Dark chocolate. Once you acquire a taste for it, you’ll never return to milk chocolate. The familiar Hershey bar with its dark brown wrapper loses its appeal when compared to one with a high percentage of cacao. You can’t stuff this kind of chocolate in your mouth like a handful of M&Ms. It begs to be savored, one piece at a time.
Scripture has the same complex quality as dark chocolate. Yet I’ve often taken a quick bite of the Bible, then headed out the door. Two classmates reminded me to slow down and savor the Word. So, grab your Bible, and some chocolate too if you like, and let’s savor them both. Many times, I think we would benefit more by spending ten minutes on one verse than skimming a whole chapter and checking it off. So, today, let’s look at Psalm 119:11 (NIV), “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
S: Study Notes
Do you have a study Bible? Is there anything interesting in your notes? Study notes often provide added insight on key issues, language, and cultural nuances the modern reader would miss. This psalm was written as an acrostic. Each Hebrew letter (22) has its own eighteen-verse stanza. So, what does the stanza with our verse tell us (vv. 9-16)? We find the key point in v. 9, “How does a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.” The remaining verses flesh out how to do just that, and v. 11 specifies memorizing the Word.
Interrogate the text.
Who’s doing the hiding? We are.
What are we hiding? God’s Word.
When do we hide God’s Word? Past, present, and future. Continually.
Where do we hide God’s Word? In our hearts.
Why do we hide God’s Word? So we don’t sin against God. Could God be showing us something that’s key to our obedience?
How? How do we hide it? Lots of options here. Music. Rote memorization. Accountability partner or group effort. How does the Word keep us from sin? The Holy Spirit brings Scripture to mind when we need it and points us to an escape route.
Explore the word picture. What kinds of things do you hide? Your stash? Christmas gifts? Usually we hide things that are precious. Where do you hide them? Someplace private. Doesn’t this fit our hearts? I love God’s word pictures. Think about it. When you hide something, you protect that object from the wrongful intentions of others. Yet when we hide the Word, the Word protects us instead. It also makes us a resource for others. What a twist on the word picture!
What does the psalmist want the reader to do? Are you game? Choose a verse this week that speaks to an area of struggle.
What will you do to keep this objective front and center? What will help you remember to take action? Try keeping your new memory verse by your candy stash and work on it every time you snack.
And that’s just one verse.
Savor the Scriptures. Slow down and experience the complex flavors of meaning God has prepared for us.
Workout for the Week: Savor the Scripture
Memory Verse: Psalm 119:11 (NIV) “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
Meditation Passage: Psalm 119:9-16
Do It: SAVOR God’s Word.