The word for learn has many meanings in the Bible. It can mean gain knowledge, hear about, discover, take to heart or understand. The word ‘disciple’ literally means ‘learner’ – so that once we stop learning we stop being a disciple. Becoming a disciple is not like learning to drive or how to make your soufflé rise, though. The journey of discipleship is deeper and takes longer, starting in infancy and going on through the stages of life until the very end.
In the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses constantly reminds the people Israel that they and their children must learn both to love and to ‘fear’ (i.e. stand in awe of) Yahweh. He is concerned that they learn what it means to be part of the people of God and the kind of attitudes and behaviour that are expected. Many years’ later the apostle Paul encourages his readers to do just the same.
Texts and Questions: Deuteronomy 6:1-9; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8.
- When did you last learn something new about the nature of God?
- What does Paul say to the Thessalonians? What does it mean to ‘please God’?
- How do we ensure that our children (and those in our church) learn about God?
Challenge: Be aware of your own behaviour for the next seven days and make a note of all the ways in which you acted like a person who had learnt to fear God (and the times when you didn’t!)
Prayer: At the end of each day this week, sit quietly alone. Invite God to be with you as you run through the events of the day in your head. Pay attention to your emotions. Ask yourself: ‘When did I feel most alive? For what am I most grateful? How might I do things differently another time?’ Don’t analyse but hand each response to God. Then commit the next day to him.