My mother tells a funny story. Her dad was going blind, so every morning she or her sister would stop by and read the Bible to him.
One particular day, Mom was in a hurry and on a tight schedule. She rushed in with no time to spare, out of breath and talking fast. “So, Daddy, which chapter do you want me to read today?”
In his slow southern drawl, Granddaddy said, “Well, how about Psalm 119?”
We’ve laughed about that story and my grandfather’s sense of humor when his daughter had places to go and people to see.
The truth is, we often live life that way – in a rush, not making room for the Word of God, much less the longest chapter in the Bible.
We live forgetful of its priority, reluctant to take the time when we’ve got so much else to do. We miss its strategic importance and find that we need that long, prayerful read in the Word more than ever.
To be honest, when I was younger I found it odd that the psalmist in Psalm 119 waxed eloquent about laws. And ordinances. And statutes. I went back and checked to be sure. Indeed, there they were: laws, ordinances and statutes.
But it wasn’t odd once I began following the psalmist’s example. He asks. He pleads. He pursues and seeks after God, spending time in prayer and meditation on His Word.
The more I truly seek God – in prayer, asking the hard questions, listening, reading and dwelling on His Word – the more I desire Him. The more I hunger and thirst for His truth.
Over the years since that journey began, I’ve followed the thread of His purpose and plan. It’s woven throughout the law and prophets and poetry and leads to the power of the gospel and the beginnings of the Church.
It culminates in the future vision of that glorious day, when those from every nation, tribe, people and language will gather around the throne, knowing and worshiping our Lord Jesus Christ. I understand why the psalmist waxes eloquent.
Travel through the stanzas of Psalm 119. Listen and learn. The psalmist proclaims His Word is better than gold or silver and sweeter than honey. It is perfection without limit, a vast treasure.
His truth helps us see as a lamp to our feet, a light on the path, full of insight and wisdom. His Word gives life and hope, comfort and joy. It is our delight, our counselor.
The psalmist declares that the entirety of His Word is truth. It is altogether trustworthy and righteous forever.
So when you find yourself in a hurry, rushing past what is true and needed: stop. Take the time for a slow, meditative walk through Psalm 119. Ask Him to make you hungry for His Word. For Himself. He will do it.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Susan and Todd Lafferty spent 27 years in Asia with the International Mission Board. Todd now serves as executive vice president of the IMB. Susan is a writer and blogs at susanlafferty.com.)