Give Me the Bible
To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, March 25.
This is the story of a family in the African country of Uganda.
Father loved God. Mother loved God. The children loved God. But they didn’t really know what God said in the Bible. Even though they went to church every Sunday, they never read the Bible. In fact, the priest at church told them that they didn’t need to read the Bible. The priest said that it was his job to read the Bible and explain what God wanted them to do.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic turned everybody’s life upside-down. Father could not work. Mother could not work. The children could not go to school.
The family had a lot of free time. When a neighbor named Stuart offered to study the Bible with the family, Father decided it would be a good time to read what the Bible says and to see it with his own eyes.
Stuart came over to the family’s home with his Bible. Father, Mother, and the children gathered around to read the Bible with their guest.
The family read the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20: “You shall have no other gods before Me … You shall not make for yourself a carved image. … You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain” (NKJV). Father was shocked when they reached the fourth commandment, which says, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work” (Exodus 20:8-10).
“What is this about the seventh day of the week being the Sabbath?” Father asked.
Mother also was surprised, and the children looked perplexed. They had always gone to church on the first day of the week, Sunday. Now the Bible said the correct day was the seventh day of the week, Saturday.
Stuart explained that God had set aside the seventh day as holy in the beginning, when He created the world. He read stories from the Bible about how Jesus worshiped on the seventh-day Sabbath.
“God never changed the Sabbath to Sunday,” he said. “There is no verse in the Bible where God changes the day.”
Father grew even more amazed. He read the Bible verses for himself. Sure enough, everything that Stuart said was true. Then Father become sad.
“I’m so disappointed that I have spent all these years worshiping God on the first day of the week instead of the seventh day as the Bible commands,” he said.
He promised that he and his family would only worship God on the seventh-day Sabbath from that day forward.
Immediately after learning the Bible truth about the Sabbath, Father said that he wanted to be baptized the way that Jesus was baptized. Jesus was baptized by immersion; His entire body was dipped under the water. Father had been baptized by sprinkling many years earlier, when he was a little baby; a priest had sprinkled water on his tiny head.
Father was happy that he was reading the Bible for himself. He was seeing for the first time what God really wanted him to do.
But the priest was upset when he learned that Father wanted to get baptized and to join the Adventist Church. He came to the house and tried to convince Father to change his mind.
“You should not pay attention to the Adventists,” he said.
The priest refused to leave the house. He stayed for several days and nights, trying to convince Father not to join the Adventist Church.
The children wondered what would happen. Mother wondered what would happen. Father did not change his mind. He had seen with his own eyes what God said in the Bible, and he was determined to obey God.
Father told the priest, “You never allowed me to read the Bible for myself, and you never let me ask questions about the things that I didn’t understand. You said that the Bible is only for the priests and that I had to obey whatever you taught. But now I know what the Bible says, and I will obey only God.”
The priest was not about to give up. When the day of Father’s baptism arrived, he and several other priests stopped Father from leaving the house.
Father had to postpone his baptism for another day. But then the priests again prevented him from being baptized.
Four times the priests stopped Father from being baptized. The priests also offered Father an expensive gift if he would change his mind: a brand-new house.
The children wondered what would happen. Mother wondered what would happen. Father turned down the gift of the house. He wanted to obey God more than anything else. He asked the pastor to schedule his baptism a fifth time.
On the day of the baptism, the priests arrived at the house with a group of Father’s old Sunday church friends. They tried to block Father from going to the baptism. Father refused to be stopped again. Somehow, he made it to his baptism.
Today, the children are happy that Father got baptized, and they also would like to get baptized. Mother is happy that Father got baptized, and she also would like to get baptized. Most of all, Father is happy that he got baptized. He didn’t get a new house from the priests. He lost some of his friends from his old church. But he is happy because he is now able to read the Bible and see with his own eyes exactly what God wants him to do. He is encouraging all his relatives, friends, and neighbors to read the Bible, too.
Do you read the Bible?
Thank you for your Thirteenth Sabbath Offering today that will help many people in Uganda learn about the Bible through a youth training center in the town of Nchwanga. In all, the offering will help six mission projects in five countries. Thank you for your generous offering.