How often do we as evangelical believers take the time to literally rejoice in God’s Word? We read it at church, the pastor preaches from it (I hope), we spend time in it during our devotional time with God, and we memorize it. As a kid, of course nothing but the King James Version would do. Of course now, we have literally dozens of translations from which to choose. But again, how often do we rejoice in it?
At the end of Sukkot comes a wonderful Jewish celebration called Simhat Torah. It begins tonight. It is a time when the Scriptures are held high, taken from the bimah (the table for reading the torah usually in the center of the synagogue) and hoisted around the synagogue on the shoulders of the males carrying it, with songs and blessings joy echoing in all directions. This dancing with the Torah (known as hakafot) sometimes last for hours. It takes place not only within the setting of a synagogue, but also in yeshivot (Jewish religious schools) and even taken to the streets by Jewish communities around the world.
While Simhat Torah is observed as an encore day held at the end of this holiday that began with Rosh Hashanah, it also marks the start of the annual public weekly readings of the Five Books of Moses.
All of this makes me wonder why us Christians aren’t as intentional in rejoicing in God’s Word (both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures) as our Jewish friends? All too often it seems as though the reading of Scripture is one of those “ho-hum” moments within our worship services, making us yawn until the pastor preaches (which sometimes makes us yawn again… just kidding).
Seriously, maybe it’s time to us to carry the Word around our sanctuaries on our shoulders, rejoicing in God’s redemptive plan for us. As we know we are to “rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil. 4:4), take time today to rejoice in the Word.