I’m going through the Flourish journey (Passion Publishing/Lifeway) with friends, and we’re studying Psalm 119. I’m also, in my private time, working my way through Job yet again. It is amazing how much the two books teach me the same lesson.
“If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life. Save me, for I am yours; I have sought out your precepts. The wicked are waiting to destroy me, but I will ponder your statutes.” Psalm 119:92-95 (ESV)
These verses also reflect a truth about Job. He could have written them, in fact. Job’s delight was in God’s precepts. They were more important to him than food. They were the most important thing in his life.
This passion is why his faith was so great that it prompted God to bring Job to the devil’s attention, and even though Job slipped near the end of the trial, the foundation that was his faith kept him from going under.
After all was said and done, it could have been Job who declared, “If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.”
In our Flourish journey, we are sharing what God teaches us, and I love how He gives each of us our own, personal lessons while we study the same words. So far, my lessons have all revolved around this point: The Word is paramount, and making it the focal point of my life is essential. It’s not that I CAN immerse myself in it and make it a part of me; it’s that I MUST immerse myself in it and make it a part of me.
Everything else that seems important will eventually disappear. Only one is eternal: God’s Word. (1 Peter 1:24-25) That alone should be enough to make us realize how vital it is to our very lives.
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
“Be diligent,” Paul says to Timothy. “Be diligent,” God says to us. Diligence requires action…sincere and consistent action. Again, we are reminded that it is completely unacceptable for us to sit and hear the word but do nothing with it.
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God
Here, then, is our goal – our reason for being diligent. We desire, in truth we must have, our heavenly Father’s approval. How? What must we do? In what are we to be diligent?
…a worker who does not need to be ashamed…
So we are to be workers, and not just ordinary workers, but workers who are so good at what we do, so thorough, so careful, that we need never be ashamed of either ourselves or our work.
…rightly dividing the word of truth.
And this is why we, as these diligent workers, need not be ashamed. We are mature and learned in the Word. We do not ignore the Word – we cannot if we are to divide it. We do not take the Word and twist it into new meanings to suit ourselves. No, we are to be “correctly analyzing and accurately dividing – rightly handling and skillfully teaching – the Word of Truth.” (AMP) We are to diligently do this; and in this diligence we will receive God’s approval.
“THIS is the kind of love I expect you to walk in…love that sees things from My point of view. So when I say study (love), I mean study Me. Learn what I feel in each situation-what I say and what I do-because I am love. I. AM. LOVE.”
I shared, last night, about the cashier who clearly didn’t understand the basics of percentage discounts. Had her math teacher witnessed the incident, he or she would surely have been appalled, and if her employer had seen? Hopefully someone can help her understand before it happens again.
As is common, God used this practical experience to remind me of a great truth. We must prepare for life ahead of time. The math lessons should have been fully learned before the customer stood in front of her with a 50% off item. Likewise, God tells us in II Tim 2:15 to study ahead of time: This is how we are prepared to face life events before we reach them. Whether it’s a sudden battle with cancer or an ongoing conversation about salvation, a question about which action would best please God or how to fight a battle, all of the information we need is right there, in His Word.
Yes, as some would say, His Word is at our fingertips and we can look it up, but a Bible won’t always be immediately at hand (as the cashier’s calculator must not have been) and the Bible you don’t know will be of limited help to you.
It is the math student’s responsibility to learn the difference between 40% and 50%, and know how to calculate both, however…it is not always the student alone who pays the price when she fails. (I paid an extra .25 because I wasn’t willing to give a math lesson.) When we fail to study God’s Word, to make it part of our lives, we pay… whether or not we notice the price being paid; and we are not the only ones affected. Those who surround us, those who come in contact with and are not helped by us… they pay a price too.