Poh Fang Chia
Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. —Psalm 119:97
Each morning when I reach my office, I have one simple habit—check all my emails. Most of the time, I’ll work through them in a perfunctory fashion. There are some emails, however, that I’m eager to open. You guessed it—those from loved ones.
Someone has said that the Bible is God’s love letter to us. But perhaps on some days, like me, you just don’t feel like opening it and your heart doesn’t resonate with the words of the psalmist: “Oh, how I love Your law!” (Ps. 119:97). The Scriptures are “Your commandments” (v.98), “Your testimonies” (v.99), “Your precepts” (v.100), “Your word” (v.101, emphasis added).
A question by Thomas Manton (1620–1677), once a lecturer at Westminster Abbey, still holds relevance for us today. He asked: “Who is the author of Scripture? God. . . . What is the end of Scripture? God. Why was the Scripture written, but that we might everlastingly enjoy the blessed God?”
It is said of some people that the more you know them the less you admire them; but the reverse is true of God. Familiarity with the Word of God, or rather the God of the Word, breeds affection, and affection seeks yet greater familiarity.
As you open your Bible, remember that God—the One who loves you the most—has a message for you.
Oh, may I love Thy precious Word,
May I explore the mine,
May I its fragrant flowers glean,
May light upon me shine! —Hodder
Knowing the Bible helps us know the God of the Bible.
The author of Psalm 119 (the longest psalm in the Bible) is not named. Some scholars say it was penned by Ezra, whose devotion to God’s Word is well-attested (Ezra 7:10; Neh. 8:1-9). Others say David composed it. Despite being scorned and ridiculed for trusting the Scriptures (vv.22-23,31,42,46,78), the psalmist did not waver but remained fully committed to them. In today’s passage, the psalmist affirms his deep love for God’s law (v.97) and testifies how constant meditation on it has made him wiser than his enemies (v.98), his teachers (v.99), and the older (wiser) men of his day (v.100). God’s Word provides wisdom and perspective for living.
Bible in a Year:
Genesis 23-24; Matthew 7
Today I am reading day 19 of Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional:
Study and Do God’s Word
Psalm 1:1-3 Happy are those who reject the advice of evil people, who do not follow the example of sinners or join those who have no use for God.
Instead, they find joy in obeying the Law of the Lord, and they study it day and night.
They are like trees that grow beside a stream, that bear fruit at the right time, and whose leaves do not dry up. They succeed in everything they do.
What does it mean to meditate? Well, it doesn’t mean to put your mind in neutral and go “ohm.” That’s not meditation. Meditation means seriously thinking about something.
Our Scripture passage today says that a person who meditates on God’s Word is “like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers” (v. 2-3).
I want that to be true in your life. I want whatever you do to prosper, but the Bible says the premise for this promise is your commitment to study his Word.
Today’s action point is this: I want you to get involved in Bible study. If you already are, that’s great! Keep it up! But if you aren’t, I would encourage you to find a Bible study group and join it. You will be amazed at how much studying God’s Word in a small group blesses your life.
Today I am reading day 18 of NIV Once-A-Day At the Table Family Devotional:
The Ultimate Authority
Romans 15:4 Everything written in the Scriptures was written to teach us, in order that we might have hope through the patience and encouragement which the Scriptures give us.
• Think of someone who has earned your respect. What makes that person worthy of your respect? If that person gave you an instruction, how would you respond? Explain.
• How would you respond if someone you didn’t respect gave you an instruction? What would be the difference?
The Bible contains a lot of really good advice — but it’s not a self-help book. It’s much more important than that. A self-help book may be a useful tool, but it’s not absolutely necessary. The Bible is an integral part of our relationship with God.
The Bible is more like an instruction manual. It shows us how we are constructed and what we are designed for. It tells us very specifically what we must do in order to run at maximum capacity. The more closely we follow what the Bible says, the better chance we have of creating a life that resembles God’s blueprint. Not only does the Bible give us instruction, the Scriptures are one means of grace by which the Holy Spirit works to transform our lives.
The Bible is also a law book. It is the final authority for what is right and wrong. The Bible, then, is the perfect yardstick for measuring the things that influence us. If an idea, teaching or piece of advice follows God’s Word, we should consider it. If it doesn’t, we should beware of it. It’s that simple.
My Prayer to God
Dear God, thank you for giving us the Bible as the authority to guide our lives. Help us keep a proper respect for your Word. Amen.
Today I am reading day 17 of NIV Once-A-Day At the Table Family Devotional:
1 Corinthians 2:12 We have not received this world’s spirit; instead, we have received the Spirit sent by God, so that we may know all that God has given us.
• Why do some people consider the Bible intimidating or hard to understand?
• What do you do when you read something you don’t understand in the Bible?
Are you comfortable with the Bible? Many people aren’t. Some are intimidated by its size. Others get lost in all the old traditions and strange stories. Still others have a hard time understanding the actual words — even in modern translations. Because the Bible is not like any other book ever written, some people have a hard time getting into it.
God understands the limits of our human minds. He should — he created them. And he really wants us to understand what is in his Word. So he sends his Holy Spirit to act as an interpreter for us. The Holy Spirit takes the words of the Bible and translates them in a personal way so that we understand not only what they mean but also how we can use them in our lives.
The secret to understanding Scripture is to pray before and after you read it. Before you start to read, ask the Holy Spirit to clear your mind of any distractions. Ask him to help you focus on the words in front of you. After you read, ask him to help you find ways to use what you read in your daily life.
My Prayer to God
Dear God, thank you for giving us your Holy Spirit to help us understand your Word. Give us the wisdom to understand Scripture and use it in our daily lives. Amen.