Sometimes I literally forget to look up. I so busy working that my gaze is focused either down at my work or ahead to where I am going next. The beach cures that. There is something about the open space that invites a study of the clouds and contemplation of the horizon. Last Thursday night was a perfect example. I joined thousands of other people on the beach for the annual 4th of July fireworks display. The lights of boats and ships twinkled off shore as all heads looked up in anticipation of what was about to take place. The fireworks began. Collective “Ooooo’s” and “Ahhhh’s” went out from the crowd. A shooting star shared the sky with one burst of the fireworks as if to remind us that another hand was at work. People in the crowd shouted, “Did you see that? Did you see that?” It was probably one of the most beautiful summer evenings I can remember.
Too often, when reading the Bible, I forget to look up and take in the whole picture. It’s 6 o’clock in the morning, I am trying to get the passages read before heading off to work, and I really couldn’t care less what allotments of land Joshua gave the different tribes of Israel. Then Jeremiah speaks,
How can you say ‘We are wise, for we have the law of the Lord,’ when actually the lying pen of the the scribes has handled it falsely…Since they have rejected the word of the Lord, what kind of wisdom do they have?Jeremiah 8:8-9.
God asks me just why I am reading his Word. Is it to check it off the daily to do list from which I derive some sense of meaning and earn my existence or is it to draw close to him? Last Thursday night, I was part of the celebratory crowd. This morning I am called to share in an even greater celebration.
Let them praise the name of God–it’s the only Name worth praising. His radiance exceeds anything in earth and sky; he’s built a monument–his very own people! Praise from all who love God! Israel’s children, intimate friends of God. Hallelujah! Psam 148:14
I don’t come to the Bible to become better, wiser or holier. I come to God’s Word to “Love the Lord my God with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my mind.” My eyes may be turned down toward the page, but I am invited to look up and out to him who loves me beyond measure. I pray I remember this through the day and stay close to God’s heart.