Getting your hands dirty (How to read the bible part 6)

This is the last blog where I share my notes on a recent talk I did at the UEA CU. I have been looking at Psalm 119, anchoring and structuring my thoughts around verse 103-105.

How sweet are your words to my taste,

sweeter than honey to my mouth!

Through your precepts I get understanding;

therefore I hate every false way.

Your word is a lamp to my feet

and a light to my path. Psalm 119:103-105

The Psalmist loves God with all his heart and so loves his word too. He thinks about it all the time and fills his head with it but it doesn’t stay there. It goes to his hands. Well, ok in this verse his feet. He describes it as a lamp for his feet and a light to his path. God’s word is not just academic to him, it’s very practical.

It’s one thing to chew food, It’s another to swallow and take it into your stomach. It’s one thing to taste, its another to ingest. Think of it like walking. If I try to walk by only moving one foot forward there will be a limit to how far I can get and an increasing discomfort as my body stretches in unnatural ways. To walk you put one foot forward and then the other and so on. Now think of one foot being understanding and the other being obeying. To move forward I need to understand and then obey. Without actual obedience, without trust, I won’t get very far and in fact my understanding will be rather limited. After a while I need to obey for my understanding to move forward or I will just go round and round in circles.

The point of food is to be eaten. The point of airplanes is to fly. The point of music is to be heard. The point of God’s word is to be believed and obeyed. If understanding truth doesn’t lead to action it’s actually a gross misunderstanding.  In the language of Ephesians 6:17 God’s word is a sword to be gripped and wielded.

There is no escaping that this man is passionate about obeying Gods word. That is how much he understands it. It’s to be loved and lived. Yes he is seeking God through it, yes he is meditating on it but he is also being obedient to it. Why wouldn’t he?

We have already touched on this as obedience starts in the heart. He “hates every false way” (verse 104). He isn’t thinking “Oh, if only I could do sleep with my girl friend” or “get away with a little lie“. He hates those things. I’m sure like all of us, he isn’t perfect yet, and daily needs the grace of God (that was clearly there even in the OT law) but there is a heart and mind change that has taken place in relation to how he sees sin. It’s not good. It’s the wrong way to go. We need to change our thinking, taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ. I will think of God as he wants me to. I will think of myself as he wants me to.

It’s so easy to get puffed up with knowledge but not trust and apply it. It’s one thing to talk and write about genesis and revelation in depth but am I trusting God through hardship or being fearful? Forgive people who hurt me? Submitting to my boss etc

You can know about God but it can be of no value to you. You have missed the point. Missed relationship. “Why do you say to me “Lord Lord ” and don’t do what I say?” (Luke 6:46). Jesus is saying “You think you know me but you don’t. You talk like you know me but you don’t. You hear what I say but don’t live it out. If you knew me, if you loved me, you would do what I say” (John 14:15). “Don’t be like the man who builds his house on sand. He hears God’s word but does not put them into practice” (Matt 7:26). It is of no value to him. Understanding God’s word without living God’s word is like using gold in sand bags. It’s not the point of it.

One are where I want to be more practical is supernatural healing. I’ve been studying it for a year now and I know I need to step out more. I have weapons of truth in my hand but I need to wield them more.

Before I was a Christian I used to try to disprove and discredit God’s word but I remember reading the bible shortly after becoming a Christian with tears rolling down my cheeks. Something pure and true was touching my spirit. Living truth was entering my mind. It was sweeter than honey and as been a bright light to my path.

I end with this suggestion: A good sign that you are reading the bible as it should be read is if you have to keep putting it down to lift up your hands in joyful worship to the God it makes known and knowable in Jesus Christ.

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