Going to the mailbox can be one of the not-so-small highlights of a person’s day. Commonly — even right out by the road — individuals are known to sort their mail, sometimes even read it. Who isn’t thrilled to get a good letter? News from a friend or loved one is especially dear. It’s not difficult to understand how the good vibes of a relationship might just arrest your attention before you walk back into the house. In this age of email and texts, getting an old-fashioned letter has certainly become a special treat.
The anticipation of which I speak can be a picture of our attitude toward the Bible. God’s Word is his letter to us, arriving each day. Sometimes we allow it to gather dust. This is something I and others decide to let happen all too often. And wow, do we sure miss out!
These thoughts I offer today are designed to be an encouragement to think more personally about the Word God sent us. When we savor and protect a time of solitude and silence each day for God to speak through His Word, He certainly does not disappoint.
Consider the kind of world we’re now living in. It is of supreme importance for us to trust in what God says. How do we navigate increasingly dark times? His letter speaks volumes about himself, about each of us, about the times we’re living in and about the future.
As you and I become immersed in the Word he sent us, we’re caught up in an organically blossoming relationship — us and God, through his Holy Spirit. The more we open the letter, the following helpful questions become our paradigm: What does He have to say? What phrases capture His heart for me? What lines reveal His plans for me? What might I be instructed to follow through on? How can I participate in His glory today? With whom might I share His words? A developing eagerness will be reflected in a desire to know each and every word that He’s written.
When we pore over this letter, we begin to understand his thoughts and direction on situations we face. We receive guidance on areas encompassing both tragedy and conflict as well as opportunity and decisions. We learn about His holy standards and thus understand what sin is and how it impacts ourselves and others. We discover in His letter what he says about His Son Jesus and why his sacrifice for sin to provide forgiveness was necessarily made a gift. As we read further, we grasp that He has provided His righteousness for us to embrace in place of our past life’s focus. His letter is life-giving. His letter is worthy of our undivided attention.
Mailboxes also become the holders of not-so-welcomed correspondence called junk mail. Metaphorically speaking, on a daily basis we’re bombarded with distractions that aim to divert our eye from God’s plan and path. Eagerness for spending time reading God’s letter can be squelched that which springs up each day pushing out our time with Him. And of course, nowadays we wade through other forms of potentially distracting mail that come to our computer or phone.
I am not alone as a pastor sensing the heightened need to encourage our people to become more focused on God’s Word. The culture has been aggressively pursuing a host of unbiblical values. Without doubt we’ve been quickly abandoning our Judeo-Christian ethic as a nation. Some think this is long overdue. But, historically this leads nowhere good.
May the following verses from the great Psalm 119 encourage us to pick up God’s letter more often.
Verse 18: “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your word.”
Verses 34-36: “Give me understanding, that I may keep your word and observe it with my whole heart. Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it. Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain.”
Verse 105: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
Verse 110: “The wicked have laid a snare for me, but I do not stray from your precepts.”
Verse 112: “I incline my heart to perform your statutes forever, to the end.”
Verse 130: “The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.”
Verse 134: “Redeem me from man’s oppression, that I may keep your precepts.”
Verses 174-175: “I long for your salvation, O Lord, and your word is my delight. Let my soul live and praise you, and let your rules help me.”
What confidence we can have in the Word of God! I close with encouragement from another portion of his letter: II Timothy 3:15, 17: “… the sacred writings are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. ... and equip you for every good work.”
Curt Mudgett is the pastor of Cedar Creek Church in Montrose.