For the better part of twenty years or so, I have taught Bible study in one form or another. In the beginning, I thought about taking over for a wonderful teacher who felt called by God, after many years, to step asides after teaching two different studies for many years. I was worried about whether I knew enough or not and so, for six months or so, I was hesitant to jump in. But eventually, it became evident that I was the one who was to step up – and I did.
I taught in a Red Lobster restaurant for several years and then moved the study to a LePeep restaurant – a place that served breakfast and lunch. We met at noon for a quick meal together and then, from 12:30 pm to 1:00 pm, I taught a chapter of the Bible. I remember that I started in Genesis, my favorite book, and we stayed together for a number of years.
Eventually, as our restaurant underwent some renovations, we moved the study into our home, where we have had a small group of devoted folks who have met together for somewhere around seventeen years. Almost five years ago, we met once and then took the rest of the year off, as Janet’s folks were dealing with their final illnesses and the group felt that it was best to adjourn for the summer. And then, last year, we didn’t meet as Janet was recovering from a severely broken left arm and shoulder.
Of course, this year, I am dealing with my severed tendon but we all miss getting together and I didn’t want to spend another year apart.
So… tonight we started our study for the summer. You see, we meet when most other studies are taking off for the summer – and then we continue until somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The capstone of our study each year is to have a dinner together at the home of one of our members. There is some comfort in the familiarity of knowing the protocol and how our group operates. It has been a tradition for a long time now and we have studied more than 28 books of the Bible, reading each one of them verse by verse and chapter by chapter…
In fact, when studying the Gospel of John, each member of our study who hadn’t been baptized by immersion wanted to experience coming out of the water with eyes open and heaven bound – the same way the Greek text tells us that Jesus was baptized. We’ve been through a lot together. We have experienced death in our families, problems with children and grandchildren, divorce and even marriage. It’s been a delight to go through life with this special group of people.
I’ve been thinking all week about our first study for the year tonight. But I am a little rusty as a teacher, having been off last year. It occurred to me that it is easy to get out of the habit of Bible study and, to a degree, that is what has happened to me. So it seemed only right that I think about rededicating myself to the study of God’s word and to making sure that I am diligent in my studies each week. I can’t help but be reminded of our verse for this evening from the book of Joshua, who was the understudy for Moses and led the people into the Promised Land after the death of Moses.
Joshua tells us, in Joshua 1:8, “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” This was the warning to the people of God. And it’s great advice for us as well, realizing that we also have the New Testament.
My encouragement this evening is that Jesus always wants us to enter into deeper relationships with Him and to study His word and His promises. My prayer is that all of us will remain committed to the study of the Bible and will meditate on it each day. In fact, in the ancient language, the word “meditate” means to “chew” on the word of God – much like a cow chews its cud – continuing to digest its food and extract every bit of nutrition from it! Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…