Listening to God; March 14, 2022

Psalm 25:4-5 Show me your ways, O Lord,
teach me your paths;
guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.

We tend to forget that the people in the Bible didn’t have the Bible to read! David had the Pentateuch available to him once he was king, but books, being hand-copied on parchment, were rare and valuable, and the percentage of the population that was literate was not high. As a shepherd boy, the probability that David learned to read seems unlikely. So what was David to do, to learn the ways of God? Oral tradition was very strong, to a degree most people today would find incredible. People would literally memorize entire books of the Pentateuch. I would personally think that Deuteronomy would be the most helpful to treat that way, but I certainly haven’t done it! Rather than reading, David related to God on a personal, daily level. He had built that relationship in the long hours of watching the sheep, composing music on his lyre to match his prayers, and his Psalms are evidence that he often felt God answered him. When things come easily to us we tend not to value them. Today, anyone can pick up a Bible and read it, but how many do? We can get it in electronic form on our phones, to have it instantly available anywhere and anytime, but do we pay attention to what it says, to be obedient to God? David’s prayer here is important for every believer, but we shouldn’t be passive about it. We can’t just read and then go on our way, not internalizing the content. James said that is just deceiving ourselves. (James 1:22) America has the label of a Christian nation, but I think a sadly small percentage of the population prays this prayer of David in truth.

Of course I’m talking to myself here. I’ve long thought James 1:22 was written especially for me! I first read through the Bible by the time I was 10, and I’ve done so many times since then, but God is the judge of how much I apply and how much I ignore. I’m reminded of something my seminary professor grandfather often asked his students: “How big is your Bible?” He wasn’t talking about the physical size of the printed book they brought to class, but of how much of the content was in their heart. I’ve never been very big on memorization, partly because I’ve been exposed to so many translations of the Bible, even in English, plus three or four translations I deal with in Japanese, but I do have a lot “on tap,” so to speak, recalling the content if not the exact wording. Again, the issue isn’t the words but the application. My commitment has got to be to obedience, or else I can’t say honestly that I love God. (John 14:21, 23) Just as David specified both “ways” and “paths,” I need to seek God both for the major directions in my life and in the details. Missing the overall direction is a disaster, but tripping up on the details can bring a lot of grief. I need to seek God all the time in every area.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You again for all You are doing. Yesterday was another good day of seeing You at work in the life of this church. I continue to pray that every church in town would experience Your life flowing through them, so that all Your children may live out Your Word in their daily lives, for the salvation of many and 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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1 Response to Listening to God; March 14, 2022

  1. Pingback: Ways to Approach Difficult Bible Passages | Stepping Toes

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