Wednesday, October 29, 2014

We must take time for the scriptures

It is good to read the scriptures, but we also need to make time for the scriptures to have place in our lives; to have time for their study, contemplation, and communication. Sirach wrote before the time of Christ saying, "Leisure gives the scribe the chance to acquire wisdom; a man with few commitments can grow wise." (Sirach 38:24) There is nothing more noble, more beneficial, and more singularly salutary to the soul than the contemplation of God. However, such pursuits, especially those which we pursue through the scriptures, require the discipline of time in our lives. Many of us are so hurried that we have little margin left in our lives for anything else. Every waking moment is filled with activities and, when we do have some idle time, we entertain ourselves with our favorite technology or vice. We run through each day with little or no margin left for contemplation, meditation, or relationships. We have a deep seated sense that we aught to pursue God and other relationships, but we medicate that feeling with even more activity and busyness. If we are to grow in the scriptures and to lay hold of its benefits, then we must make room in our lives for the scriptures; we must provide margin in our lives for God and for His still small voice in our lives.

Luke wrote of the more noble minded Jews in Berea, saying,
"Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men." (Acts 17:11-12
The Jews of Berea were more noble than the Thessalonicans because they had a readiness of mind to receive the things of God. Some people read the scriptures out of curiosity and others out of a since of duty, but the Bereans searched the scriptures with a desire and readiness to receive something from God. Their hearts were open and their minds were engaged. We need regular involvement with the scriptures; not just reading, but searching, studying, and listening. Peter similarly exhorts us, "So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts." (2 Peter 1:19) The Greek word here for "pay attention" literally means to hold our mind towards; it is an active engagement of our rational faculties in examining and comprehending the scriptures as we wrestle with their import in our lives. However, such activities take time and discipline.

The scriptures are more than just an old book which we aught to read. It is our history, our purpose, our glory, and our hope. Moses said of the Law,
"So keep and do them, for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, 'Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.' For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the Lord our God whenever we call on Him? Or what great nation is there that has statutes and judgments as righteous as this whole law which I am setting before you today?" (Deuteronomy 4:6-8
If this be true of the Old Covenant, how much more of the New? How much more glorious, beneficial, and significant should the scriptures be to us who have been born anew from above? The scriptures are not ancillary to our faith, but the central voice of history recording for us the things God has done and said and the things He has yet promised to do. Instead of seeing the scriptures as something separate from our faith, something we aught to do but never find time to do, we should seek to make it a regular part of our daily lives. Moses command the people,
"You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your sons may be multiplied on the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them," (Deuteronomy 11:18-21)
The scriptures aught to be part of us; part of our daily lives; part of our daily conversations, thoughts, and discussions. It should be part of our fellowship and our encouragement of each other. It should salt everything we do and say. Let us discipline our lives to make time for the scriptures that they may become an essential part of our lives and of all we say and do.

David Robison

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