What new opportunities to walk in obedience will the Holy Spirit prompt? With these kinds of possibilities facing us every time we come to God in personal devotion and corporate worship, for that matter we have the opportunity to develop spiritual, pre-race rituals to prepare us for the blocks of the devotional life. Psalm provides just such a routine in its five statements. The first three statements are the same request said three different ways, nuance piling on in each iteration like a snowball that becomes an avalanche.
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The last two statements are grounding prayers, declarations of fact that provide justification for an answer. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. This is more than just a request for God to increase our knowledge of Bible facts.
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David is asking God to teach him practical wisdom, how the truths of Scripture fit together into the life of a follower of the Lord. In a second related request, David asks that God would show him his paths, adding an element of journey and trajectory to his first request. The Christian is not static in worship or life.
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The Christian is an exile, a pilgrim on the journey to final rest, an athlete competing in a race hurtling toward a finish. But we are not left to chart our way, to choose whichever path that fits, or trailblazer on our own. In this journey there is only one way that leads to salvation: the path of the Lord. David is asking that God would teach him that path.
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Next, David requests that God would lead him in His truth. Nor is the Christian life a scientific discovery of bare facts, shared by different disciplines and religions. Lastly, David closes with two grounding prayers. It is so important to get that right as we start into worship. For the word of God is living and active.
Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews Am I chewing on God's Word--allowing it to penetrate my heart and search out my motivations? Am I reading the Bible simply to get through it and check it off my to-do list?
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Am I satisfied with simply reading the Word, or am I willing to go one step further and act on it? It's easy to close the Bible after our morning quiet time or at night before we turn off the bedside lamp and feel good about ourselves. Isn't that good enough? But God wants us to take another step: He wants us to live His Word: to ponder it, meditate on it, carry it with us, and act on it.
He wants His Word to guide our everyday decisions, serving as a lamp that shines along our daily path and a sounding board against which we can weigh our choices. God's Word can indeed seep into our body and spirit, into our heart, mind, and soul. It's our choice: Will we allow God's Word to transform us? Guide me toward a deeper understanding of how You use the Holy Scriptures to transform my life. We focus on getting through as many verses as possible, instead of really delving deeply into just a few. This week, try reading just four or five verses at a time, especially if you typically read more in one sitting.
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Read the verses to yourself quietly and then aloud once or twice again, concentrating on the words or phrases that seem to leap off the page or resonate with you in some way. If a particular verse seems to be speaking to you, ask God for direction and guidance, and then listen for an answer in your heart.
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