I received a special offer from iTunes yesterday. They gave me a shot at any of the eighty-five "All-Time Essential Albums" for the rock-bottom price of 7.99 each. I'm a sucker for a bargain, and I love music, so I'm probably going to add to my collection.
But that's not why I'm telling you. This is. Those eighty-five albums contain some 950 songs, each which light up hearts like a Fourth of July fireworks, but ultimately they fade just like the patriotic display. The song we couldn't do without becomes the one we really don't care about.
The Bible is different!
It was Coleridge who said he believed the Bible was inspired because it "finds me."
I said that in the Bible there is more that finds me then I have experienced in all other books put together; that the words of the Bible find me at greater depths of my being; and that whatever finds me brings with it an irresistible evidence of its having proceeded from the Holy Spirit.
When I open up the Word of God, the Spirit has a way of finding me. For a time God was finding my big mouth. It seemed every time I opened the pages of Scripture the Spirit was saying, "Tommy, just shut your mouth." Well ... that's my paraphrase. But you can understand why I felt that way after reading what I was reading:
- "Whoever restrains his lips is prudent." Proverbs 10:19
- "Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life." Proverbs 13:3
- "The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer." Proverbs 15:28
- "Whoever restrains his words has knowledge." Proverbs 17:27
- "A fool's mouth is his ruin." Proverbs 18:7
- "Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble." Proverbs 21:23
- "Do you see a man hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him." Proverbs 29:20
God has been "finding me" again. This time the Spirit is whispering, "Tommy, it is not enough to read the Word, you must treasure it."
- My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you" Proverbs 2:1
- "My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you." Proverbs 7:1
- "My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh." Proverbs 4:20-22
- "Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge, for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, if all of them are ready on your lips." Proverbs 22:17-18
I protest. "But God, I've got a Bible app on my phone . . . why is this so important?"
He replies, "For they are life to those who find them." Proverbs 4:22
I ask God, "How do I do this?" And he points me to Proverbs, chapter two:
1 My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, 2 making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; 3 yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, 4 if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, 5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.
My lesson in treasure hunting has not been isolated to Proverbs. The Psalmist writes,
How can my soul be cheered by God if I don't know what his word says? And if I flip that thought over, who hasn't been cheered up in the midst of a trying time by remembering that God works everything together for our good (Romans 8:28)?
This is no idle exercise. I can't tell you how many times I have been tempted to let my eyes run after another beauty when the Spirit whispers:
- "Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain." Proverbs 31:30, or
- "Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned?" Proverbs 6:27, or
- "Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you."
Jesus had this treasuring thing down pat. When Satan tempted him (Luke 4), he responded with Scripture. When the Pharisees questioned why he plucked and ate grain on the Sabbath (Luke 6), he responded by quoting Scripture. When the chief priests, scribes, elders, Pharisees, and Sadducees took turns trying to trip him up, he responded by giving them the word of God he had treasured up in his heart. They didn't have a chance.
Reading the word of God is great, it brings a blessing. But the treasure comes our way when we treasure God's word in our hearts by meditating on it and by memorizing it.
- The Psalmist treasured God's Word. Psalm 119:48
- Solomon treasured God's Word. Proverbs 2
- Mary treasured God's Word. Luke 2:19, 51
- Jesus treasured God's Word. Luke 4
What one verse could you begin to store away in your heart today? If you are looking for a suggestion, here are three:
And here are ten ways to practice The Treasuring Principle:
- Begin with the prayer we mentioned in The Interpretation Flashlight.
- Turn the verse over and over in your mind. Highlight a different word or phrase each time.
- Turn the verse into a prayer.
- Paraphrase it. Put the verse into your own words.
- Think of someone in Scripture or in your life who exemplifies that verse. Thank God for them. Take some time to write them a note or send a text and encourage them.
- Think of someone in your life who needs this truth. Pray for them and then share it.
- Say the verse out loud.
- Praise God for what the verse teaches you about Him.
- Quiet your heart and then ask God to show you where or how you've failed to live this out. Confess that to him.
- Think of a song that conveys the truth of this verse. Play it. Sing it!
- If you missed Sunday's sermon, We Are Biblically Anchored, you can get it by clicking here.
- If you need a Bible Reading Plan, click here.
- I had a couple of great songs come my way this week. Music is another way to practice The Treasuring Principle.
Incredible by Anthony Evans
Yes and Amen by Housefires III
- For Days 1-4 in Five Bible Tools, just click the title below:
Monday: The Bible Checklist
Tuesday: The Interpretation Flashlight
Wednesday: Praying The Promises
Thursday: The Bible Bookcase
- "I said in the Bible . . ." from Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Confessions Of An Inquiring Spirit. London: Edward Moxon, Dover Street. 1853. Page 47.