Monday, January 15, 2007

The Longest Day

As a pastor, I should be reading the Bible all the time, right? Right. My duties call me to continual biblical reflection. For example, I am currently studying 1 Peter for an evening series (hey, if you’re in New Jersey, come join us). My nose is in the Book for preparations for Sunday Scripture readings, Sunday school classes, and so forth.

Yet I am a Christian first, and a minister second. So although I’m utilizing the Bible throughout the week as the tool of my trade, I find it most important to read God’s word each day in a personal, or devotional, manner. Like any other Christian, I need accountability to keep me on track; so a friend and I read through books of the Bible at the same pace. For a while now, we’ve been in the psalms.
The other day our reading was Psalm 117. This is the shortest psalm in the Bible, at two verses. You can read it here.

Today’s reading is Psalm 119. This still holds the Guinness World Record for Longest Psalm, at 176 verses. We’ve decided to read this psalm over the course of seven days. If you think you can beat that, you can try your hand here.

But is it really that hard to read 176 verses?

As I’ve said before, we don’t grow by simply reading God’s word – we grow by meditating on God’s word. Psalm 119 could easily be read in the space of 30 minutes if it weren’t for the fact that it requires so much contemplation. It could be read, but not rightly. It could be read and forgotten!

In fact, Psalm 119 celebrates the benefits of reflecting on, memorizing, keeping, and loving God’s word:

“My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word!” (119:25)

“I will run in the way of your commandments
when you enlarge my heart.” (119:32)

“Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.” (119:105)

“I have more understanding than all my teachers,
for your testimonies are my meditation.” (119:99)

That doesn’t take very long to read, does it?

But anyone can read. Even a demon. But not everyone can love God's word; this takes a rebirth of the heart.

I hope you are learning to enjoy and embrace God’s word. I hope that I am, too.

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