"Deal bountifully with your servant, that I may live and keep your word. Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. I am a sojourner on the earth; hide not your commandments from me!" - Psalm 119
Do you feel like a sojourner? What is a "sojourner?" Alright, I just Googled it and it means "a temporary resident." Isn't Google fantastic!
I feel like a sojourner sometimes. The CS Lewis quote that says something sort of like "If you find in yourself a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the truth may be that you were made for another world" really rings true with me.
I feel an ache for another home all the time. Not all of the time but a lot! Sometimes I greedily plow through a day digging for anything that will give me escape or pleasure. Other times I'm reminded of how futile self-centered living is and seek to serve God and others. But in whatever frame of mind I'm in, there's always something at the back of my mind whispering "This is not all."
I love the verse above because it recognizes that life, true life is to be found in God's word. As we are temporary dwellers on this earth, where will we find meaning? I believe that we all have it on our bookshelves and nightstands. We have the Bible!
Rarely do I get as super-stoked (you are so relevant Philip!) as I should be to actually own God's entire testimony to man. But think about it, we actually do. As my brother once said in a youth-talk, we have 2,497 pages of story expressing God's great passion for us! At least according to my ESV Study Bible. My dad used to own a mini-bible that contained the entire bible in 2 inches cubed. You had to read it with a magnifying glass. It was really really cool until we lost it of course. I think the ants stole it.
But I believe, as do many Christians that the Bible contains it all. That with the Holy Spirit's help, we can find meaning, guidance, peace, hope, answers, truth, and ultimately life in this not-so-simple book. It's pretty amazing and something I think about often.
I find myself also wondering how I can find it so boring! I think I find it boring sometimes because I take so little time to figure out the context and how I should actually read the scripture I'm in. Try taking up The Lord of The Rings, opening to some random page and reading away. Your eyes will be glazing over in no time, unless you're a total nerd like me and pretty much have the story memorized. On a side note I was playing Scrabble yesterday and was really disappointed to find out that "Orc" is not an actual word. Not only did it cost me points, but it shattered another little piece of my world.
I love reading my Bible these days. Not because I never get bored, I still do. But because I'm beginning to see how it all holds together. I have a weird daily reading plan in which I read something out of the Hebrew Law, Prophets and Writings, (Psalms and Proverbs too) and then something out of the Synoptics, John, Acts and the Epistles. It's nothing to fancy, but I inevitably find something to chew on and blog about.
It normally takes me about 45 minutes to an hour-and-a-half to get through my reading. And I find that with my current life situation, of being full-time support raising missionary, I don't mind having extended devotions. If you've never used the Bible to get out of work, what's wrong with you?! It's the best excuse ever!
Anyhow, you can't really read the Bible for long, asking for God's will to do what you read, without finding yourself putting your hand back on the plow. That's the weird thing about reading it, it actually changes things! Well sometimes I resist. "Viva la Resistance!" is often my "hermeneutic" [which is a fancy term for "interpretive grid" (which is a fancy philosophical term for something)].
But often God's word breaks through and starts working on my heart. The Gospel is so infinitely attractive, compelling and attractive. How cool would it be if people in the church began to actually read this book again, realizing as the Psalmist does how important it is to "live and keep God's word." I believe that with as many strategies and earnest tear straining pleas I see on the TV for revival, especially when I'm watching TBN or "The Billy (wants your money to pay for those really dope spiny things on the wheels of his new Bentley) Network, all hosts should really say is "How about reading your Bible?"
Maybe its too simple of an answer, and I know that I'm just preaching (which I shouldn't be since I don't have an MDiv) to a choir (which, since I know most of you, may or may not sound so good depending on whether Joan is reading) because if you actually read my blog, you probably read your Bible. But maybe you're like I often am and you're not enjoying it. And maybe all this rambling will encourage you to again. Or maybe I just wrote such a boring blog entry that you'll be driven to reading your Bible. Either way I win.