Thursday, August 9, 2012

Writing, Reading, Applying

Have you ever taken notes?  I have - I've taken a ton of them.  When it came to studying, I had a system (and a pretty good one I might add) but it all came back to my notes.  If my notes were good - studying was a breeze.  If my notes were lacking, well, studying was pretty much impossible.  A day or two before the test, I would make sure I had a hard copy of my notes (I usually typed them), then, in my spare time, I would read them over and over and over.  When I was alone in my room, I often read them out loud.  If I was studying for accounting or another interactive class...I would spend a little bit of time putting what I had written and read into practice.  For many ministry classes, that meant applying what I was learning to my every day life!  And I always, always, always made my studies a priority.  If I didn't, I wouldn't remember what I do today.

Deuteronomy 17:18-20 - 18 Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests.  19 It shall be with him and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, by carefully observing all the words of this law and these statutes, 20 that his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, to the right or the left, so that he and his sons may continue long in his kingdom in the midst of Israel.

This passage is talking about the requirements fro the kings of Israel.  However, taking a closer look, we can easily see how this can be applied to our lives.  

The first requirement listed here is that the king write out an entire copy of the law.  For me, this goes back to taking notes.  I once had a professor ask me why I took notes during a sermon.  The answer was simple: It helps me remember, just like when I take notes in class.  After all, "a prudent pen may go far towards making up the deficiencies of the memory" (Henry).  By patiently sitting down and writing out the law "he might thereby be obliged to take particular notice of every part of the law and...might imprint it in his mind" (Henry).  

Next, the king is told to read the law daily.  You see, "it is not enough to have Bibles, but we must use them, use them daily, as the duty and necessity of everyday require" for just as the body needs nourishment from food, so does the soul (Wesley)!  

But why do all of this?  Why write and read?  This passage lists three reasons:

  1. To learn to fear the Lord - "he must remember that God is above him, and, whatever fear his subjects owe to him, that, and much more, he owes to God as his king" (Henry).
  2. So that his heart is not lifted up above his countrymen - In other words, so that he remains humble: "the scriptures diligently read, are a powerful means to keep him humble, because they shew him that, tho' a king, he is subject to an higher monarch, to whom he must give an account of all administrations" (Wesley).
  3. That he may not turn aside from the commandments - "His writing and reading were all nothing if he did not reduce to practice what he wrote and read" (Henry).
It is important that "when he begins to apply himself to business, he must apply himself to this in the first place...Let not those who call themselves men of business think that this will excuse them from making [Christianity] their business" (Henry).  We all need to take this advice!  We should be applying ourselves to Christ in the first place!  He should be our #1 priority, not our job, not our hobbies, not even our family - God should be first!  We should never, ever be too busy for God.  If the rulers of Israel had time to read the law daily, I think that we have time to do the same!

I challenge you today to get your priorities straight.  Before you think of doing anything else, spend some time with God today.  During that time, read His word, grab a journal and jot down the things that stick out or any questions you might have, then write down 2 ways you can apply what you learned.  

I'm not a morning person, but I've found that if I spend time in His word before I tackle anything else, I give Him more of me and my day goes much smoother.  If you have to get up a half an hour early - He is worth it.  If you need to put off checking facebook until the evening - He is more than worth it!  Do what you need to in order to fit in some much needed prioritized time with God.  I promise, He is worth it!

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