HEART FILLED KNOWLEDGE LEADS TO GOD
10 I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
12 Praise be to you, Lord;
teach me your decrees. Psalm 119:10-12
I remember growing up and going to vacation Bible school. For many of you that may have never had that experience, it was a 5 day opportunity as a child where we would go to the church for a good portion of the day and spend time learning Bible verses, singing songs, making crafts based on biblical truths and of course snack time. It was such an important part of my spiritual formation. It allowed me to see the importance of God's Word and experience the true feeling of community where the elders of the church would come together for a common mission. And what was that mission... to prepare the future generations of the Church to be ready for whatever may come. I remember that every day started with the pledges to the American flag, Christian flag and the Bible. I remember that every day there was a challenge to recite this crazy long scripture verse by the end of the week, and every day I would go home and spend hours just telling my parents about the events of the day. I was inspired and excited about learning and ingesting the Word of God. I wonder what day it was that that child-like passion and faith transitioned to a battle ground for me? You see I remember all of the pledges but I really don't know why I didn't say them as a reminder of God's direction in my life every day. I don't understand why it did not transition for me that I needed to do this EVERY day of my life and not for just one week out of 52 weeks of the year. I had been conditioned to only deeply invest in the Word at a young age only when it was for the accolades of others instead of the preparation of my life journey.
Please hear me that I am not knocking vacation Bible school, because it really was an integral part of my journey. And today there are times when I vividly remember the lessons that I was taught by some of the elders of the faith that have since died and gone to heaven. In fact as we look at the promise of today, I am inspired to once again recite to you the pledge to the Bible. I pledge allegiance to the Bible, God's Holy Word. I will make it a Lamp unto my feet, a Light unto my path and hide its Words in my heart that I may not sin against God. What powerful words. I just wish that I had fully understood the power of that pledge at an earlier time in my life. As we all may have experienced similar opportunities for spiritual growth at a young age, I really believe that this is a pledge that we should never take too
lightly. The statements are powerful and challenge us to maintain a core connection with God through His Word. We recognize that the Bible is God's Holy Word. And in doing so I wonder how we treat that Word. In the ancient days, the Holy Word of God was placed in the Arc of the Covenant and was a symbol of hope and promise from God. So too is the Bible. We have so many people still trying to figure out why we need to start and end each day with the Word of God and it is plain and simple. We are carrying the HOLY WORD of God that has the ability to be a LAMP in times of darkness so that we will not stumble and fall, a LIGHT to direct us back to God when we may seem to go astray, and a constant guide to help us as we discern every step in life. It should forever be a foundation of stabilization in our lives as we take every step in life.
As we look at the Scripture lesson for today, it amazes me where we actually find it to start off. First, Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible and it is found in the middle or the heart of the Bible. In other words, I am amazed that this Scripture, possibly written by Ezra the Priest, is in the heart of God's Word as a reminder that it will light our ways as we move through life. We are called to hide these Words in our hearts as a constant reminder of what God has done and what God is going to do for us and through us. The Gospel is not meant for us alone, but is meant to help us as we continue to seek God with all of our heart, mind and soul. The author is encouraging us to remember that God's Word is vital to our survival as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. God's Word continues to help us to endure the hardships and rejoice in the victories. It provides protection in times of battle and strength in times of weakness. Little did I know as a child, just how powerful the Word of God was going to be in truly molding and shaping my life. But through my life, I have been able to help others begin their journey through this road map of life as well. Some have truly dug in and continue to feed off God's Word more and more, and others are just now beginning to nibble and taste and see if this is something they want to truly invest in for the rest of their lives. I know that it is different for all of us, but as I read through this longest chapter, time after time, the author illustrates the importance of making God's Word a daily part of our forever lives.
So today our challenge is to continue to recognize the opportunity that we have to be led closer to God through the roadmap He gave to us. We have to be willing to open it, pray over it and allow it to affect our lives. We have to let go of the control that so many of us have been trying to build in our lives and recognize that we are not the first or the last that these WORDS will impact and inspire. However, we do have to take a moment and realize that this Light is meant for ALL but also has an individual response. The Word of God is a
LIGHT to the World, but it also is a personalized opportunity for us all to be guided individually back to God. As the Shepherd left the 99 for the 1, God's Word is meant to be shared by all and individualized for the one. I hope that that made sense, but sometimes the words I write are the inspirations given to me by God and maybe it only makes sense in my head for my journey with God. I challenge you to apply God's Word in YOUR life and see how God is able to use you and walk with you on your life journey. The Word of God is VITAL and I hope and pray that we can all return to that same child-like faith from years past. I pray that we all go home each day with excitement to share what we have learned with our families and have an open conversation with God. When we seek God, He will find us and what a glorious day that will be. Father, Here I am. What can I do for You today? Amen.