Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 89:1-18; 147:1-11, Nehemiah 13:4-22, Revelation 12:1-12, Matthew 13:53-58
As the end of our two-year devotional cycle draws near, we return to Psalm 1, containing the words: “[H]is delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.”
We might like the idea of spending more time exploring scripture, but the reality of dwelling on it day and night may seem daunting, maybe even unnecessary. After we’ve read through the Bible (or the parts we consider important) once or twice, we may begin to feel we “get it” and become satisfied with our understanding. While we may learn some favorite passages to rely on in times of stress or joy, we may also feel the readings at church or bible have grown redundant, and start mentally composing a grocery list when “that scripture” comes up in the rotation. Does this sound like the delight promised in the Psalm?
If our study of scripture is to yield fruit we must return to it with the regularity and reliability of the seasons. Consider your own story for a moment. As you have matured, what new insights have you gained into the narrative of your life? How often does your understanding of the characters in your story evolve? What about your opinion of yourself and your actions? How do you view once beloved books, movies, and television programs from childhood? Though our core personalities are unlikely to change, what we knew firmly at fifteen may be a different story at fifty. And there is a certain delight in realizing we have better insight than we used to.
The same is true of our study of scripture. Each time we meditate on a passage, the experiences we’ve gained influence our understanding of the text. Sometimes the experience was intentional, such as reading a Bible commentary offering historical context. Other times the experience was more organic: hearing “love is patient, love is kind” on a wedding day is very different than hearing it after twenty years of living within a marriage. Life helps us understand scripture in new ways, and regular scripture reading helps us understand new things about life.
Comfort: Scripture is always waiting for us with new depths of truth.
Challenge: Commit to daily scripture reading through the end of the year.
Prayer: Gracious and merciful God, may your Word be ever on my heart.
Discussion: Has your understanding of any particular piece of scripture evolved over time?
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