When the Word of God is open, we read the story of God and us. We see the ebb of our disobedience and rebellion and the flow of God's discipline, his grace, and his mercy. We begin to understand ourselves and our God. "And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate. And they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses that the Lord had commanded Israel" (Nehemiah 8:1). Ezra read from the book all day, every day for days, and when he stopped reading, the people confessed their sins and worshipped their Creator, ""You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you" (Nehemiah 9:6). They worshipped their Savior, "You are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them" (Nehemiah 9:17). They worshipped their God, "the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love" (Nehemiah 9:32).
Jesus said to his disciples, "Follow me," because transformation is a journey. It happens over time and trouble. "He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion" (Philippians 1:6) is God's promise of process, persistence, and perseverance with us. If it is not good yet, God is not done yet, because "we know that for those who love God all things work together for good" (Romans 8:28). When the Word of God is open, we see the big picture of our God, who is faithful and wonderful and mighty and merciful. God is the author of life and, therefore, "the joy of the Lord is our strength" (Nehemiah 8:10).
My God, I celebrate Your goodness, Your love, Your grace and mercy, Your majesty. I sing loudly with joy, because You are good and You are my God. The joy I find in You gives me strength to overcome, because nothing compares. Certainly not the cheap pleasures of this world. May I wake each day, delight in Your Word, and walk in the joy set before me.
Keep my memory fresh, God, of the ways You have worked in my life. May I draw on Your faithfulness when times are tough, when my strength wavers, when it is dark. I know You are with me, help me remember You always will be.