You can never go back

The end of the line. I always get sad when I reach it and tonight I am at that point of termination yet again. No, I’m not moving, but that makes me feel sad too. Tonight I will teach the last chapter of the book of 2 Samuel and be done with the study. In my two and a half years here I have taught all the way through: Acts, John, Ephesians, 1 Samuel, and Song of Solomon. Each time I come to the end I get nostalgic knowing I am going to miss the book. While teaching through I bond with the characters. Paul, Jonathan, David, Solomon, the Apostles and I become close friends as we hang out for hours and hours at a time 3 days a week, then–just like that– it’s over. I get Bible character emotional whiplash. I will even miss obscure people from the stories, like in 2 Samuel, I know I’m going to miss Asahel (who was as fleet of foot as a wild gazelle.) Fortunately, I learn way more than I teach each week so I am bringing much out of the study to take with me and I know I can go back for a cup of coffee with any of them as often as I want in the future. But it won’t be the same, you can never really go back.

And in a way that’s a good thing. Because the next time I journey into one of these books–there will be brand new lessons and truths waiting for me that I didn’t notice this time through, in addition to the lessons that I will need to be reminded of again. The Bible is a mine of inexhaustible truth. You can never reach the end of what God has for you there. That’s how you can read a verse or a passage you have read a million times and see something you have never seen. It’s a mistake to tune out a sermon if we have heard the text preached before or if we think we are already familiar with the doctrine in a particular passage. God always has something new and fresh waiting for us if we are willing to listen and engage with the right heart. Remember, it is a living book.

Martin Luther once said,
The Bible is alive, it speaks to me,
it has feet, it runs after me,
it has hands, it lays hold on me.