you than a brother? What if you could judge that advice against what God says is the very best for you? And He has counsel for you. And it's found right here in the Bible.
I think one of the difficulties we face in life is we know it's in there. We know the counsel is there. We just don't know where to get it. We don't know how to put our hands on it. We're too unfamiliar with the Bible to know where to go for that counsel. The more time I spend in the Bible the more counsel I get. There is a book in the Old Testament that gives me the greatest advice on the most diverse number of topics. It's the Book of Proverbs. There, you're going to find how to get along with your spouse. Now that in itself is worth reading the Book of Proverbs. Amen? How to get along with friends, how to get along with your spouse. You're going to find out how to invest your money, right in the Book of Proverbs. In the Book of Proverbs you're going to find out how to get along with a nasty neighbor. You're going to find out how to raise children. You're going to find out how to get to know God better.
All of that counsel is found in a book that you already have. All you need to do is spend time finding it. So, from the Bible, one of the benefits I get is the benefit of blessing, spending time with God. Another benefit is the benefit of counsel. But there's a third benefit. And I see it in Psalms 119:41 KJV Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, even thy salvation, according to Thy word. Did you notice it? We're talking about the things you get from the Word. You'll see that expression again and again and again, what you're going to receive from the Word, and what you receive from the Word is, you receive blessing. And you receive counsel. And now, he's talking about receiving mercies from the Word. The Word of God not only provides some understanding of God's mercy for us, it gives us some understanding of God's care for us in our lives.
Here you are living your life wondering why God provides good things for you. Well, the answers to all of that are found in God's Word. And the more time you and I spend in God's Word, the more blessings we get, the more counsel we get, the more we understand about the mercies of God. And, you know what? That's a good thing. If I didn’t spend time in God’s Word, I wouldn’t be prepared to do these studies. I have felt for sometime God is preparing me to teach. I also know that Leanna and I made a commitment to God to bring our grandson up in a Godly way. It has also been a prayer of mine to see our 4 children saved. I can’t be a witness to them without knowing God’s Word. I also know that I feel comfort and peace and joy when I really read and meditate in what the Bible says.
So how do we find out how to deal with an issue that we might go through in the Bible? That could be different for different people. Sadly, most Christians couldn't find God's counsel in their Bibles if their lives depended on it because we just don't know where to look. A concordance can help. That's that big book that tells you every word that occurs every place in the Bible. There are the little Bible promise books, but I think the best way is repetition. Spend enough time in God's Word, (everyday) to know where to look. So what's it going to take? Making the Bible our first choice? Reading God's Word consistently doesn't happen without a commitment to do so. Some people won't miss the evening news. They always find time for it. Others wouldn't miss checking their messages. We always find time to do things we think are important. And if the Bible isn't important to us, we just will never find time to read it.
Here is something that we discussed earlier, when we read our Bibles, we're actually in the presence of God. Please my friends catch this. I don't think we're just reading here. If we just read the Bible the same way we read a novel or a history book, we miss the point of the Bible. Of course there is history in there and there are some love stories and other things. But the Bible is basically God's personal communication with us. It's His chosen method to tell us about Himself, to help us understand Him, to love Him, to appreciate Him.
Here is a fourth benefit. Psalms 119:50 KJV This is my comfort in my affliction: for Thy word hath quickened me. That means that the Word of God can comfort me in my affliction. I don't know about you, but I've had a few afflictions in my day, and we all do. None of us escapes difficulty in life. And sometimes people face their difficulties all alone. And that's a shame because they don't have to. Sometimes they look for comfort in the wrong places. And that's a shame, too, because they don't have to. What the Bible is saying here is that you can find comfort in God's Word that you can't find anyplace else in the world.
We all like to find comfort and sometimes we all need that comfort. The Bible talks about comfort. Look at verse 52. "I remembered Your judgments" (that's just another word for the Bible). Psalms 119:52 KJV I remembered Thy judgments of old, O LORD; and have comforted myself. One of the great things as we age is find comfort in the words of Scripture. What a horrible thing to have God, a God of all comfort, all comfort, to have written to us, to have spoken to us, not to be silent; to have that comfort available and then not be able to find it because, either we don't pick up a Bible or when we do, we don't know where to go to find God's comfort.
One of the great benefits, the daily benefits from God's Word is just to find the kind of comfort that only God can give. You find that kind of comfort in verse 76. Let, I pray, Your merciful kindness be for my comfort, Knowing that God loves me brings me comfort that I cannot describe to you. Knowing that God loves me even when the pain of arthritis is a problem in life brings comfort that is indescribable. There are lots of people who want to say immediately when difficulty comes into their lives, "Where are you now, God?" And, the fact of the matter is, God hasn't moved. And linking with Him, connecting with Him in those days of our lives, that's just as important as linking or connecting with Him in the happy days of our lives. And that's why you don't read your Bible based on how you feel. If that were the case, you'd probably never read your Bible.
