Have you ever seen a grade school child get excited about reading a new book? It’s heart-warming to see a 9-12 year-old so engrossed in reading a mystery or a sports biography that they can’t put it down. It thrills parents and grandparents to observe their kids discover the joy of reading.
Last week Chapman, my nine-year old grandson, strolled into our home after his youth football practice, carrying his Bible. His parents explained that in recent days he had become consumed with reading the book of Genesis. Entirely on his own, he became enamored with the New International Translation of the first book of the Bible.
After we ate dinner as a family, Chapman quietly slipped over to a nearby couch and unapologetically opened his Bible and started to read, ignoring the conversation around him. It was so interesting to him, he just couldn’t get enough.
He later informed his dad he was reading the story of Jacob who wanted to marry Rachel but Rachel’s father tricked him into marrying her sister Leah instead. The account was fascinating to Chapman and it was really fun to see him excited about a story the rest of us had known for years. My son Phil said, “But Leah had pretty eyes didn’t she?” Chapman responded, “No, dad. She had weak eyes.” Phil told me that a few days earlier Chapman had been reading the story of Sodom and Gomorrah and quipped, “Dad, this is inappropriate!”
As the family was leaving that night I commended Chapman for reading the Bible and encouraged him to continue. He texted me two days later, “Pop, I’m into Exodus.” I worry a little that when he gets into the latter part of Exodus and then Leviticus, he will be a little less enthusiastic. The detailed specifications of the tabernacle and of animal sacrifices don’t make for exciting reading to most of us, let alone to an easily distracted boy.
But I was thrilled to see my grandson eager to read the Bible. And it’s such a good reminder to the rest of us that God’s story is exciting and meaningful. King David wrote, “My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times (Psalm 119:20). And, “Your servant will meditate on your decrees. Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors” (23-24).
Chapman also convicted me. When I watched him so engrossed in Scripture I tried to recall the last time I was that eager to just read God’s Word. We used to sing a song, “I Love to Tell the Story” that contained the line, “It seems each time I hear it more wonderfully sweet.” But, that’s not usually true. Sometimes like the Athenians in the book of Acts we only want to hear something new and different.
Let me ask you, “When was the last time you picked up a Bible and just started reading it with fresh eyes? When was the last time you eagerly read Scripture like it was the first time you ever read the story? Jesus promised, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.” And, “Man doesn’t live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to never take your word for granted. Forgive me when I read the Bible casually. Forgive me even more when I don’t read it at all. May a little child lead me and help me to read the Bible with fresh eyes today. Help me to say with King David, “I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:10-11).
And Lord, it’s my fervent prayer that Your Word would be a lamp unto the feet and a light unto the path of every member of our family so that our circle may be unbroken for eternity. We pray in the name of Jesus, The Word who became flesh and lived among us. Amen.
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