(Writer’s preface: We’ve had several busy, eventful days around our place, and cause for great, proud rejoicing. My wife, Linda, has become a “Nana” once again. Her daughter in Atlanta, Amanda, gave birth Monday morning to a bouncing baby boy! Amanda and her husband, Jeff, named their little pride and joy Jeffrey David Stratton (that’s their last name.). You would think the new “Nana” had something to do with the event, as deliriously joyful as she’s been.
In addition, my daugher-in-law, Ashley, finished work and was awarded an M.D. from Virginia Commonwealth in Richmond last week-end. She’s accepted an internship in Newark, just across the river from “The Big Apple,” and she and Tim are in N.Y. now looking for living quarters and making the transition. She has the heart of a servant and the skill of a talented young surgeon and is a credit to her profession and her family. I’ve told her (and God) that I’m grateful they found and love each other.
Now . . . I ask myself . . . “What on earth does that have to do with this blog?” Nothing much, honestly, except it may explain my absence. I’ve been thinking a lot, but have not sat down much of anywhere to compose thoughts and post them.
For a brief departure in another direction, I’d planned today’s post to go up right after we completed our study of Psalm twenty three. As it happens, I have a feeling that I’m not quite “through” with Psalm Twenty-three. Perhaps a better way to say it is: “I don’t think it’s through with me.”
So, feeling it may be premature to write if I’ve not completed careful thinking, it seemed appropriate to tell you something else I’d been considering. –donkimrey)
You already know there are several ways you can study the Bible. You can study it paying attention to the broad message of each “book” or letter (“epistle.” That’s a letter like Paul wrote to the young churches. Epistles are not the wives of apostles!). You can follow the lives of great leaders in Scripture. You can study different topics and see how different writers dealt with large concepts like faith, or justification, or sin. There’s an almost endless variety of approaches you can take. With just a bit of effort and imagination, you can get great rewards for the time you invest.
Not long ago I noticed that Hugh Downs was helping market a book entitled THE WORLD’S GREATEST TREASURY OF HEALTH SECRETS. It supposedly contains 2,618 “breakthroughs” in medicine. I don’t need to know all of them. That’s a lot of general information, some of which I may never have occasion to use. But when I have a specific problem, question, or concern, I’d like to hear what The Book says about that.
Sometimes while I’m studying I come across things which I KNOW are going to serve me well. Sometime, if not immediately. Somewhere down the road, and I’ll tuck it away in my mental file cabinet for future use. There are other times when I may be dealing with a specific situation and what I need is a specific answer. Now. General information won’t “cut it.”
Lately, for instance and for some reason, I was asking myself: What should I say when I simply don’t know what to say? When I just don’t have a clue as to what I should say?
The Bible does have a lot to say about what we say. Or don’t say. In the book of Proverbs, for example, it’s often suggested that a “wise” person would know sometimes it’s best not to say anything. We don’t have to be doing something, or saying something, all the time. When I think about it, I realize I’ve hardly ever learned anything while I was talking. Most of what I know has come while I’ve been simply quietly listening, or just thinking (remember the prayer in Psalms about the “meditations of my heart?”).
We won’t spend a lot of time or space here listing scriptural references where an idea is considered. That seems to be a subject you might want to pursue at your own leisure and for your further thought. But you can be sure the Bible pays special attention to what we say and how we say it. I can’t bring myself to believe God would say “Shut up!” But there are times when He states His desire very plainly. He doesn’t stutter and He does speak often and clearly on the wisdom of quietness, restraint, and self control. Especially is this true in social circumstances when we might “fly off the handle” and say something we’d regret almost immediately. And once words are said, they can not be “un-said.”
There are other times when God probably says: “Shhhhhh. Listen.” He doesn’t shout or compete for our attention. If you aren’t listening, He probably won’t say anything. Here, though, are a couple of thoughts embedded in Scripture and they’ll be worth careful examination. He has said: “Be still, and know that I am God.” “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” Or this: “The Lord is in His holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence before Him.” Or consider this: After John baptized Jesus, we’re told that a voice from Heaven said: “This is my beloved Son. Hear ye Him.” Listen.
How can we hear, if we aren’t listening. There are times when we simply need to be quiet. Maybe sometimes we need to hear God say: “SHHHHHHHH.”
It’s hard for me to believe I’m still considering Psalm Twenty Three. I have a feeling there is much, more rich material here. Actually, I’ve been mulling over the last three phrases for a couple weeks now and still want more time. I told you this is something I’m taking seriously, and I don’t want to say anything until I have something worthwhile to say.
What do YOU make of those last three phrases in the Twenty-third Psalm?
His Servant, your friend and fellow student, donkimrey