Summary: You can encounter life change by really understanding God’s word. Don’t just read it, don’t just believe it, experience it!
As you know we have been working through a series on the tools of the faith. The last was on cleaning up the stuff in our lives that hinders us and focusing on Jesus; and in doing so our Christian journey is doable, this path is achievable.
Something that flows on from that is how we focus on, how we consider, speak about, think deeply about, the word of God. Well today is Bible Sunday – a day to celebrate the word of God to spend sometime not just thinking about this book, the Bible, but figuring out the value of God’s word in our lives. Why would we bother to read this book, do we have to read it cover too cover, why is it that some people get more out of it than others, does it change lives, and is it really all rules?
Well the tool of the faith that relates most closely to those questions to how we can approach the Bible is meditation.
Meditation may bring about images in your head like this! [Power Point] Interestingly I goggled mediation images and there was page after page of this eastern sort of mediation stuff.
The Bible reading today comes from Psalm 119:9-16. This is the longest psalm and for those of you who have a far better understanding of English and Hebrew than I do, it is an Alphabetic Acrostic Psalm. The person, who wrote it, wrote it celebrating the Hebrew Alphabet. Each chapter consists of eight verses all starting with the same letter, one chapter for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
Enough of that – Meditation what is it? The psalmist in this case writes this song about God’s law and his absolute devotion to God. He talks about meditation, about meditating on God’s precepts, wondrous works, statues, promise, law and testimonies.
While for alot of us the word meditate may bring another word ‘OM’, and saffron robed bald men to mind; in the Judeo-Christian sense meditation is something quite different. It directly relates to musing on, considering, thinking about, speaking aloud, telling and thinking deeply about. (repeat)
When it comes to the word of God – meditation on the word relates to considering it as if it is a treasure!
What is it that you treasure? You know: something small and expensive, a person, that thing of little monetary value that was given to you by a favorite relative or friend, a favorite place, a comment someone once made to you. How many times have you thought about it, looked at it, taken in every aspect of it, considered how it came into being, enjoyed being with it, meditated on it?
The Psalmist gets that kind of Joy from the Word of God, Lets look at Psalm 119: 9-16
So “How can a young man keep his way pure? (ask the young men) By living according to your word.”
It strikes me as strange that so many people who have made the commitment to follow Jesus as Lord and Saviour still struggle with a weight of sin that they find hard to bare.
This book is not rocket science. It’s better than rocket science, a young man, a young woman even us older types can keep our way pure. How, by living according to God’s word.
That’s why we should bother to read this book?
1) To keep our way pure. When we understand God’s word, his love for us, and his desire for us to live in a right relationship with him, with one another, his grace in forgiving our sins. We can live a pure life.
This can take some effort on our behalf, we see that the psalmist has asked God, “do not let me stray from your commands, I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
You might think well I can live a kind of pure life, I can sin a little here and there, enjoy the odd stolen piece of fruit, well they say “stolen fruit tastes sweeter”. Get involved in that scene that no one else needs know about, just my secret, just our secret.
In the short time that I have been in life and ministry, I have seen enough damage that has occurred from people entering into an arrangement with themselves to sin a little.
A little indiscretion that escalates to a full blown disease, a full blown affair, a full blown crime, a full blown jail sentence, a full blown broken relationship.
We can play our part to avoid this happening by hiding the word of God in our hearts.
You may right now be wondering, how can hiding God’s word in my heart be any different to hiding it on my book case, under my bed, at the bottom of my school bag just to the side of that dried up apple and the chip packet? How?