Friday, August 29, 2014

Taking the Time to Smell the Fragrance of God's Word

Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:16

Isn't it amazing that with all of our modern conveniences, most of us are more time pressured than ever? And yet with the advent of technology, there is a certain portion of my day that is given over to it, almost like an obligation. And why? What never ceases to amaze me is that no matter how many times I do the same dumb thing and think I will get a different result, I never, ever do. (The definition of insanity.)

I deceive myself thinking I need to keep up with the news. There is so much information on the internet I could never digest it all, yet I attempt this vain thing all the time. I was reading a writing book by Dani Shapiro called Still Writing, and she commented that she used to take a cigarette break from her writing (before she quit smoking). She said now that had sometimes (unfortunately)been replaced by the internet break. She did not recommend it at all, because it only served to distract from her focus, and yet the temptation to lose focus by surfing the net is so easy to do. How about checking facebook a dozen times a day? Yet this all adds up to precious minutes, minutes that add up to hours, hours that add up to days of mindless wandering all in the name of my "recreation."

On the other hand, time spent in the Word of God is never fruitless. Years ago, my sisters and I enjoyed doing counted cross stitch. We made little gifts for each other. One for my older sister had the verse from Proverbs 24:3 along with a pretty little house. The verse said: "By wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established." As I stitched along, I wondered what that verse meant.

The other day, in my reading, I came across the verse again and decided to look up some cross-references.One of them was from Proverbs 9.

"Wisdom has built her house, She has hewn out her seven pillars; She has sent out her maidens, she calls From the tops of the heights of the city: “Whoever is naive, let him turn in here!” To him who lacks understanding she says,“Come, eat of my food And drink of the wine I have mixed. “Forsake your folly and live, And proceed in the way of understanding.” Proverbs 9:1-6

I looked up some cross references again, for the part about the food that was prepared, and it led me to Luke 14:16-24, about the wedding banquet. The primary application was for the Jews who would not accept Jesus as their Messiah, so the gospel went out to the Gentiles, but in another way, could this not be wisdom from the Word of God speaking to us?

"But He said to him, “A man was giving a big dinner, and he invited many;
and at the dinner hour he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come; for everything is ready now.’“But they all alike began to make excuses. The first one said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of land and I need to go out and look at it;please consider me excused.’Another one said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out;please consider me excused.’Another one said, ‘I have married a wife, and for that reason I cannot come.’
And the slave came back and reported this to his master. Then the head of the household became angry and said to his slave, ‘Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in here the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’“And the slave said, ‘Master, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’And the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled.‘For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste of my dinner.’”

Could not the dinner be the Word itself, it is all prepared for us, to nourish us, build us up, to help us build our own spiritual house? But with all the distractions of technology, I let it pass me by. Yet there is no excuse, for as never before do we have the Word available to us for study, with online Bibles and teaching aids.

My husband planted some wildflowers in the front of our house, yet it was not until late in the summer that they finally, gloriously, bloomed. The colors are vivid shades of fuchsia, yellow, white, and reds. Underneath are small lacy white and delicate purple flowers. One day, I noticed they had a beautiful fragrance, but you had to bend close to the flower in order to detect it. Once you put your nose close to the petals, the sweetest smell exuded from it. Could that be how it is with the Word of God? On the whole, it just looks like a big book, formidable, even, until you pick it up and start smelling the sweet perfume within? This perfume reveals to mankind the loveliness of none other than our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

My pastor says you have to build an appetite for the Word of God. Well, start with just a taste then. And know that the Bible is from first to last, His-Story.Ask God to reveal to you these truths as you peer into His lovely Word:
O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. (Psalm 34:8)
"Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law." Psalm 119:18

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