The Lost Art of Searching the Scripture

A few weeks ago I shared a message to our church entitled, “The Lost Art of Seeking the Lord.” The gist of the message was that our present culture is not conducive to the practice of seeking after God.

We are living in a “get it now” society that feeds short attention spans and an attitude of impatience. Nearly anything a person could want is available in an instant. There’s rarely a need to wait for anything. Traditional bookstores are closing. Why? Who wants to drive to the bookstore, peruse through aisles of bookshelves searching for a book when you can find it on the Internet and download it to your iPad or kindle in seconds?

search the scriptureMost young people today don’t even know what a card catalog is, let alone the Dewy Decimal System. And I can’t blame them. Who would want to look for 021.009CAD among the endless rows of library shelves when Google will return any information you want in less than 1 second?

I still remember going to the Christian bookstore to search for a cassette tape of my favorite Christian group. (yes, cassette tape!) The store even had an area where you could put sample cassettes in a player and listen to the latest songs before you bought the album. Today, no one hardly even buys CDs. Why would you? With iTunes you can instantly download nearly any song ever recorded. Now with Amazon Prime, one can opt for same day delivery! That boggles my mind. I can buy something via the Internet and have it delivered to my doorstep the same day! I don’t even have to wait at Taco Bell. With their new app, I can order what I want from my phone and my Dorito Locos tacos will be ready when I walk through the door.

The mentality of our “get it now” culture is not conducive to seeking after God. Seeking after God is a process – it takes spending a little time and having a little patience. In a society of people conditioned to get anything they want in an instant, people have little use for searching…seeking….knocking…..pressing…….waiting…….

We must not lose the art of seeking after God. Let’s not hurry through our time of prayer and meditation, but patiently wait and listen for His voice and direction. Let’s be willing to seek Him until we find Him and knock until He opens the door. Answers rarely come and doors don’t usually open for the impatient masses that our culture has produced.

An “I want it now” attitude doesn’t lend itself toward searching the search the scripturescripture, either. Excavating the Word of God like an archeologist digs for a precious artifact doesn’t come natural to those accustomed to having what they want in an instant. Those only concerned with immediate gratification are not the type to diligently search the scriptures like a gemologist mines for a prized jewel. Like the art of seeking the Lord, searching the scripture also takes patience, diligence and tenacity.

I’m grateful for all the Bible study resources on the Internet. I know how convenient it is to search Google for the answer to some Bible question. I have software that puts at my fingertips more bibles, books and commentaries than what fill all the shelves of my personal library. But I wonder if all those tools further perpetuate the “get it now” attitude so prevalent in our culture.

Jesus encouraged us in St. John 5:39 to “search the scriptures.” Paul commended the noble saints of Berea who “searched the scriptures daily.” I’m not opposed to the Internet or bible software, I just don’t want those tools to nurture my impatience or hinder my diligence. They can be shortcuts that return fast answers yet short-circuit the art of searching the scripture.

The deep things of God are rarely discovered by the hurried masses accustomed to same day delivery and immediate downloads. 

Proverbs 25:2 tells us, “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: But the honor of kings is to search out a matter.” There are pearls of truth and gems of wisdom that are hidden to all but those with the patience and tenacity to excavate the layers of God’s Word. The deep things of God are rarely discovered by the hurried masses accustomed to same day delivery and immediate downloads. Don’t think the mysteries “which hath been hid from ages and from generations” (Colossians 1:26) will be manifest in a moment to those with short attention spans or too little time to linger in the Word.

Search the scripture. Your answer is there. It may just take a little time to find it. Your answer will come – It just doesn’t always have a “same-day delivery” option. The guidance you’re seeking can be found – you may just have to search longer than the time it takes Google to return an answer. The hope and encouragement you need is in the Word – you may just have to unearth it layer by layer. And, when we discover the art of searching the scripture, we find out that the searching is as important as the answer it brings!

~Pastor Matthew Ball

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