Saturday, February 13, 2016

Tending to our Hearts (The Word "Study," Part 6)

Laboring.  The sun beat down upon my aching, weary back.  I straightened my nine-year-old frame, a thousand black spots swarming my head like a blurry series of exclamation points.  How long was this corn patch anyway?  Seven rows of frail, six-inch green stalks stretched, seemingly endlessly, before me.  After weeding the beans yesterday and the squash and peas the day before, our garden was nearly weed-free!  My head was hot, and I felt the sweat trickling down my neck.  Harvest seemed a very long time away.  But, come August, I knew my favorite meal of corn-on-the-cob would tantalize my longing taste buds and that all this labor would be worthwhile as I savored such a scrumptious summer sensation.
Ten years later, the lights were off in my bedroom, my Bible open on the nightstand next to me.  I had placed it there before going to sleep, the few verses I had managed to comprehend having floated through my weary brain, trying to make a sensible synapse.  After each verse I’d stopped to “meditate” (eyes closed), thoughts soon drifting.  The physical labor of the day compartmentalized into its own central location, while the study of God’s Word remained an incidental sphere.  My understanding of physical labor had not flowed into a realization of spiritual struggle in the battle in which I was engaged.
So often, the abundant harvest produced by God’s Spirit in my life is proportionate to the fervency with which I seek God.  In His Word.  In the quiet.  Here, we can “know that [He is] God” (Psalm 46:10).  The word, hesuchazo, translated “quiet” in 1 Thessalonians means “to remain quiet, to be at rest.”  It connotes the idea of a quiet life, staying home and minding one’s own business and the action of being silent, saying nothing (Strong’s). 
That command to “study to be quiet” involves our daily time with God, for each believer is to tend diligently to his own heart: “Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23).   Psalm 4:4 gives this direction, “Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still [quiet]. Selah.”  The Hebrew word damam used here for “still” is translated other places throughout Psalms in these ways:
Psalm 37:7, “Rest in the LORD.”
Psalm 62:5, “My soul, wait thou only upon God.”
Psalm 131:2, “Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child.”
Quieted.  Rest.  Wait.  Still.  These uses of this Old Testament word reminds us that the rested spirit is initiated by a God-ward focus.  Practically, set time aside for God each morning (following our Lord’s example); then continue in that spirit all day. 
Sara takes her Bible to the car each morning, for in her small apartment home, she finds that  the only quiet place.  There, her communication is sweet and uninterrupted.  Jill habitually spends an hour in Word-saturated prayer before she reads God’s Word for the day.  Lana finds a spot at the kitchen table in the wee hours of the morning before her many children awaken, so that she can seek God’s face. 

Do you see your time in Scripture as a love relationship with Jesus?  He has a feast prepared where He will sustain you to embrace His perspective on life and strengthen you to live as only He can.  Seek Him, the living God, as you open your Bible, for those precious pages are God’s Word for you today.  This book is very personal.  Real.  And transformative.  It changes hearts, revolutionizes cultures, revives believers, and produces faith.  Consider God’s command to Joshua:  "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success" (Josh. 1:8).  What special promises are connected to living by God's Book!  While none of us is leading a nation, as was Joshua, all of us have someone who is looking our way for direction.   
For years, I have cherished the words of Proverbs 8, where Lady Wisdom typifies Christ.  One day, after reading this stirring summons to spend time with the Savior, I penned the following poem:
I supped at Wisdom’s table
And tasted of her meats;
She offered satisfaction
Gave joy full and complete;
She stilled my murmuring heart cries
And slew Temptation’s voice;
Her bounties filled my longings,
That I too might rejoice.

Each moment in her presence
Is wonderful delight,
For to her precious children
She offers Christian might.
The feast she sets before us,
Newly prepared each day,
Will strengthen each decision
We make along the way.

O won’t you sit beside me
At Wisdom’s table set,
Each morning in the Bible
Where precious stores are kept?
Christ longs to whisper to you
That word you’ll need today
Oh feast at Wisdom’s table
Be satisfied for aye!


Kelli Sueppel said...

Thank you so much this is exactly what I needed today!

Thomas & Heather Ross said...

Praise the Lord! I am glad you were blessed.

Melissa Huizinga said...

Thank you for these insightful words. I appreciate your writing.

Thomas & Heather Ross said...

Thanks for your encouragement!