Why is it so important for us to read God’s Word?
Numerous plans for reading through the Bible in a year are easily found online at the end of each December. I’ll mention some of those in another post, but first ask yourself the question why it is so important to read and be in God’s Word. Your answer is vital in to help you stay in His Word when you start to flag during days of discouragement or busyness.
In my post Romans 15–16: Encouragement & Love I shared how God used Romans 15:4 to give me hope and comfort when I was very discouraged about my handicap of severe hearing loss. In my struggle to trust Him the verse underscored the importance of the Scriptures to give me hope.
When I started Kindling for Candles my family was in the midst of fallout from devastating financial loss. In August 2010 in the post, Steerage, I wrote my first of many posts comparing the Christian life at times to being at sea in a storm. In Steerage I said that when a ship is crippled in naval warfare, it becomes hors de combat or “out of the fight.”1 Its masts broken, with sails shredded and hull or rudder damaged, the ship is at risk of being boarded and taken by the enemy. I said then, and I say it now, God safeguards Christians from becoming hors de combat by His Word, the Bible.
I never expected to have so many posts with nautical themes, but in the Bible storms are a vivid analogy of adversity and our hope is depicted as the anchor of our soul, and so ships and the sea made it into my writing.
The painting above, The Ninth Wave, by Ivan Aivazovsky is his “most famous work and is an archetypal image for the artist. The painting depicts the feared ninth swell, believed by Russian seamen to be the most powerful and destructive.” Click on the image to enlarge it, and you can see the detail of the men clinging to the mast with a rope thrown over one to hold him fast.
After beginning to write here in 2010, the following January I started posting on reading through the Bible in 2011. It was a discipline for me that I knew would keep me writing and keep me in God’s Word. Some of those posts were incredibly difficult to write and there were times I thought I would drown, but through reading the Bible, and writing about it God kept me lashed and held tight to the mast of His Word so I wouldn’t be swept overboard into the sea.
During that time, and there have been times since, that ninth wave broke over me. I was like a crippled ship with broken masts and shredded sails—or a house assaulted by wind and wave. Go back and read some of my old posts and you can tell. The shock of circumstances was piled on top of events of prior years, and the combined impact brought upon me storms of doubt such as I have never before gone through as a Christian.
Over halfway through the Bible, after going through book after book after book—sometimes there were psalms I could hardly bear to read—I came to the final chapters of Luke, and God enabled me to write Luke 23–24: Eyewitnesses & Faith. (I slightly edited it and republished in a later post and in the heading as ‘…the chains of Christ’s love’).
Through His Word, the Holy Spirit comforted my heart and in the midst of my storm strengthened me to trust God. Through His Word, God kept me lashed tight to Him so that I would not drown under the ninth wave.
John Owen wrote:
“Without absolutes revealed from without by God Himself, we are left rudderless in a sea of conflicting ideas about manners, justice, and right and wrong, issuing from a multitude of self-opinionated thinkers. We could never know who God is, how He is to be worshiped, or wherein true happiness lies…”3
In the passage we call the “Sermon on the Mount,” Jesus finished his teaching by telling a story of a devastating storm and flood and two houses.
Christ came, not to a place of shelter, but to a shattered and sinful world. We live in that world and we tell His gospel to that world. And sometimes our lives are shattered. The rain falls, the flood comes, the wind blows and slams against us. Reality may rip and roar, but a house built on the solid ground of the Rock will hold.
That’s why it’s important to read His Word.
The Ninth Wave, Ivan Aivazovsky: Public Domain. To see more details of the men as they cling to the mast click the image.
Waves crashing over The North Pier, Tynemouth: FreeFoto.com (Site has been deleted).
1Admiral William Henry Smyth, The Sailor’s Word-Book, 1867.
2“Aivazovsky, I. K. The Ninth Wave. 1850″. Auburn University. Via Wikipedia. Retrieved 29 December 2022.
3John Owen, Biblical Theology: The History of Theology from Adam to Christ, Stephen P. Westcott, translator (Soli Deo Gloria Publications, Grand Rapids MI: 1994) original Latin (Oxford: 1661) xl.
Copyright ©2022 Iwana Carpenter