On the Source and Other Sources

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January 13, 2022

Psalm 119:9-16 NIV

How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
By living according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
12 Praise be to you, Lord;
teach me your decrees.
13 With my lips I recount
all the laws that come from your mouth.
14 I rejoice in following your statutes
as one rejoices in great riches.
15 I meditate on your precepts
and consider your ways.
16 I delight in your decrees;
I will not neglect your word.

CONSIDER THIS

As I grow in faith, I find myself learning more and more obvious things I overlooked before. For instance, in the earlier part of my journey I thought I needed to read lots and lots of books about God, faith, discipleship, and the Bible. I became enamored with many sources. Certainly these sources have been helpful and yet I wonder if they were the best use of my limited time. As I move further down the path, I am more and more enamored with and fixated on one source—the Word of God. 

Another shortcoming of much of my reading history has been to begin with the wrong question. Upon reading a text I want to immediately ask, “What does this mean?” The question of meaning is important, but this often leads me away from the text to other sources and other voices in order to try to interpret the text. This is not bad. It is just out of sequence.

I am learning to ask a more basic question, “What does it say?” And I ask this question not only first, but second, and third. In order to get at what a text says, I need to read it and read it again and maybe a hundred more times over a hundred more days. Then I need to let my reading lead to hearing and to ruminating and meditating and to rememberizing. Note how the Psalmist describes this approach in this magisterial 119th Psalm. 

Notice the diversity of engagement in the moves from “I seek you with all my heart” to “I have hidden your word in my heart” to “With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth” to “I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways” to “I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.” 

Even as I write this I am reminded that the Daily Text is, at best, about the source of the Word of God. And though it be focused on the source, it is not the source. For instance, if it came down to a choice between your immersing in the same passage of Scripture every day for the next year and reading the Daily Text every day for the next year, it would be no choice at all: Immerse yourself in a single passage of Scripture every day for the next year. My goal is not to gain more readers of what I have to say but to get people to the primary source of the Word of God. Why? My words will not endure. They are straw. The Word of God is fire. Remember. . . 

The grass withers, and the flower fades, but the Word of our God endures forever. (Isaiah 40:8)

THE PRAYER

Yes, Lord, thank you for your Word and for your eternal patience with me. Bring me into the heart, mind, and spirit of the Psalmist, who loves you and so loves your Word. Slow me down to listen and hear your Word, to ponder what it says before pressing it for some deeper meaning. Train me to see the obvious, to recognize the surplus right on the surface. Keep me in step with your Spirit as I immerse myself in your Word. I pray in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

THE QUESTION

Has your impulse been to jump into studying God’s Word even before allowing the Word to speak to you on its own terms? Do you tend toward reading more devotional literature or more of the straight source document of the Word of God? 

P.S. I HAVE A GIFT FOR YOU TO SHARE WITH ANOTHER PASTOR.

I think I have shared that we are raising/receiving funds for the work we are doing with Pastors. This costs us a lot more than the $50 registration fee. Because I want you to bring a Pastor friend/colleague of yours to this retreat, we will scholarship even the $50 registration fee. Tell them to choose the scholarship option on the dropdown menu and get registered today. And it will make it even more meaningful for you to have a friend in the mix with you. Trust me, that relationship will be blessed going forward in new ways. Send them this link to get signed up. 

We begin bright and early Monday, January 17. And yes, for the night owl types who aren’t up for an early bird session, the morning sessions will be available on demand in the private Facebook group thereafter. 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

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