Thursday, May 10, 2018

Do a little gardening today!

7-9 The revelation of God is whole and pulls our lives together. The signposts of God are clear and point out the right road. The life-maps of God are right, showing the way to joy.  The directions of God are plain and easy on the eyes.   God's reputation is twenty-four-carat gold, with a lifetime guarantee. The decisions of God are accurate down to the nth degree. (Psalm 19:7-9 MSG)

We all have those times when we just don't feel like God is getting through to us, or that we are getting through to him no matter how 'hard' we pray, make our requests known, or struggle to find his will in a matter.  Some of us may even feel that the attempts we make to draw closer through his Word or times of contemplation are so unrewarding that we have grown weary in trying.  As we examine this passage from the Psalms this morning, I want you to catch what our Psalmist is saying:  The directions of God are plain and easy on the eyes! It doesn't imply they are quick to come, but that they are 'plain' - in other words, they are distinct from the other answers we get from all around us. They are able to convey their meaning to us very clearly.

I often think that we make God's Word harder to understand than it really needs to be because we don't believe it could be that 'simple' or 'easy' for us to grab hold of.  We buy the translation that another believer uses and expect that it will "translate" into our lives in the same measure that it has in another's.  When it seems to be just as unclear as ever, we are defeated by our "seeming" lack of understanding.  Go back to the Bible Book Store and get a different translation - one that will help you actually 'get' the passage you are reading! Don't hold out to some day be able to actually understand the King James Version - you may never really 'get' the 'thees', 'thous', and other word structures in that one! Your desire for an understanding of the Word of God isn't going to be bolstered if you cannot understand what you are reading!

I daresay that I have more Bibles than I use!  I have translations galore - each speaking to me in a different way and in different seasons of my life.  I switch them up in my study, but really have come to enjoy the everyday reading of The Message Bible and the New Living Translation.  Yep, I know these are what are referred to as paraphrases, but if the words on the page touch my heart with how plainly they are written and God's words "get into" my spirit and can have a chance to affect my conduct, could they be all that wrong? I don't think so! They are helping me to understand 'plain truth' - making it meaningful, purposeful, and 'directional' for my life. This is what we want from our Bible.

God's intention for our times of personal study is to make the revelation of who he is, how he acts, and what he desires of us to be so apparent that there is no second-guessing on our part what our actions, attitude, and direction should be.  God does not want us to settle for less than a complete revelation of him - he wants us to press in fully to him and he will reveal himself fully within us.  David is extolling God in this Psalm - he is praising God, declaring his wonders, and enjoying his presence revealed in his life.  His heart is responding to the revelation of God in the most natural manner of exaltation that comes from a grace-filled heart. It is through revelation that David stands in awe of God and his heart swells with the knowledge of God's goodness, protection, and provision.

Why is David so assured of his God?  He has a growing appreciation of God because he has learned God's promises, heeded God's warnings, embraced God's goodness, and watched God's interventions in his life.  In turn, he is assured that God makes accurate decisions down to the "nth" degree.  Decisions that directly impact his life. This type of revelry in our God awaits anyone brave enough to get into God's Word.  I say "brave enough" because it takes commitment, stepping out into territory that is sometimes scary, a little too revealing of our faults and short-comings, and sometimes downright challenging to our character.  As we do, God meets us there and opens his "life map" to us, showing us not only the highways of good conduct, but the hidden paths of the secret gardens of his love and grace.  Get into his Word today and let his Word get into you!  Enjoy the "gardens" that await only you!  Just sayin!