Exodus Devotional | Day 5: How to Stay Put with Your Bible Reading
The Book of Exodus
The Greatness of God to His People in Need
God Stays With Us and Goes With Us, Day 5
“34 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35 And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 36 Throughout all their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out. 37 But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out till the day that it was taken up. 38 For the cloud of the Lord was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel throughout all their journeys." - (Exodus 40:34-37)
One of my main responsibilities as pastor is to teach you how to read the Bible--for yourself. On your own. You and the Lord speaking...you praying to him and him talking to you through his Word. That’s one of my main goals with these devotionals: it’s not my job to read the Bible for you; it’s my job to help you read the Bible. And so, each week, through five-day devotionals, I’m trying to role-model for you some of the ways it looks like to spend time with the Lord with his Word.
Do you see one of the disciplines I’ve been trying to show you? It’s called “staying put.”
Staying put means selecting a book, chapter, passage, or even just a verse and spending time on it. Going over it and going over it again. Memorizing. Thinking, chewing, pondering. Meditating on it. Asking the Lord for that scripture to master the way you think and feel. To master the way you see yourself and the world around you. To become an expert in that scripture and have it etched deeply into your mind.
So, I’ve spent five days, trying to get us to camp out, like the Israelites, and just stay put in Exodus 37-40, trying to get to know the people and God. Not speeding through, trying to “get our Bible reading done,” like reading the newspaper or getting a chore completed. No...one of the better ways to read the Bible is to take your time, settle down and settle in, and stay put.
The Israelites are being taught that here, in Exodus 40. When God stops, they stop. They set up camp, get the tabernacle set up, and they wait on the Lord. They’re being trained not to get too antsy, not too nervous that they’re not on the move enough, not getting enough done. God is teaching them to stay put and only to move when he moves.
This week’s sermon and study is titled: God Stays With Us and Goes With Us. That’s what I want you to do with Bible reading. Stay with God and go with God. You have his presence. Find a book or passage in the Bible and just come and go with it. Stick with it, camp out in its presence. Listen and think and ponder. Pray about it. Give the Lord time to do something with it in you before you move on to something else. As you go through your day, recall your Bible reading--as you drive, as you work, as you exercise, as you eat. God stays and goes with you. In his Word, stay and go with him.
Where are the “gaps,” the places in your day where thinking on and meditating on God’s Word ought to go? In the car on your commute (those of you who still have one during these ‘Rona times!)? As you eat breakfast or lunch? During a mental break time from work?
Find a scripture in the Bible and start working on memorizing it. It might be a challenge at first, but over time, it’ll get written on your heart and then, when you speak...you’ll start finding it pouring out of you!
Pray. Talk to God and pray through the Bible. See a command? Ask the Lord to help you obey it. See a rebuke? Pray and ask the Lord to apply it to you for your good. See encouragement or wisdom? Pray and ask the Lord to plant it deep within your soul.