Walking the cookbook or diet book aisles of a bookstore overwhelms me with the myriad choices, all claiming to be the best. Each author makes his or her case for eating certain foods and not others. The books offer different approaches: you may count calories, carbs, or points. Some writers champion specific proteins or vegetables as the key to eating right. We have to sort out what makes sense in terms of what we choose to feed our bodies.
The psalmist makes a case for the same process of discernment as we choose what we feed our souls. Our access to seemingly endless information, wisdom, and opinion can often overwhelm and confuse us. We accept the validity of the adage that proclaims that not everything presented on the Internet—or anywhere else—is necessarily true or good.
The psalmist realizes how easily we can wander away from God’s laws and intentions, no matter who we are. His resolution focuses on total immersion in God’s word. He feeds his soul with God’s laws; he knows them inside out. He commits them to heart, and they never leave him. God’s word becomes his soul’s food, his strength and his comfort.
The psalmist loves God’s instruction and finds himself connected to the true source of life. Armed in this way, the psalmist knows God’s expectations and can stand down his enemies and temptations. His God-directed life allows for a new perspective. With God as his teacher, he experiences healing and learns God’s ways. His life changes as he listens to the only voice that matters, and he aligns his life choices with those of God.
God, so many voices claim to have the answers. Teach us to listen and tune our hearts to yours. Amen.
Christians want help in understanding the signi cance of the Bible. Psalm 119 delights in the instruction of Yahweh. The text of the Torah is valued, not as a legal document but as an occasion for meditation and for the shaping of values, intuitions, and sensitivities. Scripture in Second Timothy is the gift of God and a guide for the practical life of God’s people. Its instructive role equips believers for every good work. Jeremiah 31 anticipates the time when God will write the law on the hearts of the people and reminds readers that at the core of “the law” is the covenant relation God establishes: “I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” The parable of the persistent widow directs us to the companion of Bible study: prayer.
• Read Jeremiah 31:27-34. In what sense do you perceive God’s guidance coming from within you?
• Read Psalm 119:97-104. How immersed are you in God’s word? How does scripture guide your decisions?
• Read 2 Timothy 3:14–4:5. Who in your life has been a coura- geous teacher leading you toward God? How has he or she helped sustain your faith?
• Read Luke 18:1-8. How have your attitudes toward prayer changed? How does this passage help you to view prayer in a new light?
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