Movies about sports and war are often marked by great speeches. The battle (or championship game) is nearing its end, the underdog team is near-defeated. A leader steps forth and, with as many courageous words as he or she can muster, reminds the people what they are fighting for.
One of the most iconic speeches in cinematic history is William Wallace’s speech in “Braveheart.” In the movie, the Scots were outnumbered and out-resourced by the English army. And as the final battle drew closer and many considered giving up, Wallace (played by Mel Gibson) stepped in (or rather, rode in on a horse).
“Run, and you’ll live, at least a while,” he said. “And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days, from this day to that, for one chance—just one chance—to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom?”
History is also marked by great speeches: The Gettysburg Address, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream,” Winston Churchill’s “We Shall Fight on the Beaches,” Lou Gehrig’s “Farewell to Baseball.”
The same thing happens more than a dozen times in the Bible.
In nearly every pivotal moment in Biblical history, a leader steps forth and delivers a farewell address. We see this with Moses (Deuteronomy 6), Joshua (Joshua 24), David (1 Kings 2:1-4), Nehemiah (Nehemiah 8) and Jesus (Matthew 28:18-20).
Many Old Testament prophets closed their writings with a final charge to God’s people. Later on, when the disciples and other apostles wrote the New Testament letters, they did the same.
And in Revelation, Jesus offers a final message to all (Revelation 22:7-16).
In all of these “famous last words,” one theme is common: Don’t give up. Remain faithful to God and His Word. He is worth it.
Over the last 60-plus weeks, I’ve written “Route 66: A weekly journey through all 66 books of the Bible.” I’ve learned so much, as I hope you have, about each book of the Bible and how they all fit together to tell one, continual story of redemption, hope and love. Even the smallest books like Obadiah and Jude are, as 1 Timothy 3:16 says, “God-breathed and useful.”
And so, as I wrap up this series, I wanted to leave you with a final charge of my own.
Don’t give up. Remain faithful to God and His Word. He is worth it.
And read your Bible every day.
The Bible is not just a book of instructions or a well-written story. It’s a healing balm. It sparks courage and comforts the brokenhearted. It confronts our sin and reveals the path to wholeness, righteousness and freedom. It teaches us how to pray. It shows us we are not alone in our struggles. It shows us our identity and our purpose. And It shows us how much we are loved by the God who created us and sent His Son to save us from our sins and give us new life.
It has the power to transform all who read it.
Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is alive and active.”
Something beautiful and supernatural happens when we open the Word of God.
Like the hands of a surgeon operating on the heart, God’s Word works in us, mending our hearts.
But God can only do this healing work if we are cultivating a relationship with Him every day by spending time with Him in His Word.
Reading the Bible every day is no small task, and reading every word of it is daunting. There are parts that are confusing, parts that intimidate us and parts we altogether avoid because they point out things we don’t want to deal with.
But when we open God’s Word and look for Him in it, we can see His goodness and grace on every page. We can learn who He is and who we are because of Him.
I hope that Route 66 has helped you approach God’s Word with confidence. I hope it has made the Bible a little less intimidating and a little more exciting and approachable. I hope it will be a tool that helps you fall more in love with God’s Word as you read it.
I’ve been grateful to have a wealth of resources available to help me understand and interpret the Bible in approachable ways.
Much of my research came from The Bible Project, a free online resource with videos and other materials “to make the Biblical story accessible to everyone, everywhere.” I’ve drawn helpful information from commentaries and dictionaries, and I’ve asked people who are much smarter than I am for their wisdom.
But like all of those things, Route 66 is a resource. It is a supplement to the Bible, not a substitute. I pray that it has made you want to open your Bible and experience God’s good Word for yourself.
To read Route 66, visit The Outlook’s website, www.southeastoutlook.org.
Bailey Foxworth is assistant editor of The Southeast Outlook.