Before You Go To The Word of God . . .

Psalm 119:27 – “Let me understand the teaching of your precepts; then I will meditate on your wonders.”

One of my best friends in ministry is Mark Brown. Mark is the Student Ministries Pastor at Trinity Church in Redlands, California. He was also a classmate of mine in college. We didn’t really know each other in college, but after we graduated, and both got married, our honeymoon apartments were right next to each other. We lived next door to each other for about nine months. We maybe talked a grand total of five times in that nine month period.

Then, while I was serving as a youth pastor outside of Washington D. C. and he was serving as a camp director in central Virginia, our paths crossed again. We were in the same seminary class and he invited me to bring my students to the camp that he ran. I did. And, a lifelong friendship was forged.

My northern Virginia, Presbyterian students, loved Mark’s Southern Baptist teaching. Every time Mark would teach he would begin the lesson with the words, “Before we go to the Word of God, we must first go to the God of the Word. Because, there is no way that we can comprehend what it is that God wants to teach us without His Holy Spirit guiding us.”

I was reminded of that simple lesson as I thought about today’s verse. David was asking God to help him understand God’s precepts. He knew that he could never comprehend the depths of what God was trying to teach without God’s help. David understood James’ words long before they were written: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)

When was the last time you asked for God’s wisdom as you read His word? Maybe that is a natural thing for you. Maybe you do it every time. But, maybe, you’ve been trying to understand spiritual things with your natural mind. I talk with people regularly who tell me about how they are disenfranchised by their study of Scripture. Invariably they admit that they are just going through them motions and have not asked for God’s help teach them as they read.

Invite Christ to be your guide as you walk through the pages of His word.

Dear God,

We need you to help us understand the mysteries that are wrapped up in your sacred word. Help us to not grow weary of time spent with You. Help us to keep you as our first priority and our first love.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Great Story on Samkon Gado

My favorite player in the NFL is a backup runningback for the Houston Texans. His name is Samkon Gado, and he is a graduate of Liberty University. While in college, Gado only started two games. He went undrafted and was eventually signed as a free agent by the Green Bay Packers. He was the surprise of Green Bay, his rookie season, when injuries to the backs ahead of him forced his coaches to give him playing time. Eventually Gado would be traded to the Texans.

Samkon is a Nigerian native who sees football as a means to an end. He is studying to become a doctor. Earlier this year, Gado asked his coach if he could miss a few days of Texans training camp because he was studying for his M-CATs and his exam was during camp. His coach granted him the days off. And, Gado made the team as the third string runningback.

Check out this great video about Gado’s desire to make a difference in Nigeria:

He listens

Psalm 119:26 – “I recounted my ways and you answered me; teach me your decrees.”

Do you know what I think one of God’s greatest gifts to us is? It’s that He listens. We never have to wonder if God is listening to us when we pray. He loves to hear His children talk to Him. He loves to hear about the good, the bad and the ugly in our lives. It’s not like He doesn’t know what is going on with us. But, God desires for us to recognize His supremecy in our lives. He wants us to acknowledge that He is there. He wants to show His great hand of mercy and love in our lives.

When David was at his worst, he reached out to God. I love the way Eugene Peterson paraphrased these verses in The Message. Take a look at his rendering of Psalm 119:25-32.

“I’m feeling terrible—I couldn’t feel worse!
Get me on my feet again. You promised, remember?
When I told my story, you responded;
train me well in your deep wisdom.
Help me understand these things inside and out
so I can ponder your miracle-wonders.
My sad life’s dilapidated, a falling-down barn;
build me up again by your Word.
Barricade the road that goes Nowhere;
grace me with your clear revelation.
I choose the true road to Somewhere,
I post your road signs at every curve and corner.
I grasp and cling to whatever you tell me;
God, don’t let me down!
I’ll run the course you lay out for me
if you’ll just show me how.”

It was a difficult time for David. And, through it all, David was able to trust in his God.

The more I dwell upon it, the more I feel like Psalm 119:26 may be some of Scripture’s most beautiful words. “I recounted my ways and you answered me. . .” God answered David.

And, God answers us. When He does, it requires us to be ready to be students at the feet of the ruler of the universe. It requires us to say, “Teach me your decrees.” We want God to teach us the lessons that He wants us to learn. The sooner we learn, the better life will be.

Dear God,

Thank You for listening. Help us to listen to you.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Take some time to listen to what God wants to say to you today through His word.