They stood where they were and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day, and spent another quarter in confession and in worshiping the Lord their God. (Nehemiah 9:3)
There’s a sense in which spending time reading the Bible is like allowing God to perform open heart surgery on your life. Some read the Bible for the sake of simply knowing what it has to say. While that is, perhaps, a noble motivation, it falls short of how the Israelites interacted with God’s Word following the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem.
One of our responsibilities in reading the Bible is to read ourselves into it. We need to ask the questions, “What is God teaching me through this? Where do I fall short? Where do I need to allow Him to come in and change me?”
There should be a sense of brokenheartedness as we read the Bible because we understand more and more how far short we fall from God’s majestic perfection. In reading it, then, we come to the realization of His great grace with us. We don’t point fingers at the foolishness of others because we realize our own foolishness. While it’s true that the Israelites whored themselves to other nations and to other gods, we can’t honestly say we haven’t done the same to the gods of our time (consumerism, wealth, sexuality, etc.).
Allow God’s Word to perform heart surgery on you. Allow it to reveal your sinful motives and works. And then allow the richness of God’s mercy to flow over you as He performs open heart surgery on your life.
Father, keep me from thinking that I don’t need Your grace. Keep me from believing that I am better than the Israelites and that I’m worthy of You. Keep me from hardening my heart to Your Word and simply reading it for knowledge. Perform surgery on my heart, and mold me into Your character.