July 30, 2016

Psalm 119:148 My eyes stay open through the watches of the night,
that I may meditate on your promises.

Several verses in this Psalm would seem to indicate that the writer was a “senior adult,” and waking up early (along with naps during the day) is common in that age bracket. However, what the Psalmist chose to do when he woke up early is worthy of note. (The Japanese indicates early awakening rather than simple insomnia.) The NIV just says, “I meditate on Your Word,” but the Japanese is far more picturesque. The idiom used is, “I dye my thoughts in Your Word.” The image is of fabric soaking in a vat of dye. Once dyed, the color might fade, but the fabric will never be as it was before. That is how our encounters with the Word of God should be. We need regular trips back to the dye vat, because there are areas in us that can be remarkably dye resistant, but every trip should leave us changed. If we can read the Bible and not be affected, then we need to pray for our spiritual eyes to be opened and our hardened hearts to be softened. When life gives us “down time,” whether it’s waking up early, sitting in a doctor’s waiting room, or even waiting in line, we need to allow the Word that is in us to percolate through us. Phones today make it easy to have the Bible with us at all times, but even more than reading the words, thinking over them and letting the Holy Spirit bring them to life within us is what brings the greatest blessings. Doing that is what brings out the rich hues of God’s grace, love, wisdom and power in our lives.

I am to that point in my life where sleeping past 6 is really “sleeping in,” so I identify with this verse very easily. However, waking up early has very little benefit if I don’t use the time as the Psalmist did. I must not let my familiarity with the Bible breed contempt, as the saying goes, but rather allow the riches of the Word to unfold more and more, sinking deeper and deeper into my being. That’s not a matter of “studying for finals,” as one young boy said his grandmother was doing in reading the Bible. Rather, I need to be so in love with God and His Word that I can never get too much. A good chunk of the Word is indeed in my heart and mind, but I must never be satisfied with that. As I keep saying, it’s not a matter of memorizing words, it’s a matter of allowing God’s heart to change mine to be like His. The benefits are so enormous as to be infinite, but I still have to choose to go that direction. Otherwise I stagnate at best, and that’s of no benefit at all.

Father, thank You for what You did yesterday. You restored a relationship that had been concerning me a great deal, and You did it in a truly beautiful way. Help me be an open conduit of Your Word, Your grace and love, so that more and more people may be able to avoid the traps of the devil and walk in the magnificent purity and abundance of Your life for them, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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