Wednesday, February 18, 2015

"To Hide and To Keep"

"I will delight myself in Thy statutes.  I will not forget Thy Word."
(Psalm 119:16)

    Along with the reading of Scripture, I enjoy listening to the audio narration of God's Word.  I particularly like Alexander Scouby's version, and in the last three decades have been blessed by his eloquent and reverent reading during thousands of hours of listening.  Being more an audio than visual learner, this has served me well in my knowledge of the Bible.  I began with cassette tapes, proceeded to CDs, moved on to MP3 players, and just recently downloaded the entire Bible onto my smartphone.  It has become so easy to listen, and in days when the world has so many means by which to expose our minds to its darkness, I rejoice in (and recommend) this means of filling our hearts with the Light that prepares and enables us to faithfully walk with God.  "Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee" (Psalm 119:11).

    The Lord Jesus Christ called us to "Keep My commandments" (John 14:15).  This means something different than we often consider, hearkening to the Psalmist's hiding of God's Word.  "Keep" ("tereo" in the original Greek) means to guard and protect the Lord's commands, as opposed to the common notion of obeying them.  Certainly other passages of Scripture address the matter of obedience, but "keep" in our Savior's mandate references our determination to receive God's words, and then to exercise much care in preserving their powerful and necessary place in our hearts.  Our native tendency, however, tempts us to forget and neglect rather than hide and protect.  Indeed, the Lord does not refer to us as sheep for nothing!  In matters of the Spirit, we learn slowly and we require ongoing reminder and reaffirmation of God's Truth - "I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth" (II Peter 1:12).

    I literally cannot imagine what my life would have been like apart from the blessing of listening to the narration of Scripture.  This may not be what best enables you to hide and to keep.  Traditional reading may serve as your spiritual cup of tea.  Whatever the case, we must find our Lord's way to consistently and thoroughly saturate our interior being with His Word.  Our Heavenly Father calls us to "live by faith," and He proclaims that "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 1:17; 10:17).  The matter thus involves our spiritual survival.  Born again believers will not truly live in the Life that indwells us apart from consistently exposing ourselves to "the words of this life" (Acts 5:20).  We cannot believe promises or obey commands if we do not know they exist, or if through neglect, we let them slip away into forgotteness.  Most importantly, our Lord's heart awaits us in His Word, gracing us with the personal fellowship that elicits the knowledge of His love for us, and empowers our reciprocal love for Him.  The prophet closes our consideration with the attitude of heart that must characterize all who name the name of the Lord Jesus…

"Thy words were found and I did eat them, and Thy Word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart!  For I am called by Thy name, o Lord God of hosts!"
(Jeremiah 15:16)

Weekly Memory Verse
   That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
(John 3:6)


No comments: