Update 4/13/05: FYI, new blog readers: Since 1997, I have read through the Bible (Genesis through Revelation) in odd numbered years and have read through the New Testament four times in even numbered years. Thanks to email and the Internet and now my blog, I’ve been able to ask others to join me on this wonderful journey of being in God’s word daily. It’s been such a blessing.
For those of you who joined me on my read through the Bible in 2005, this is a check up. For new readers, it’s never too late to join in. We are using this reading guide. Grab a copy and join us in our daily reading.
This morning we finished 1 Samuel. In 2 Samuel, we will find that David — God’s example of what to do and what not to do in life, God’s example of how He can use someone who trusts Him even though he’s a sinner and screw-up (meaning He can use any of us) — is about to become king of Israel. Then the story really heats up.
Yesterday when I sent my bi-weekly bulletin to my prayer team, I quoted A. W. Tozer. I think it worth repeating here, considering the journey through the Word that many of us are on.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. —Psalm 1:2
"Let the old saints be our example. They came to the Word of God and meditated. They laid the Bible on the old-fashioned, handmade chair, got down on the old, scrubbed, board floor and meditated on the Word. As they waited, faith mounted. The Spirit and faith illuminated. They had only a Bible with fine print, narrow margins and poor paper, but they knew their Bible better than some of us do with all of our helps.
"Let’s practice the art of Bible meditation…. Let us open our Bibles, spread them out on a chair and meditate on the Word of God. It will open itself to us, and the Spirit of God will come and brood over it.
"I do challenge you to meditate, quietly, reverently, prayerfully, for a month. Put away questions and answers and the filling in of the blank lines in the portions you haven’t been able to understand. Put all of the cheap trash away and take the Bible, get on your knees, and in faith, say, Father, here I am. Begin to teach me!" The Counselor
I hope I am practicing the art of Bible meditation. Letting God’s Word speak to me by His Spirit, opening itself to me. "Father, here I am. Begin to teach me!"
Saul prayed to GOD, but GOD didn’t answer — neither by dream nor by sign nor by prophet. So Saul ordered his officials, "Find me someone who can call up spirits so I may go and seek counsel from those spirits."
His servants said, "There’s a witch at Endor." (1 Samuel 28:6-7, Msg)
Have you ever gone through a period of life when God is absolutely silent? You wonder why He’s talking to others and not to you. I sure have. But those two verses above are a great reminder not to do the wrong thing because we are desperate for an answer, desperate to DO something. [Note: Saul was way outside of God’s will long before he consulted a witch/medium, but sometimes God is silent even when we are in His will. Sometimes He wants to cause us to grow or wants to test our faith.]
I remember the long months of waiting and silence while I sought God’s will about leaving behind my secular career and moving to the Christian market. Close to six months of silence. There were lots of indications that this might be what God wanted me to do, but no clear voice saying, "This is the way. Walk in it." At about the four month mark, I remember driving to a hair appointment and saying to God, "If You’re talking, I’m not hearing You. If You need to, use a 2 by 4 to make it clear to me what You’re saying." Two months later, that’s what He did. When He spoke and gave me the answer, using His Word, BTW, it was just like being smacked with a 2 by 4. It was that clear.
I’m glad I waited. I’m glad He smacked me hard. Because now, when things go wrong (I get a bad review in a magazine or a reader hates my book or I can’t come up with a new idea or my writing feels stale) and the enemy whispers that I’m a failure and God can’t use me, I remember that moment in 1997 when He spoke with that 2 by 4 from Ephesians and all the doubts must flee.
In the grip of His grace,