Words of Worth

Repetition is a Good Teacher

November 23, 2017

Repetition is a good teacher. Or so they say! And if that is true, God, the Master Teacher, has repeated Himself about something many times over. Do you know what it is?

I thought the most repeated commandment was something like, “love one another”, or “fear not”. I had even heard a sermon recently which claimed there are 365 “fear nots” in the Bible—one for each day of the year! So, I had to check this out and when I did, I found out that, depending on the version of the Bible, there are up to 500 “fear nots” in the Bible, and about 15 “love one another” in the New Testament.

Curiosity got the best of me, and caused me to dig deeper and just in time for Thanksgiving! I discovered that in addition to “fear not”, God’s most repeated commands are: “rejoice”, “give thanks”, and “praise the Lord”. This boils down to, in my mind, be joyful! God’s most repeated command is to be joyful! In all the deep trials, intense suffering, drowning sorrow, and paralyzing fear we all experience, God wants us to be joyful.

Why is repetition a good teacher? A good teacher will repeat themselves for several reasons: to underscore the importance of something, to get students to pay attention, or to equip them for further learning. God, as the Master Teacher, repeats Himself in order to highlight important principles and to equip His people for spiritual maturity. God’s repeated commands are not necessarily His most significant commands. The most important commandments in Scripture are to love God and love people (Mark 12). However, the best way for us to obey the most important commands is to put into practice the most repeated commands. Loving God and loving people, the two most important commandments in Scripture, is directly related to the most repeated command of being joyful.

For example, if we look at just one repeated command- GIVE THANKS-we see that God is asking us to look beyond the trials, sufferings, sorrows, and fears, which can steal our joy, to His all sufficient grace which abounds in every circumstance.

18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
(I Thessalonians 5:18).

When we obey the repeated command of giving thanks, we overcome our negative, complaining, and sinful emotions and replace them with God’s grace, sovereignty, and good purposes for us. Thankfulness then pours over those with whom we interact, often inspiring them to overcome their own grumbling and discontent. This is how we love God and love others.

God repeatedly says to rejoice, praise Him, not fear, and give thanks, so that He can equip His people to love Him and others and experience what will bring them true joy! As you gather around the table this Thanksgiving, there may be a loved one missing, a loved one with a bad health report or severe trial, or a loved one with deep sorrow. In the midst of all that real suffering, God repeatedly says to be joyful because this is how we best love Him and others!

1Oh come, let us sing to the LORD;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
3 For the LORD is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
Psalm 95

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