She is walking through the parking lot excited about a new prospect she has ahead of her. Leola Lurned squeezes her coat tighter as much a result of the cold as out of an uneasiness about attending church for the first time in ten years. This is her mother’s church, her grandmother’s church, and her family church. It is a traditional religious institution or so she thought. In the time she attended before she doesn’t remember ever walking out of a sermon with anything that would make her a better Christian. She was a ‘knob shaker’ extraordinaire during the time she graced the building with her presence, but it is different today. Today, she is expecting something different, something life changing and she will not be disappointed!
Growing up Leola never saw religion in her house even though Sunday best was a requirement. She came from a ‘knob shaking’ family! She wondered no more about where she got her ideas and habits about God. The door to the church was easy to open and enter though what was to come would be harder. The hall was filled with familiar but unknown faces, some smiling, some frowning, some talking and some listening. The noise was an indicator she was on time. Leola wandered the halls from memory to the sanctuary to find a seat. True to her word of last week she had been reading the Scriptures daily without understanding. He lack of understanding gave her reason to look for a legitimate escape from that daunting task. She found a seat in the back row praying under her breath it doesn’t belong to a bitter old man who has a need to sit in the same seat every week. Sitting down Leola drags her brain for just one iota of information she understood from Scripture this week.
How many times did we have to drive before we understood how to do it well? How many times did we cook a meal before we understood spices? How long have we worked at our job before we understood it enough to be competent? Obedience to a manual or a recipe was the key to understanding each of those topics. How do we think we can understand Scripture if we don’t obey Them? In our walk with God whether we are baby Christians or seasoned Christians we look for excused to avoid putting time into knowing Elohim. I remember when the Father first called me I actually had no idea I was supposed to read the Bible. No one told me ‘to know God is to know Scripture’ and if they did my ears were not hearing. It wasn’t until I learned of the familial relationship between Jesus and John the Baptist was a zeal for His Words put into my heart.
Up until that point the only obedience I could be accused of is confessing my sins to each other (James 5:16). I had no understanding of Scripture or His commandments and no understanding how to escape my sin either. I was fooling myself in thinking shaking the doorknob once a week was going to give me the skills I needed to improve my life. My lack of understanding was no longer valid after that and neither is yours. We do not have an excuse for a lack of understanding of the Scripture because it is outright disobedience to the Lord. We think if we read the Word over and over we will eventually understand it but according to the Word Itself our understanding comes from the obedience of the Words we are reading. One day we will stand before Jesus and NO excuse will be valid. Ignorance is not bliss in God’s economy because the escape is obedience. We must make it a priority to understand His Words through the obedience of the Words. We have the escape now let us take it!
Leola is pulled from her thought when the Pastor begins to speak into the microphone perfectly placed on the pulpit to his tall stature. He begins with a prayer so soft at first she can barely comprehend the words then the sound rises above her pounding heart to her ears. He is speaking directly to her and it makes her uncomfortable. He asks God to bless us with complete understanding of the Words God has given Him to speak on this day. Would God so touch us that we would feel it down to our core? Would He give us the power to obey Him thereby getting understanding of the Scriptures. How did the Pastor know? How did he know Leola’s silent struggle to sustain her resolve to read Scripture? How did he know she was looking for an excuse to quit?
Leola stared wide eyed at the Pastor! There was a sensation in her she had never felt before. Before she could get over the last shock, he threw out another one. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. (Psalm 111:10) His bold knowledge of her struggle continued to make her feel awkward. He knew she was looking for excuses and Leola’s cheeks beamed bright red with embarrassment at the prospect of him knowing such a deep secret. She wanted to leave but her sudden fear of gossip kept her planted in that seat. She continued to listen with great distress believing he would soon publicly call her out. When she thought she was going to explode she heard the Pastors words, “God knows you so deeply, even you will be amazed at His understanding of your struggles!” He glanced at her with such love in his eyes she knew that new sensation was Jesus! Her resolve returned out of love for the Man! She knew she needed to continue in her promise to read the Scriptures every day excited to allow the Spirit to talk to her about obedience. She understood one thing this Sunday morning, her excuses are not escapes; obedience is the escape!
Our own understanding of the Scriptures will not come until we obey the Scriptures and we cannot obey the Scriptures if we never read them. Therefore in all of your getting in life, get understanding!