When Prepping for Bible Study is Hard
Updated: Oct 5, 2020
Recounting a moment when the Lord met me where I was when I was tired and not in the mood to read my Bible.
Have you ever been there before? Totally just not in the mood to read your Bible? Boy oh boy do I hate admitting that. There's an unrest in me knowing that there are days where studying the Bible is higher on my to do list than it is in my heart.
On a Tuesday afternoon, I sat on the floor looking at my Bible wondering how I could possibly compose a prayerful string of thoughts to share at a study with our student ministry gals. When there's a fleshly fog hovering over me and my desire for God's word is flaky, I feel like I don't even deserve to open His book.
What ensued over the next couple moments as urgency arose, knowing this needed to be accomplished, was by the working of the Spirit. Thankful!
My brain was like, Maggie, if you're going to share something from Philippians, and you don't even have reverence for your Bible, you need to check on that first.
I needed my desire to burn for Christ first before cohesive thought and diligence could come forth. I needed the work of the Spirit to change my heart so I could sit down and be in awe of the Living Word. My time with the Lord needed to come first and the overflow of that time would spur me on the prepare for sharing something else.
Before I could plan for anything else, I needed to spend time with God like He was my Creator, my Lord, my Savior and my Friend.
God's kind providence found me opening up the study I had been going through on my own, on the book of 1 Peter.
Read 1 Peter 2:9-10 the study instructed, so I did:
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:9-10
These verses have always encouraged me. When read by themselves, like I had done typically in the past, I was reminded of how important I was to God now as His kid. I was so thankful I was brought out of the darkness I had once lived in. But reading them that Tuesday afternoon took me far beyond my quick me, me, me reflections on the importance of my new life in Christ.
In explaining this text, the study took me to Exodus 19. The Old Testament, while incredible, wasn't extremely full of concepts and verses I had memorized, so as I read through the verses alongside my study book, I was shaken.
Exodus 19 recounts God explaining to Moses what Moses was to tell the Israelites when Moses was done spending time with God on Mount Sinai. Moses, by God's direction, was about to serve up the Ten Commandments to the people. This is what God told Moses to tell them:
"Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.” Exodus 19:5-6
Do you see what God said here? If we kept His commandments, He would make us a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. We would earn our keep. The Israelites responded with a resounding YES! They promised to do everything that the Lord asked of them. Wouldn't we do that, too?
"So Moses came and called the elders of the people and set before them all these words that the Lord had commanded him. All the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.” And Moses reported the words of the people to the Lord." Exodus 19:7-8
If you're familiar at all with the Old Testament, you know that this is not what the Israelites ended up doing. They complained. They sinned against the Lord. They had forgotten all He had done and all the ways He had delivered them. The Old Testament points to what Jesus would do while recounting all the moments the Israelites didn't do what they said they would.
Enter in King Jesus, wearing human flesh, in the New Testament. The One who lived a perfect life. He walked around teaching, healing, praying, and forgiving. Jesus told everyone He is the Son of God, that He would be betrayed, that He would die on the cross. And then He does. Then He rose from the dead, proving God's promises and securing eternal life for all who would believe in Him. Boom.
But it's a shocker that later Peter writes to the chosen exiles and Christians today that they are a holy nation, a kingdom of priests, and God's chosen people. How did Peter write this? How did he have the audacity? God told us that we would be those things if we kept His covenant and we didn't.
Jesus came to earth. Lived the perfect life I couldn't live. Died the death I should have died. To purchase for me eternal life. So that by faith I would die to self and live to Christ. Peter has full authority under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to write that we are what God always said we would be, by the power of the resurrection of Jesus.
Jesus stepped in my place and secured a seat for me at the table, and by faith in Him, your seat at the table.
Like the Daily Grace study pointed out to me, the Israelites (and I) could not, so we did not. But Jesus did, because He could. He loves us.
When I went to God with my exhaustion, feelings of defeat and unrest, and my reluctance to read His word, He changed my lazy and fickle heart. He met me right where I was at. He showed me part of His plan and His promises I had never known before. He enriched my heart and prepared me to do what He was calling me to, to study my Bible for the purpose of sharing it with my student ministry sisters.
And that I did. I studied with His promises and His faithfulness in mind.
He is that good, friend. He will meet you when you open His word for the first time and have no idea what you're doing and He will meet you when you've been a Christian for forty years and desire to be renewed.
So let's just admit it. Sometimes prepping for a Bible study is tough. Sometimes faithful Bible reading is hard to follow through with. But He is in it all. By faith we are His people. He is so worthy. He is so faithful. He is so good.