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Study for transformation, not just information

June 15, 2023
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Daily Scripture

Psalm 119:11-12, 103-105

11 I keep your word close, in my heart,
    so that I won’t sin against you.
12 You, LORD, are to be blessed!
    Teach me your statutes.

103 Your word is so pleasing to my taste buds—
    it’s sweeter than honey in my mouth!
104 I’m studying your precepts—
    that’s why I hate every false path.
105 Your word is a lamp before my feet
    and a light for my journey.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

To grow spiritually from Bible reading calls for us to open our heart as well as our mind to what God wants to say to us through the Bible. Sometimes all we know of Psalm 119 is that it is “the longest chapter in the Bible.” But it is so much more than that. Today’s passage offers a lovely prayer model that can prepare us to “hear” and value God’s word on the pages of Scripture.

  • “I have hidden your word in my heart,” the psalmist wrote. What does it take to move the word from the printed page (or the screen) into your heart? One effective way to start is to choose a short Bible passage (e.g. John 3:16-17, Psalm 23, or even if you want to start with a really short passage Psalm 119:11 from today’s reading) and commit it to memory this week.
  • At the same time, remember this: “The Bible is more than just a big book of inspirational verses and some do’s and don’ts. It’s a story. And like any story, it requires proper context. The Bible we hold in our hands today has been translated across multiple languages and was originally written in a culture much different than ours. This is important to understand because without proper context you will ultimately read the Bible out of context.” * How can you grow in your ability to relate all the “pieces” of the Bible to the big story it tells?
Prayer

Lord Jesus, in the Bible, I find the centuries-old story of how you’ve dealt with all kinds of people who loved and followed you. Help me learn more about how you weave my walk with you into that same story. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Mikiala Tennie

Mikiala Tennie

Mikiala Tennie serves as the Student Discipleship Program Director with Resurrection Students. She has nearly 20 years of volunteer and professional ministry experience and loves walking alongside and encouraging others in their spiritual journey. Mikiala is blessed to be an adoptive aunt and godmother to many kiddos and lives with her 10-pound Yorkie, KiKi Okoye Tennie.

The author of Psalm 119 is technically unknown. It could have been King David, who authored many of the other Psalms, but theologians aren’t 100 per cent sure… it also could have been Daniel… or even Ezra… or an unknown Hebrew poet.

Growing up in Sunday School we were often taught in broad generalizations when it came to the Bible, so I grew up equating the book of Psalms with King David.

I also grew up thinking King David was a man after God’s own heart, but that he’d made some mistakes in his life. As I grew up and continued to grow in my faith, I realized he may have been a man of God, but he selfishly hurt and killed innocent people. Knowing that began to transform me as well as my perspective and understanding of Scriptures that are attributed to David.

Not knowing who penned Psalm 119 provides an interesting perspective as well.

Whether it was…
A national figurehead who trusted and loved God, yet harmed some of God’s people for his own benefit…
Or a priest and scribe who was passionate about God’s Word and laws, whose transgressions are unknown to us…
Or a Hebrew man of noble blood who trusted God in the fire and lion’s den, whose enemies couldn’t find dirt on him even though they tried…

With an unknown author we can look at the words of Psalm 119 and put ourselves in the author’s place. Whether we’ve been a leader of many, selfishly harmful, obedient to God’s Word, or been blameless in God’s sight, we still need to:

–Keep God’s Word close in our hearts, so from here on out, we do the right thing more often than not (Ps 119:11).
–Ask God to continue to teach us how we should live (Ps. 119:12).
–See Scripture as the beautiful and pleasing gift that it is (Ps. 119:103).
–Study the Word and use it to guide every step that we take (Ps. 119:105).

Like the writers of old, we are all sinners, but through Christ’s grace we are also being sanctified. God’s Word is a part of that process. When we study it and take it to heart, we are not just informed about people who encountered God, we ourselves are transformed, renewed, and get to encounter God too.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
References

* Tyler Speegle, “Five Signs You’re Reading the Bible All Wrong.” Relevant Magazine, July 27, 2017, web version (click here to read the full article).