Moving from the Extraction Approach to the Immersion Approach


January 8, 2022

Psalm 130 NIV

1 Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
2     Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
    to my cry for mercy.

3 If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
    Lord, who could stand?
4 But with you there is forgiveness,
    so that we can, with reverence, serve you.

5 I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
    and in his word I put my hope.
6 I wait for the Lord
    more than watchmen wait for the morning,
    more than watchmen wait for the morning.

7 Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
    for with the Lord is unfailing love
    and with him is full redemption.
8 He himself will redeem Israel
    from all their sins.


This little Psalm, number 130, one of the 150, is itself its own massive cathedral of revelation. They all are. I have heard it before, though I am almost certain I have never heard anyone preach or teach on it. Like so many other texts in the Bible I’ve read it a number of times before and been impressed but invariably moved on. My tendency with biblical texts and most everything else, is to read it, try to extract some meaning from it and move on. After reading it a few times or studying it a little, I am pretty sure I’ve gotten what there is to get there. Next! 

In other words, I have an extraction approach. The Word of God requires an immersion approach. Flip the script. It’s not what can I get out of these words, but how can I get “into” this Word and the world of this Word. The question is not, as most of us have been trained to ask, “How is this relevant?” The operative inquiry of the immersion approach is, “What is being revealed here?” And every text of Scripture is a well of inexhaustible revelation. 

Psalm 130 invites me into a world of revelation. It takes me out of my flat and fixed world and into a cathedral space of vast dimensions. There is so much in here to see. My attention has been drawn first to verse 5. 

“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his Word I put my hope.”

It was a struggle this morning, to get this word out through my voice as I lay half asleep in my bed. But I said it. My ears can verify they heard it. And I found myself beginning to meditate and ruminate on this little phrase, my whole being waits

My whole being waits. I wake up every morning to find myself waiting on the Lord. Or do I? It will not take long into the day until my “whole being” is running in ten different directions and not waiting at all. In fact, nothing in me wants to wait.

I need the Word of God to have authority in and over my life. There’s something about me speaking the word aloud that somehow makes it so. When I give God’s Word the priority and prominence it unleashes his Word as a living, active, and movemental word in my life. It always accomplishes the purposes for which he sends it. My whole being waits. It has me asking myself, “Am I cultivating the inner wherewithal to bring “my whole being” into submission to God?” This doesn’t just happen in my life. It happens as I move to the second part of the verse, which I am already doing by speaking it aloud: and in his word I put my hope. 

In this every day, somewhat simple way, the Word of God is sorting and sifting my whole being—gathering up my disparate parts of my fragmented self, putting me back together, bit by bit, morning by morning, night by night, until my whole being is wholly waiting upon him.


Yes, Lord, thank you for your Word. Thank you for waking up with your Word. Thank you for putting me to bed with your Word. Thank you for the endless gift of your eternal Word. Forgive me for my flippant approach to your Word. Forgive me for thinking I already get it, just because I’ve read it once or twice. Forgive me for my self-centered way of reading. Train me in this way of immersion into your word and the World of your word. May your Word remake my world as I learn to wait on you with my whole being. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 


What do you make of this contrast I am drawing between an “extraction” approach to God’s Word and an “immersion” approach? How would you say what I am trying to say? 


So this is the kind of stuff we will be engaging in our How to Read the Bible Better Course. There’s still time to jump in. There are a few more seats remaining until we hit our cap. REGISTER HERE.

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

2 Responses

  1. How I see what you are saying is this. Extraction is like being beside the teapot as the steam begins to rise from the spout, but immersion is being inside the teapot, absorbing into my being all the wonderful flavors found in the tea leaves.

  2. In my own opinion; the primary difference between “extraction “ and “immersion “ is a matter of control. With extraction it’s up to the individual to glean the perceived benefit and then apply it to one’s life. With immersion, one submits oneself to the power of God’s word to transform one’s heart towards His will. Like Jesus prayed: “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth “. (John 17:17)

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