Memorial Day weekend I attended a Christian gathering on the beach. It was something I started over five years ago when I was involved with a band. We would gather in a friend’s house and spend hours worshipping the Lord. The home, overflowing with people, gave me an idea – why not do this at the beach? We do, after all, live in sunny south Florida. And with that, ‘Beach Praise and Worship’ was born. (My good friend, Jim Weaver, picked up the battalion of leadership for this event and has done a marvelous job.)
So this past weekend I went and brought a few friends with me from TAK. We were having a great time, and I was enjoying catching up with old friends, until prejudice against Torah reared its ugly head.
You see, I was talking with two friends when I realized it was time to go. (I host a bible study at my house on Sunday evening.) One friend asked what we were studying and I replied, “Torah.” With a puzzled, almost disdainful look she asked, “Why?”
Having been involved primarily with Messianics lately, I wasn’t accustomed to this negative reaction and stumbled over my answer. But it got me to thinking about what started me on this journey.
If you’ve read my story, then you know that there were seeds planted a long time ago, but it wasn’t until 2008 – when my life fell apart – that God drew me to His Torah.
You see, right before this life-altering event, God warned me through His Word that this was coming.
Did you ever study God’s word and have the ink jump off the page and land on your face screaming, “PAY ATTENTION”? Well that’s exactly what happened to me while in Micah 4. God warned me that He was going to pull me out of my current ministry and life situation to make me ‘a strong nation’.
I was not a happy camper, and spent a long time wallowing in self-pity. But on April 5th of the following year I wrote in the margin of my bible, “Father, please help me to obey. Teach me what it is I am to obey.”
God answered that prayer by bringing me to His Torah by way of Psalm 119. Over and over I joined David in crying out for understanding, for God to teach me His ways.
Years later, I am still in awe reading verse 71, “It is for my good that I have been humbled; it was so I would learn your laws.” This is how God made me ‘a strong nation’ – by giving me His Torah. This is why I was ‘exiled’.
Do I keep His commandments perfectly? No, but my desire is to do His will. And honestly, even that desire is something He did for me – but that’s a story for another day.
So, to answer my friend’s question, “Why do I study Torah?” I can joyfully proclaim that God has ‘broadened my understanding’.