I intend to spend the bulk of my reflection on the Psalms and Proverbs. In general I will write only a sentence or two of reaction to the longer readings.
I encourage you also to write just a sentence or two in the comments below. Don’t underestimate how helpful and encouraging even a couple of words are to the others who are reading with us.
The first thing that rings from the pages of scripture is very simple. “I am your Creator. I made you. I own you. Your very purpose for being flows from my will. Apart from me, not only can you do nothing, but you are nothing.”
Thank God that He begins in this place. God firmly situates the creation of mankind within the flow of the story of His purposes for creation. Humans were not created first, but this world was created for mankind to subdue. And yet, it is clear that creation is not for humans, but by, for, and to the Maker.
What Israel crossed the Jordan river Joshua took twelve stones and set them up as a reminder of how God brought them into the promised land and as a further reminder of how God brought them through the Red Sea out of Egypt. I think our short reflections here, and in our prayer journals, can serve a similar purpose. I have years of old reflections that I have written for BibleTogether. I often look back through them as I write new reflections. They remind me of the things that the Lord has taught me in the past from His Word.
Content and Reflection Reading
BibleTogether in 2016 provides opportunity for the two primary types of Bible reading.
The first is content reading. Today we read Genesis 1 and Joshua 1-5. That means we covered a lot of ground! You won’t remember all of what you read, but you will begin to understand the story better and better each time you read it year after year.
The other type of Bible reading reflection reading. Our reading in the Psalms and in Proverbs provides space to slow down significantly and notice the beauty of the words and thoughts that we are reading. We should also take the opportunity to pray through both what these words tell us about who God is and what He requires of His people.
As Psalm 1 suggests, I hope that as we read and reread, as I meditate on the words of scripture, they will become something that my mind and lips can carry throughout the “day and night”.
The facts are simple. When I am daily in the Word I have words to carry with me throughout that day and week. When I am not daily in the Word I do not. Oh, I’ve read my Bible before, but I will not call these words to mind. I cannot meditate upon them if they have not been in me like a regular meal from which to gain my strength every day.
Streams of Water
Psalm 1:3 says that the one who meditates upon the law of God is like a tree planted by streams of water. What are these streams? What is his source of refreshment? The streams of water are the Word of God.
The word law here is not referring to legal commands. The hebrew word is torah. It refers broadly to the teaching of scripture. It is as we reflect upon the teaching of scripture that we will see two things.
- We will see who God is. We will see how God works in history. We will see His promises and His judgements. We will see that He is righteous and merciful.
- We will also see what God requires. We will see how God calls His people out of idolatry and sin. We will see how He calls us to reflect His character as we walk according to His Word.
Verse 7 is the first real proverb of this book. Today I see two implications.
- Our orientation and disposition toward the Lord is the single most defining fact of our wisdom.
- Only the fool has nothing to learn. It is the wise and understanding who are most inclined to seek learning and guidance.