Yesterday, I concluded the first post of the day by referencing (without telling you where) a passage from Joel. Here’s what it says about the locusts God used to judge the nation that would not obey their God as He promised to restore them after their judgment and genuine repentance/return to Him,
” I will restore to you the years
that the swarming locust has eaten,
the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,
my great army, which I sent among you.” – (Joel 2:25, ESV)
I have to confess that I have used this passage out of its context on numerous occasions specifically regarding God restoring our wasted years of biblical illiteracy. While it’s not entirely wrong, I need to remember that there is a responsibility on our part…repentance when we have recognized our lack of knowing Him when we have been prompted by Him to know Him (remember “The people who know their God stand firm and take action.” – Daniel 11:32, ESV).
Consider Hosea 4:6,
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;
because you have rejected knowledge,
I reject you from being a priest to me.
And since you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children.”
That lack of knowledge is lacking knowledge of who He is. Where will you gather such knowledge? Church? Yes, I hope! Bible study? Yes. Books about the Bible? Yes. In some respects your knowledge in those arenas may hinge on the pastor’s, teacher’s, and author’s biblical knowledge they have gained from time spent studying.
You know what? You, yes y-o-u are accountable for knowing God and His word…not your pastor and not your Bible study teacher and not the current commentator in your study Bible. You need to know it so you can make sure what you hear from others lines up with the words you are reading and studying on your own in the Bible. Once you have read it and seen or heard the truth accurately given, you are accountable for obedience to it because it is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12).
So, you may feel a bit beat up right now. I am not fussing. Hear me. I have been where you are if you are struggling to get into the Bible. I have wasted lots of years as a teenager and young adult toying with the Bible…others knew I had one but I was a clueless slug when it came to matters of understanding and applying Scripture. I was a good girl with good morals and not too many bad habits, but I was a dumb girl in the Word. Sad. I wasted so much time.
Once I began to get into the Word and develop my studying skills (which is work but work worth learning and disciplining yourself to do) my spiritual eyes were opened and I realized how much time I had wasted (like TEN YEARS as a believer)!
The enemy would have loved for me to focus on the lost years, but I sensed God’s guidance to not go there with that enemy. God’s tenderness towards me in leading me to studies where I could be taught this discipline in an environment where others were soaking it up with excitement and application lit a fire under my fanny to pick up in the Word right where I was and be thankful for what His Spirit would teach me for the rest of my life.
What’s the bottom line on getting into the Word? In summary:
- Just get into the Word somewhere and move forward
- Commit your time to the Lord
- Focus on the underlying timeless truth and apply it to your life today
- Repent of your stubborn bent towards laziness in this discipline
- Find a mentor in the Word who can spur you on to studying and applying
- DON’T FOCUS ON THE YEARS THE LOCUSTS HAVE EATEN when you weren’t in the Word! Ask God to redeem those years.
God will redeem those years. I promise. I’m proof. Yep, I’m proof.