“Then he said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.” (Ezekiel 3:3)
Getting ready for this week’s message I was reminded of Michael W. Smith’s beautiful song “Ancient Words.” You can listen to it here.
“Ancient words ever true, changing me, changing you…” That’s the aim of scripture, not just to educate but illuminate; not just to inform but transform. That is why we gave out devotionals last Sunday to go along with this series. We want to encourage daily reading of scripture that help us hear what God is saying to us. You can receive the daily readings by email by, print from the website, or pick one up this Sunday.
The pattern is simple. Each day there are readings taken from the “episode” of the Bible we emphasized on Sunday. Each passage also has a few verses from the Psalms. Take an unrushed moment to read, then pause and reflect asking God, “What do you want to say to me through these words?” Write down what comes to you. Then, write what you are thankful for that day, and the names of people or events/issues you feel led to pray for, then close in moments of prayer in thanksgiving and intercession.
I believe this simple practice helps us hear from God like nothing else. See what it does for you. Don’t worry about not understanding. God’s power to speak to us through scripture is not limited to nor determined by our understanding the Bible (of course growing in our understanding the Bible helps!).
This is illustrated so well in a book I read some years ago, "I Became a Christian and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt" by Vince Antonucci. He describes his experience of reading scripture in the early days of his faith. He wanted to experience how God speaks through the Bible, but he didn’t understand it very well. One day he read the story in Judges 11 about Jephthah who made an oath to kill and dedicate to God the first thing that came out of his house when he arrived home. Unfortunately the first one to meet him was his daughter and he sacrificed her.
Listen to Antonucci’s response:
"Okaayyy, today’s Bible time is going to be a waste, because…this guy was an idiot and that’s about it!” And then he paused and it was like God said, “Dude, you’re the idiot. How often do you speak before you think, just like the guy in this story…just like the other day when you made the guy you work with feel stupid because he didn’t agree with you?”
You never know how God will speak a needed word in a needed moment when we take time to listen. The Bible becomes like spiritual wifi. When we turn it on we open ourselves to another world.
See you Sunday,