What happens when you have developed a routine of reading the Bible and praying every day and then take a two-week family vacation? Most of us mean well yet end up drifting away from our quiet time with God for those two weeks. Imagine being forced to walk more than a hundred miles to live as captives among people who don’t speak your language and with no place to worship God—not for two weeks but for seventy years! Do you suspect that maybe the practice of your faith would begin to become a fading memory? This was exactly what happened to the Hebrews.
It was sometime in October or November of 445 BC, all the people assembled with a unified purpose at the square just inside the Water Gate. They asked Ezra the scribe to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had given for Israel to obey Nehemiah 8:1 (NLT2). The Book of the Law of Moses consists of Genesis through Deuteronomy in the Bible. If you’ve read those books, you’ve probably found it is easy to get bogged down in the last three of them. Imagine listening to a solitary voice reading those books and trying to explain what the words meant.
Instead of drifting off to sleep, Ezra had to tell them “Don’t mourn or weep on such a day as this! For today is a sacred day before the LORD your God.” For the people had all been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law Nehemiah 8:9 (NLT2). What in the world would cause them to cry when hearing those books read?
There is a huge difference between studying words on a page and having the words on the page study you, getting such a grip on your heart that it would cause you to weep! I’ve literally had that happen to me. I clearly know the difference between intellectual curiosity and being overcome by an invisible power and knowledge much bigger than myself.
Interestingly, if you study the vast history of Christians over the millenniums, you will find in their writings how they too have had the same kind of supernatural experience these Hebrews had. Trust me when I say that this experience is far more than just reading the Bible. It not only assures a person the Bible is infallible, it tells us what can happen when you actually connect with the author. You then are confident God is very much alive and well!! I literally thrive on this happening to me nearly every time I take time not to read but to reflect on only a few verses. If you have experienced that in your faith journey, you stand within a large body of believers with a common experience.
It’s my conviction God intends to meet with each one of His children as they take time to meditate on His Word. If you can imagine a very intimate time with a very close friend, family member or a spouse, encounters with God are like those times on steroids multiplied many times over.
How long has it been since you have had such an encounter with your Creator, friend and lover? If this is new to you know this, it IS possible to experience. The French Catholic lady Jeanne Guyon wrote the classic book Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ on how to come to enjoy such encounters. While it is not perfect, she has been able to best explain what I have learned from personal experience to be very profitable to my spiritual journey. If it has been a while since you had such an encounter with God, why not schedule a time for solitude with God and His word, cleanse your soul, ask Him to open His truth to you through His Word and then allow yourself to enjoy His incredible presence. I would love to hear your story of time with God.