Last night’s T.I.D.E. was all about the scripture. While I didn’t agree with absolutely everything that was said, one thing that did strike me was when the speaker said that she never reads the Bible without her notebook open beside her. She was once told “Why do you expect the Almighty God to speak to you if you’re not even prepared to write it down.”
This I found quite a challenge on a number of fronts – do I really expect God to speak everytime I open the bible? Do I always read scripture in such a way that I am listening in case God wants to speak. Do I ever read scripture like this (in my own personal time with God, rather than when preparing a sermon or whatever)?
So this morning I decided to slow down my reading during Morning Prayer, and really concentrate on the words, just to see if there was any little nugget I might find, or indeed if God might speak.
I can’t say I had any great revelation, but two things struck me about the Psalm, which was 139 – “Oh God you have search me and know me”. This is an extremely familiar psalm, much of which I know by heart (thanks to Andy Piercy’s song) – but the first part of v2 really struck me in a way I’m not sure it ever has before:
You mark out my journeys and my resting place
and are acquainted with all my ways.
It’s easy to think God marks out our journeys – when we’re out there doing stuff, especially stuff for God. But He also marks out our resting places. That is when we’re not doing anything, and life is in a holding pattern, God is still very much there in the middle of it.
The second thing that struck is that for the first time I understood something of what vv 19 and 22 are about:
19O that you would slay the wicked, O God,
that the bloodthirsty might depart from me!
22I hate them with a perfect hatred;
they have become my own enemies also.
In the past this has always jarred, compared with the beautiful and gentle preceding verses, but I think having taken the whole Pslam really slowly, and come into the presence of this awesome God, I felt for the first time some of the anger the Psalmist expresses at those people who hurt, reject, and despise this amazing loving God. I might not got so far as to say “I hate them with a perfect hatred”, but I am just starting to get a glimpse of what might be going on. CS Lewis’s Reflection on the Psalms talk about this quite a lot, and it’s a book I’ve found very helpful, incidentally.