Sunday, August 13, 2017

Devouring God's Words

When I found Your words, I devoured them; Your words were my joy, the happiness of my heart, because I bear Your name, Lord, God of hosts. (Jeremiah 15:16)

Jeremiah had discovered something remarkable, something precious, something fascinating, something that excited him to no end: God's words. Sacred Scripture. God's voice speaking through a written text. The inspired and inerrant Word of God. God's love-letter to His children. The story of God's careful guidance of His people. The testimony of God's continual mercy for human beings who sinned over and over again.

Jeremiah recognized God's words for what they were, and he devoured them. He eagerly took them into his mind and heart. He made them part of his very being. And those words became his joy, the happiness of his heart. He learned that he was God's child, that he was part of a covenant family, that he belonged to God and was beloved by God. 

Jeremiah, of course, had only the parts of the Old Testament that had been composed by his time, and he had to read them from handwritten scrolls. He wouldn't have had his own copy either. He would have read the scrolls at the Temple. In fact, during Jeremiah's time, a scroll containing Deuteronomy was discovered during repairs to the Temple.* This text had probably been lost for many years, and it caused quite a stir when it was reintroduced. No wonder Jeremiah was so excited. God was speaking to His people anew. 

Our situation is quite different. We have much greater access to God's words than Jeremiah ever did. We can read God's words whenever we want, wherever we want. We keep paper copies of the Bible in our homes and e-books on our phones and tablets. Multiple translations are available online. What's more, we have the rest of the story. We have the entirety of God's revelation in the Old Testament and the New Testament. But do we appreciate God's words as much as Jeremiah did? Do we devour them? Do we recognize them for what they are? Do we read them and study them and meditate on them and pray them? Do we make them part of our very being? Do we greet them with joy and happiness of heart? Do we accept them as God's loving gift to us?

Lord, may we find Your words and devour them as Jeremiah did. May You speak to our minds and hearts through Your Sacred Scripture. May we make the effort to listen to You in Your Word and to know You better and love You more and more. Amen.

* Hyatt, J. Philip. “Jeremiah.” Encyclopaedia Britannica, Accessed 13 August 2017.

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