I might not have noticed the repeated words if I had been reading my Bible instead of listening to it.
Sometimes when I’m short on time, I multitask by walking and listening to the Bible. I’m committed to reading the Bible through in a year, which takes approximately 15 minutes a day. I read a portion of the Old Testament, a portion of the New, and snippets from Psalms and Proverbs.
When my schedule is tight, I struggle with the desire to read the Bible and the desire to take a walk. I solved the dilemma the day I discovered the audio option on Bible Gateway. It’s a free app for phone or iPad. I open the app, select the section of Scripture I want to listen to, and voila’! Max McLean’s rich voice fills my ears with God’s Word.
Recently, I stuffed my headphones into my ears, dialed up the eighth chapter of Joshua on my iPhone, and took a walk.
“Now the Lord said to Joshua, ‘Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed;’” McLean read in his rich baritone.
Here’s the context: Joshua was preparing to lead the children of Israel into battle against Ai for the second time. The first time, you may remember, the Israelites suffered a profound defeat. One of their soldiers, Achan, had sinned by taking forbidden items from the spoils, and God had removed his hand of blessing from the army.
It’s not surprising, then, that Joshua needed some extra encouragement before he headed back into the fray.
“Do not be afraid or be dismayed; take all the people of war with you, and arise, go up to Ai. See, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, his people, his city and his land,” the Lord said.
“Do not be afraid or dismayed.” These words rang in my ears.
Half a mile and two chapters later, McLean read Joshua 10:25. This time, Joshua was speaking to the children of Israel as they prepared to conquer the remainder of the Promised Land.
“Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed;”
When I heard the same words, repeated with passion and conviction, my ears perked up. When God repeats himself, it’s important.
God told Joshua not to be afraid or dismayed, then Joshua told the Israelites not to be afraid or dismayed. Joshua received encouragement from the Lord, then he shared it with the people around him.
I realized I can do the same thing Joshua did. And so can you.
When we read God’s Word, God speaks to us. His Word encourages us, challenges us, inspires us, and gives us hope and direction. When we share what we read with others, we encourage them, challenge them, inspire them, and give them hope and direction.
God pours his Word into us, and then it flows through us to others.
Jesus promised, “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them” (John 7:38).
When we understand this, it gives extra meaning to our times of Bible reading. And extra motivation not to skip it. It’s bad if I miss a word from the Lord. It’s really bad if I miss a word from the Lord that I’m supposed to share with someone else.
Every day I need wisdom, hope, and direction. And every day I encounter others who need wisdom, hope, and direction. God provides this through his Word, and then he gives us the privilege of sharing it with others.
I encourage you, the next time you read God’s Word, pay attention. God has something for you, and, perhaps, something for you to share. Don’t miss it.
Stepping Out! How Our Footwear Impacts Our Faith
If you're in the Lexington, South Carolina area, I'd love for you to join me at Riverbend Community Church, 1015 Corley Mill Road, on Saturday, April 16 from 10-12:30 for their Annual Spring Brunch. Cost is $5 and includes food, fun, and fellowship.
Slip on your favorite shoes, grab a friend, and come on!
Reserve your spot by calling the church office at (803)356-8596.