Another excellent article from Paul Tripp.
Growing up, my father made it a priority to read the Bible to us every morning. I don't remember him ever making a comment or explaining a verse, but he diligently woke us up for "family worship" at 5:00am.
I don't know the final spiritual state of my father, so I can't say with certainty why he chose to do that, but something significant happened to me during those devotional readings: I was introduced to the power of God's Word.
By grace, my Heavenly Father raised up my earthly dad to be a spokesperson for His Word. Now it's my joyful calling to teach from the same Book that served as my alarm clock growing up.
Looking back on those early mornings, I'm reminded of the words from the prophet Isaiah: "My word...shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it." (Isaiah 55:11).
In this Article, I want to look at Isaiah 55:8-13 and encourage you to read the Bible for three powerful reasons:
1. The Bible Has Revealing Power
From the beginning of time, there has been an immeasurable distance between the mind of God and the comprehension of humans. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:9)
Even in a sinless world, Adam and Eve were completely dependent on God for revelation. They didn't come into existence knowing what life was about. They didn't know who God was or why they were created. As soon as Adam took a breath, God started telling him all the important things he needed to know.
We're no different than Adam and Eve, except that they received revelation while walking and talking with the Creator. Today, we receive our revelation through the Bible. It's where we need to go to discover who God is and why we were created.
You need to read the Bible because you're a human being. You simply don't have the capacity to understand life without divine help. Without God's Word, your existence won't make any sense.
2. The Bible Has Exposing Power
If Adam and Eve needed God's Word in a perfect world, how much more do we need it with our sin-infested hearts? You see, you'll never have a completely pure motivation in your life; every aspect of your personhood has been corrupted.
We need the Word of God to help us know what is good and true because it doesn't come naturally: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord." (Isaiah 55:8).
You need to read the Bible because you're a sinner. You simply don't have the ability to move through life with a clean heart. Without God's Word, you don't have what it takes to live righteously.
3.The Bible Has Transforming Power
The ultimate purpose of the Word of God is worship. We were designed to worship the Creator, but sin now captures our heart and we worship the creation instead (Romans 1:25). Only the Word of God can take us from one side to the other.
Isaiah 55 talks about this transformation using a bizarre metaphor: "Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the Lord, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off." (Isaiah 55:13)
You don't need to be an expert botanist to know that rain gives growth to whatever already exists. So in this metaphor, the rain should create a bigger thorn bush, not a cypress tree. But the Word of God has transforming power.
The Bible has the unparalleled ability to grip us at our roots - our sinful, creation-worshiping heart - and transform us into an entirely different person.
You need to read the Bible to experience change. You simply can't experience spiritual growth on your own. Without God's Word, you're going to remain a prickly thorn bush.
ONE FINAL WORD
The purpose of this Article is not to persuade you to rise at 5:00am everyday and read the entire Bible in 365 days. It's very possible to read the Bible diligently and with a hard heart.
Instead, I wrote this Article in the hope that you might admit to three things: your dependence on God, your sinful heart, and your need for change. If you read the Bible with that type of humility, get ready to be soaked with the powerful rain of God's Word!