“Pull at your soul, and draw it aside from the company that it is with and round, and whisper into it news of eternity, death, judgement, heaven and hell.”
SAMUEL RUTHERFORD, 1637
Psalm 1 indicates that it is possible not only to delight in God’s word, but just like hydrating throughout the day, it has astounding and lifegiving benefits. But developing a desire for Scripture, gaining an actual regular habit of sitting with a bible (or various digital options) in hand, open and ready to hear from God, that’s an ongoing challenge.
So just how does one develop a regular time with God in his Word?
May I relate what happened to me? Years ago while at seminary, I realized that I could read scripture when and as required, and even know what it says to a degree. But I didn’t love it, or even have a taste for it, I wasn’t aware of what I was missing, or value its life-changing properties. There was no regular time set aside to hear God’s word “whisper into my soul matters of eternity, death, judgement, heaven and hell.”
The Lord graciously brought me to a point where I was distressed about my lack of desire, when I simply asked God to give me a love for his Word. That’s it. And he wasn’t about to say no.
It still required intentionality. I didn’t just develop the habit overnight. But as I developed a taste for its unique and various flavors, God’s word became food for me. As I fed off it regularly, I began to realize the profound ways that it was nurturing me.
At some point Sherry and I began yearly bible reading plans. We wanted to get a big picture of God’s work in history, but in the busy child-raising years we sometimes got so far behind we ended up skipping whole books of the bible! But we kept at it. Now, after 50 years of marriage (!!) our time in the word is like breathing, or as natural as eating. We definitely notice that something is missing if our time in the word is neglected. But more important, love for our Lord who is revealed to us in scripture is stimulated daily as we in His word.
This Sunday Randall Gruendyke will do a “flyover” of the 176 verses in Psalm 119, reminding us again that the word of God is meant to be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. May we, the people of Grace, find new resolve and joy to dive enthusiastically into holy scripture that is “better than gold.”
One of the many lovers of God’s word at Grace,
SUGGESTION: A STARTER QUIET TIME
We all know that as followers of Christ, time in the word of God draws us closer to him, giving us a perspective that this world knows nothing of. So just how can we develop a taste for a regular time with God?
May I suggest a simple, non-intimidating way to start? First, set aside 15 minutes, as early in the day as possible.. Next choose something short and doable, say – the little “book” of Philemon. Maybe you want to start with the 6 minute overview from the Bible Project on YouTube. Then open up to Philemon and pray, asking the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to see the wonders he has waiting for you.
The goal is not to get more information (when was the letter written, did Paul really write it, etc.) but for your heart to get warmed.
Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon our beloved fellow worker and Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier, and the church in your house: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints…
Notice how these early verses are relational?
Why don’t you stop, and thank God for the community of believers he has surrounded you with? You will literally be doing what Paul does in verse 4 (I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers).
….and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.
Moving to verse six, it talks about partnering in the faith. Do you partner, or are you a lone ranger? Confess that to the Lord. One way to partner is to be an encourager.
Verse seven mentions that love fosters joy and encouragement and refreshes the Lord’s people. How about deciding to text three people right now, letting them know that you’re praying for them? Or reach out to that neighbor who just lost a loved one? The possibilities are endless. The Lord will bring something to mind.
There, you did it. Your 15 minutes are up, and your heart is warmed, and you are about to warm someone else’s heart as well.
Tomorrow, do it all over again, picking up in Philemon where you left off. The Lord will help you, but the time does need to be intentionally set aside, or some other pressing need will likely interrupt, and the day will make its demands. Early is better, because then what God shows you can be lived out as the day unfolds, and your transformation, no matter how small or subtle, will bless someone else.
Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.