Where has the summer gone? It seems like it was only yesterday when the first day of summer dawned upon us and now parents and kids are looking forward to going back to school and the lazy, hazy days of summer (did we have any?) are coming to an end.
As our calendars turn from August to September so do our schedules. Our Wednesday evening Bible Studies begin again, the choir will soon be back with us and our “Encouragers” will begin meeting weekly again. We will soon be back in full “gear.” There are some other events soon to be upon us—e.g., the Evergreen Association Annual Meeting (October 12-13).
Today I read again the 119th Psalm and was reminded that there are only two of the 176 verses in this Psalm that do NOT make some reference to the word, law, precepts, ordinances or statues of God. The Psalmist knows the Word of God and finds time to meditate and learn from them. (Can you find the two verses?
As I reread this Psalm I was reminded of how important it is for the people of God to know the Word of God. It is in knowing the Word that we are prevented from following after false teachings and doctrines. Paul writes to the Church in Ephesus, “We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people's trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming ”(4:14). Even as the Church was being birthed there were those who would seek to lead it astray in a direction other than the one Christ intended. The only cure is to know the Word.
For me, it means that I must constantly be involved in reading and studying the Scriptures. Seeking to know and understand the Word of God for our day and time without distorting the truth to fit my own personal theology or agenda. That is why I enjoy getting together and looking, studying and reflecting on the Word. I enjoy hearing others thoughts, ideas, insights and interpretations. I delight in hearing the Gospel presented in new ways with new ideas and perspectives. I read from several translations looking for a new “insight” from the Word.
What is wonderful about the Bible is that it is always surprising me. I read a familiar passage the other day and found a verse jump out at me that I had read over and over again and yet this one time it came at me from a new perspective. It was Psalm 68:19, “God carries our burdens daily.” Now I read through the Psalms several times a year and know that I have read this verse time after time and yet on this day it jumped out at me like had just been added to the text. Yes, God does carry our burdens daily. Doesn't this make our lives a great deal easier knowing that God is carrying our burdens? If God is carrying them, then why do we?|
As we enter September I pray we will come together in a study of the Word more often. I pray you will join us when you can, share your thoughts and ideas with us and that we will listen to one another. Not only that we listen to one another but that we hear one another and possibly discover the Word through new eyes.
An example for me is that I had read the story of Ruth time after time and her gleaning of the fields of Boaz in order to get grain for her and Naomi for the winter. It is a great story and I've used it often. Then, in the Philippines, I visited a rice field and met three women who were “gleaning” the rice fields after the harvest—praying they would glean enough grain to get them and their families to the next harvest. They showed us how they gleaned (my back wouldn't take it), how they winnowed the grain and how thankful they were for being allowed to glean in this particular field. Ruth became alive to both of us in a new and powerful way. Still in this world, women glean fields for their daily bread!
May we grow deeper in our understanding of the Word in the days ahead.