Friday, June 10, 2016

Deepening Your Delight in the Word of God

This past Sunday we kicked off our Summer in the Psalms with a look at the first one, and there we discovered that the "blessed man"--that man or woman who is experiencing the favor of God--finds delight in the law of the Lord, meditating in it day and night. I drew the rather plain implication from the text that if you don't delight in God's Word, you may well not be a blessed person at all. The one who does not love God's Word cannot claim assurance of salvation, since it is the Word that gives us the promise of salvation, not to mention the gospel, the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and the story behind our need of him.

But I would readily admit that our delight in God's Word can and should grow and deepen. How might we see that happen?

I would suggest that the passage itself gives us one clear way--the action that follows the description of this truth is "in this (God's) law he meditates day and night." The simple truth is that there is no substitute for regular, consistent exposure to the Word. Here are some things that may or may not be a part of your life, but should be.

1. Bible reading. You have the tremendous privilege of having a Bible. Use it. The vast majority of church goers in the USA do not read their Bible regularly with any significance. The satirical site "The Babylon Bee" had this "story:" Local Man Still on Track to Finish Reading Entire Bible By End of This Century. How I wish that weren't actually the common practice--read a few verses when you feel like it. You would never read a letter or a novel in dribs and drabs. And you wouldn't read a letter by choosing random sentences. Choose a book and work through it. Make it a goal to cover the entire Bible--you don't want to miss the riches you might find in a book you've ignored.

2. Bible reflection. You must take time to think about what you are reading. What is it saying? Why? Can I understand why this is here? You should also think about the riches you may be reading. Are there promises or provisions from God that you are taking for granted? Are there sins to be avoided? Are there reminders of great things that are ahead or deliverances received in the past?

3. Bible memorization. Find passages of Scripture that speak to your heart, or address a particular sin you battle, or encourage you with a truth you need to remember. Learn it by heart. It can be a verse or two, or it can be a paragraph, chapter, or more. The Bible tells us that hiding God's Word in our heart keeps us from sinning (Ps. 119:9, 11).

4. Bible listening. You can use the "YouVersion" Bible app to follow any number of plans through the Bible where you hear it read. This is how most people learned the Word of God for generations, along with listening to sermons and learning scriptures set to music. That's another form of Bible listening that is helpful, too.

5. Bible study. You may discover that your reading and your reflection don't give you confidence that you know what the text means. Learn how to study the Bible. One method you can learn is Inductive Bible Study, used by both Bible Study Fellowship (available in our area) and Precept Ministries (there are Precept classes taught here at Grace). There are other methods, too, that teach you how to understand the text, how to use Bible study tools that are easily available, and how to come to a point where you can be confident that you have learned the basic meaning of the Scriptures. A book that has been helpful to many is Dig Deeper. It teaches you the basic principles of study that guarantee you don't go off into accidental heresy!

This coming Sunday, Chris Miller is going to give you an example of a psalm that shows what the writer thinks about the blessings of the Word of God, and how it changes your life. Listen, and then ask yourself, do I want those experiences, those comforts, and those riches? Be ready to be encouraged as you hear about Psalm 19.