Recently I was reading a passage that literally jumped off the page at me. Remember the incident when Moses was taking leave of the people before departing yonder? Well, in one of his final discourses he said this to them “Take to heart all these words I am giving as a warning to you today, so that you may command your children to carefully follow all the words of this law. For they are not meaningless words to you but they are your life, and by them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess”. What words, the words that God had spoken as the means to regulate their lives.
Picture the scene, Moses had been father, mother, leader, prophet, inspirer to the people. Much to his chagrin he must now leave them before God’s full plan is fulfilled. His heart is heavy, he is concerned for the people, even in his presence they had done some prodigiously stupid things, so he talks to them, he remonstrates, advises, encourages them to continue walking with God and gives them what may be called the key to their successful attainment of God’s promises. The key then is the Word of God. He says
- take these things to heart,
- teach your children to follow the Word,
- the Word is not meaningless, it is your life,
- it will cause you to live long and succeed.
Moses understood that our life is determined, shaped, fashioned, conditioned and brought into fulfilment in the Word of God. And when Joshua took over from him, God told him as much. And when Jesus was on the earth He told us as much, ‘if you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you will ask what you will and it will be done for you’. Indeed the universal testimony of Scripture is that as the word of God goes in our lives, so go our lives. It stands to reason then that if there is any one thing our focus should be on, one thing our time must be invested in, it is saturating ourselves with the Word of God, because it is our life.
Most Christians would fain concur. Yet, quite paradoxically a good number, leaders included, take the matter no further than mere assent. I will be a happy minister if I am able by God’s grace to raise up men and women who will hold God’s word dear and make it a priority in their lives. Such will be mighty before men and before God. For want of this so many keep going round in circles. Nor can we take refuge in prayer alone for knowledge of the word is paramount to successful praying. The understanding of who our Interlocutor is, the knowledge of His ways, the faith and perseverance required to hold fast in the midst of contrary winds, all proceed from the Word.
Thus we launched into our 5 to 6am prayer week on Monday, and spent the first two days praying prayers of consecration for ourselves personally and for the church; and today we prayed Psalm 119. Psalm 119 is that astounding psalm that combines consecration to God and an astounding love for God’s word and commitment to meditate on, hold dear, cherish, honour, drink in, soak in, obey and assimilate the Word of God. Tomorrow we will pray it over the church. It is our desire that members of our church be able to say like the psalmist
“ I delight far more in what you tell me about living than in gathering a pile of riches. I ponder every morsel of wisdom from you…I relish everything you’ve told me of life, I won’t forget a word of it.”(Psalm 119:14,16)(the message translation)
Or “How I love Your teaching! It is my meditation all day long”, without running the risk of hearing God say ‘liar, liar pants on fire’.
I encourage you to read this psalm and pray it over your own life with the understanding that all that we are and will ever be begins and ends in God’s word. Indeed the psalmist initially enquires ‘How can a young man keep his way pure?’ We find it is not by becoming a conference junkie, nor by becoming prayer line addicts, as many in our generation tend to think. I see so many who have done this for years, who have replaced serious bible meditation and prayer with itinerant conferencing, yet they are still going round the same mountain, going from spiritual high to spiritual high but without the deep, abiding, permanent life transformation required. How then? He answers ‘By keeping Your Word’.
Remember the post on wise time investment? What we invest our time in speaks volumes about who we are and what we will ultimately become. No greater investment then than to tarry in His Word and at His feet to commune with and be taught of Him, none whatsoever. Indeed I am convinced that there is nothing that man can set himself to do that will be of greater or even equal worth to the task of discovering, knowing and honouring (in His Word and in prayer) the One from whom he derives existence, life and sustenance. After all, this is your life.