RITE OF PASSAGE: Wonder Book
“How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to Your word. I seek You with all my heart; do not let me stray from Your commands. I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You” (Psalm 119:9-11).
A little boy walked into the living room and opened the big family Bible. Fascinated, he fingered through the old pages. As he did so, something dropped to the floor. He picked up the object and examined it. What he saw was an old leaf that someone had pressed between the pages. Quickly, he ran into the bedroom to find his mother. “Mommy, Mommy! Look what I found in the Bible!” he shouted.
“What did you find?” his mother asked.
With astonishment, the little boy answered, “Wow! I think it’s Adam’s underwear!”
What has happened to us? At one point in our lives, the Bible was an exciting, mysterious and holy book. My mom loved to collect interesting tidbits about the Bible. Did you know that Psalm 118 is the center of the Bible? The chapter before it, Psalm 117, is the shortest chapter in the Bible. The chapter after it, Psalm 119, is the longest.The Bible has 594 chapters before Psalm 118 and 594 chapters after Psalm 118. If you add up all the chapters except Psalm 118, you get a total of 1,188 chapters. Psalm 118, verse 8 is the middle verse of the entire Bible. And what is the message found in verse 8? “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man” (Psalm 118:8).
When you and I were growing up, the Word of God was something to be cherished. Do you remember the day you received your very own Bible? You took it with you to Sunday School, church training, everywhere. You read, studied and memorized it. It was as much a part of your life as wearing shoes. But along the way from childhood to adulthood, the priority of God’s Word sometimes gets lost. Today, many have replaced their Bibles with a Christian T-shirt, a WWJD bracelet, a cross ring or necklace as the symbol of being a Christian.
Yet, there is a direct relationship between God’s Word and your child’s ability to live a holy life. How can young men and young women keep their way pure? According to the Bible, it happens not only through reading the Word of God but also by allowing our lives to come under complete obedience to it. That information won’t come from church attendance, Christian merchandise or Christian fellowship. It happens only as the Spirit of God takes the Word of God and applies it to your heart.
Many years ago, I learned a song that I can still sing with enthusiasm. The B-I-B-L-E. Yes, that’s the book for me. I stand alone on the word of God. The B-I-B-L-E! When I was a child, it was the book for me. When I became a young man, it was still the book for me, and now that I have my AARP card, it is still the book for me. I can think of few honors greater than being called a man of the Word. I don’t know what others will say about me when I am gone, but I pray that my life shows my love for the Word and its Author.
Sitting on my desk is a Bible I have used for 35 years. The pages are falling out and Scotch tape holds the cover together. It contains notes from Genesis to Revelation with words underlined and highlighted. It holds autographs of respectable preachers I have met on my journey.
One of the first things I wrote in my Bible many years ago as a teenager was, “This book will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from this book.” I often quote that statement to those I teach today.
You are your children’s primary discipler in the ways of God. Lead them to open his Word. You will never imagine the impact the discoveries they make will have on their lives and those of generations to come. Even when all they find is . . . Adam’s underwear.
Dear Father, It takes so much to raise children. I am responsible for their food, shelter, clothing and well-being. Sometimes these urgent matters get in away of the most important task: being their spiritual leader. Today, make it my priority that they have a daily intake of your Word. Father, may I feed my children today from the overflow you have given me. Amen.