Don't Just Read the Bible, Do the Bible
Each new cadet at West Point receives a small book entitled Bugle Notes. Bugle Notes covers everything from information about miliary tradition to the academy's code of conduct.
It contains 11 leadership principles, 66 Legends of the Corps, 100 words of army slang, and 20 quotes from iconic figures from Ronald Reagan to Robert E. Lee.
Each new cadet, or Plebe, must memorize Bugle Notes perfectly, word for word.
If an upperclassman asks a Plebe, "How many lights in Culman Hall?" The Plebe must answer, "340 lights in Culman Hall, sir."
If an upperclassman asks a Plebe, "How's the cow?" The Plebe must answer, "Sir, she walks, she talks, she's full of chalk, the lacteal fluid extracted from the female of the bovine species is highly prolific to the nth degree."
What's the purpose of memorizing such an assortment of information, historical facts, and seemingly pointless statements about cows?
It's a test of commitment.
A graduate of West Point becomes an Army officer. And while you don't have to know a lot about a cow to win a war, you do have to pay attention to detail and be committed to following orders without question.
Before he goes into battle, God gives His commander, Joshua, his orders.
Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.Joshua 1:7-8
For Joshua to have "good success", he had to be committed to the Word of God.
The Command Is Not To Have a Bible
God never called us to just have a Bible. God never called us to just read the Bible. God never called us to simply know a lot about the Bible. God called us to do what the Bible says.
If a Plebe must spend so much time memorizing Bugle Notes, how much more should the people of God be committed to reading, meditating on, and memorizing the Word of God?
The average American spends over 5 hours a day on a smartphone.
Only 32% of people who attend church regularly say they read the Bible every day. 27% say they read it a few times a week. 12% say they read the Bible rarely, if ever.
For Joshua "good success" was contingent on doing what God says.
87% of Americans own a Bible. The average American household actually owns three Bibles.
God never called us to just have a Bible. God didn't even call us to just read the Bible. God calls us to do what the Bible says.
We must be committed to the Word of God to have good success.
Bible Study and Challenge
Read Joshua 1:6-9.
- List the commands in the passage. Obey them.
- List the promises of the passage. Believe them.
- How does this passage call us to praise God for His Word?
Keep a time log of how much time you spend reading the Bible over the next 7 days. Compare that time to the usage time on your smartphone. What can you do to reduce your time on your phone and commit that time to the Word of God?