Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Joy in the Word

There is great joy in having the Word of God in you. It's one thing to know and be familiar with the Word of God. It's another thing to have it in you where no one can take it away from you.

This blog has been a long time in the making. Originally I set up this and a Twitter account about three years ago to chronicle my adventures in memorizing long passages of Scripture. Even doing so then would have been well past the point of having this in place to account from the beginning my progress, struggles, and things learned while taking on the larger challenge of hiding long passages of God's Word in my heart.

Sometimes we can be victims of our own success. Once one has memorized several books of the Bible, how does one maintain all that and still make progress on learning still more of God's Word? Here I must confess, I have not done well. I have stalled out. I have been unable to make progress, and some of the mid-sized books I memorized I did not reinforce well before moving on to another.

There have been a few times in recent months where I have picked up Ephesians or Galatians to re-learn and reinforce what I have learned. While I am not fresh enough on either of those books to quote them from a cold start right now, there have also been times recently where I have gone back to learn them, and because I've done the hard work before, it can almost feel like I can learn a whole chapter in a half hour. Still, at six chapters each, with seven days in a week, what does a good schedule look like for review of previously learned books and learning new books or chapters?

I've been praying about it, and recently I decided to take a break from trying to maintain previously learned books and take on something new. Before I memorized Romans I had started but never finished memorizing Psalm 119. That's a bit long for what I wanted to take on now, but I decided to do something fun. I love telling kids about dinosaurs in the Bible. There's Behemoth with his “tail like a cedar” (Job 40:17) or fire-breathing dragons like we find in Job 41. I also love Psalm 29 and reading about how “The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars,Yes, the LORD splinters the cedars of Lebanon.”

It is here, in passages I already love, that I have decided to resume: Fire-breathing dragons. Job 41. This chapter is part of a lengthy series of questions God is asking Job. He starts with His creation (“Where were you…?”) and the origins of many things, and then goes through a whole series of animals describing them, discussing them, and then concludes in what we've numbered as Job 41 on that creature which is “king over all the children of pride.” It's magnificent.

It's also hilarious. If you think of a massive creature whose “sneezings flash forth light” and “Sparks of fire shoot out” of his mouth, then it borders on downright sarcasm to ask “Will you play with him as with a bird, Or will you leash him for your maidens?” Uh, no. “Indeed, any hope of overcoming him is false; Shall one not be overwhelmed at the sight of him? No one is so fierce that he would dare stir him up.”

I'm having a blast. My joy in learning God's Word by hiding it in my heart has returned. I can think of no better place to finally begin sharing that with people than here. I look forward to sharing more.

And if I lapse into not regularly making progress and posting about things here, please feel free to rattle my cage at @WordHider or @timtom.

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