I believe this with all that is within me. When you make a daily habit of reading your Bible, when you look for daily blessings from God's Word, you look for daily counsel from God's Word, you look for daily mercies from God's Word, that's when you find daily comfort from God's Word. And trouble has a way of sneaking up on you, doesn't it? And that's why it's important to get in the habit of getting from the Bible everything you can get from it every day of your life.
Now, one of the things you get is comfort. There's another one. And don’t miss this. You'll find it down in verse 73 and that's understanding. That's one of the reasons why we read the Bible, isn't it, just to understand more? Your hands have made me and fashioned me Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments. It's obvious that God created us with the capacity to understand. It's obvious He wants us to understand. And it's obvious He also has given us a lot to understand in His Word. What we need to do is find the connection between our need to understand and God's ability to teach us. And that connection is found right there in the Bible.
Now, in order to understand God you need to go to the mind of God. And there's only one book that claims to be a revelation of the mind of God to the minds of men, and that's the Bible. Verse 97 of Psalm Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. The more you want to learn, the more time you're going to spend in God's Word learning. There is the need for a thirst for righteousness that cannot be trumped up in our lives. In my own life I find this to be true. If I skip a day in God's Word, it's easy then to skip two days in God's Word. And if I happen to skip two days, it's easy to skip a week. And, you know what? In about a week's time I'm about as dry as I can get as a Christian. And I've seen a lot of shriveled up Christians lately who apparently haven't been to the Word in a long time. Their understanding is gone.
He says, The law is what I meditate on. And the Law is a reference to the Bible, a synonym for the Bible. But, let me read on. You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies. You talk about wanting understanding. If you need to know how to deal with the devil, let me suggest to you, save all the money you would spend buying books and pamphlets about the devil. You can read all you need to know about the devil right in God's Word. And besides that, you'll even read how to defeat the devil in God's Word. It's all in there. All we need to do is seek the understanding that comes from God's Word.
That's not all. Not only does it make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me, but, verse 99, I have more understanding than all my teachers. God's Word is never going to make a mistake.
I get understanding from God's Word. I understand all the enemies in my life. And the enemies may not be physical. They may be stress. They may be worry. They may be loneliness. They may be all the attitudes of life. I have more from God's Word to deal with my enemies than I need. I also have more than my teachers had. And the writer goes on to say in verse 100, I understand more than the ancients. That’s all the great men of the past. I can understand more of God's Word by reading God's Word than I can by studying the ancients, the great men of the past.
It's important for you to be a well-read person. But, if you only read one book today, let it be the Bible because in reading the Bible, you're going to find all the benefits that God has in mind for you. And what you do if you don't read the Bible is you rob yourself of divinely-appointed benefits.
You're going to find the benefit of God's blessing. You're going to find the benefit of His counsel. You'll find the benefit of His mercies. You'll find the benefit of His comfort. And, oh how we need that. You'll also find the benefit of understanding.
God will teach you through His Word better than He will teach you any other way. Knowing that, why would you and I ever skip a day in which we didn't read God's Word? What inspires me is that I want to see this community of Brownville and Milo changed. How are they going to see a difference in me if I am not in God’s Word learning and then doing? I think the best way to tell them is to live them. When they see us not falling apart when difficulty comes to our lives, when they see us understanding spiritual things they don't understand, when they see us enjoying the mercy of God they wish they could enjoy, I think that's the best way to introduce people to the benefits of Bible reading.
Start reading the Bible as a habit. Some people think habits are bad, but there are also good habits. Habits themselves are not bad. Reading the Bible is a good habit to get into. We have the intention to begin to do something. And I think that's where it starts. But after we intend to do something, we have to develop a pattern. We have to set a time. We have to find a place. All these contribute to habits becoming habits. It gets them into the habit of reading God's Word daily. My time is early in the morning before Leanna and Preshus are up. I like the quiet and with the pup around barking at everything that moves outside, I can’t meditate on what God is trying to tell me for that day.
Would you make that commitment today? To read and not only read, but meditate on at least 1 chapter a day? One thing that I have started again and have failed miserably at, is reading and then discussing the chapter to and with Leanna daily. Again, you have to start as an intention, but busyness comes along and before long it is a thing of the past. Spouses, I truly think this is a great way to grow spiritually together and I truly believe you both as a couple would be blessed by it. One last thing. If you do decide to take this challenge, would you let Leanna and I know so that we can hold you accountable in a loving way. I want to see you and I fixed on Jesus every moment, every trial, every good and bad thing that comes our way. The only way to do that is to be in God’s Word and know Him and His heart. Amen?