“And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.” Nehemiah 8:12
They understood. They rejoiced!
And so often I hear the word of God and I groan.
God wants me to be relentless in pursuing Him. God wants me to put the needs of others ahead of my own. God wants me to give the first of my money with a cheerful heart. God wants me to serve others with humility.
Yet they rejoiced.
They read commands like give the first and the best of all your increase and do not exact interest from your brothers and they rejoiced. They rejoiced.
But I so often read the commands and sigh. And then Nehemiah 8:12 and I wonder what’s wrong with me. They rejoiced at the reading of the law and I find myself stressed when I think about making time to pick up His Word. And I wonder why?
But as I look closer, it becomes clear that they didn’t rejoice at a list of rules.
They rejoiced to know God.
And I think that’s where I get off track.
I turn God into a to do list and a list to check off and a measuring stick to see how tall I stand when really it was supposed to be a relationship.
They rejoiced to know God, and I am taking the knowing of God and turning it into a list of rules. And rules and religion never made anyone rejoice.
But knowledge of a good and loving God brings great joy!
When I read the rules and the challenges of God’s Word and see God’s character through them, that brings joy. Because the rules and the lessons of the Bible aren’t a measuring stick so much as they are laser pointer, always focused on Jesus.
So day by day I’m reordering my mind...it’s not a book to read and obey, it’s a relationship to partake in and be transformed by.