Before we get to that, though, I want to go “dig a little deeper” with Psalm 19:14 and pay attention to what it means to be “acceptable” in God’s sight.
There’s tremendous significance and potential in the way the Psalmist addresses the One to whom he is speaking. He uses three names, or titles: “Lord,” “Strength,”and “Redeemer.” When you’re in conversation (prayer, in this case), isn’t it sufficient just to call the other party by just one name? But three!!?? What do you make of that? Isn’t it helpful to know the identity of the person with whom you’re speaking!
In a casual or superficial reading, you could run right past that, couldn’t you?
Trust me, there’s more, much more, beneath the surface here. With a bit of thought, and effort, you may get a new, deeper understanding of the personality of the One to whom you are praying. Please, when I place so much emphasis on mere “words,” don’t think of it as “antics with semantics.”
Think of it as prospecting.
And (same verse, same prayer) I don’t want to “spook” anyone, but once you know with whom you’re dealing, keep in mind that what you think, and say, and do. . . are always “in His sight.” That always gives me “cause to pause and ponder.” And wonder! After you think that thought over a bit, let’s talk further.
These are some of those “words” about which we’ve been thinking. If you have a dictionary handy, it might be helpful to look up each of them and get a simple English definition. If you have a Bible dictionary, that will give you even more insight. Remember, the ancient Hebrews placed GREAT value upon names and did not use titles thoughtlessly. Also, you might enjoy comparing this same prayer (along with the titles) with the way it appears in another translation of the Bible.
So you’ll know I’m in this for “the long haul,” I’m working now on a conversation Jesus had with Simon Peter on the “night in which He was betrayed.” It’s in Luke 22, and I’ll be concentrating on verses 31 and 32a. You’ll certainly benefit from reading Luke’s record of the entire evening, but for my purpose I’ll concentrate on just that sentence. ALWAYS view the truth in context. See what surrounds the statement, what led up to it being said, etc.
As always, it is wise to see the “larger picture” and think about the circumstances under which Jesus said what he did to his good friend, Peter. Peter seemed to me at times to have his own “agenda.” I don’t think he had attention deficit disorder, but he did seem to get distracted at times and paid attention to things that were not as important as what Jesus was trying to get across. (SOUNDS A BIT LIKE ME. A LOT LIKE ME!).
I’d like to mention something else which, I hope, you’ll always keep in mind as we study prayerfully and thoughtfully together: I’m very well aware there’s no way any mere man can know all the needs of all the people with whom he comes into contact. But I also know that God does possess that knowledge and wants to provide hope and direction to everyone who seeks Him. So I approach this effort with confidence (not arrogance.). Just about every day of my life I ask that God will lead me to someone whom I can help, or someone who can help me. . . and then I try to proceed on the assumption that He will do one or the other. . . or both.
If these “studies” seem simplistic, that is as it is intended to be. I’ve discovered some of the “simple” things are profound upon closer examination. And if I’m successful in my effort and faithful in my intention, the words will deliberately be plain, understandable, encouraging and hopeful. You can find enough stuff in other places that are “intellectual exercises” or that mess with your head about guilt, and judgment, and condemnation and failure. If you feel you’ve failed at anything (or everythng) you tried, you probably are too painfully aware of it and don’t need anyone to remind you or punish you. That was not the reason I began this effort, and will never be my reason to continue the blog.
In studying Scripture I’m searching first for what will build me up and bring peace, and hope and joy to me. Then, considering your trust a treasure, I will gladly share with you anything I discover that has value.
This before I go: In “comments” about one of these studies, Mary Ellen Bowman wrote some very thoughtful things. It not only was an encouragement to me, but some of her observations about our study are better than mine and worth your considering. Mary Ellen is Director of the Christian Women’s Job Corps in Wilmington. What she does is find ladies who need help, and then she helps them! She and her staff find fallen and struggling women (who sometimes have children, or are getting out of prison or trying to escape the prison of an abusive relationship) and pray for them. And while they’re doing that, they help the ladies find jobs, transportation, homes, self-esteem and faith. Her work there is deserving of your prayers and support. If she didn’t post her address and you would like to contact her, I can give you that information. We’re definitely not having the world batter the door down to get to the site, but those of you have spoken or written to me personally or posted something on the blog make me feel perhaps the Lord WAS leading me when I decided to try this approach. Thank you again for visiting the site, commenting, being patient, and inviting others. I listen to what you say and will pray with you for any concerns you exxpress. And I certainly appreciate your remembering this effort prayerfully.
Thanx for visiting. Later -dk