January 5, 2004
Encouragement for Today
Why Should I Know God's Word?
I have hidden Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11.
Memory verses...learning the Word of God so it will penetrate my heart and I will live it for all to...AAAAHHHHH!!!!!!! Oh my, I have to be authentic and real or else I'm being a hypocrite! Memory verses really make me think of 3rd grade Sunday School when the teacher quizzed everyone on the spot. Now it's coming back to me and I'm sweating! I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength; For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son...and whoever believes in Him shall have eternal life; There are 3 things that last forever...faith, hope and love...the greatest is love; Obey your parents (I think mom taught me this one!); but while we were still sinners, Christ died for us---and the list goes on. I remember cramming this information into my brain every week as we drove to Sunday School. I so wanted to please my sweet teacher, Mrs. Jackson. And one Sunday I showed up and recited ALL the books of the Bible...in order...Old and New Testament. Aren't you impressed? Mrs. Jackson was! She even had me do it for other Sunday School teachers and my class.
That was 3rd grade. I was nine years old. I wasn't thinking of "hiding God's word in my heart" as an act of obedience to God but for what it could actually do for me. I was only concerned that I didn't let my teacher down.
What about you? What about me – today - at age 36? Do we memorize Bible verses and if so, why? Is it to impress others, including God? Or do we actually look at Psalm 119:11 and realize the treasure that is found in knowing God's word?
As I read today's key verse in my Life Application Study Bible (which I love because it offers more explanation and application steps) I discovered a powerful reason to memorize scripture. "Hiding (keeping) God's Word in our heart is a deterrent to sin. This alone should inspire us to memorize Scripture. But memorization alone will not keep us from sin; we must also put God's Word to work in our life, making it a vital guide for everything we do."
How true! I do need to know God's Word, but knowledge alone is not enough. Even fools are knowledgeable. I need to put that knowledge into action. That's wisdom.
I was trying to impress Mrs. Jackson back in the 3rd grade but I still remember many of the verses I memorized. Do you know why? Because God's Word NEVER returns void! And still today, those verses really do come to mind when I need His truth. It's important to KNOW God's Word.
Jesus knew God's Word – and used it in response to the temptations of Satan. He had just been baptized by John the Baptist and was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit where He fasted and prayed for forty days. During these forty days, Jesus not only fasted – He prayed. I am sure that Jesus was filled with peace and love because of His wilderness experience but I imagine He was hungry as well, wanting a little conversation and laughter with friends and family. But who shows up? Satan. He tempted Jesus three times with desires that we could never turn down...at least not alone. And it was the same with Christ. He did not have to face the devil alone because He had God's Word planted and rooted (hidden) in the pit of His heart. The first time He was tempted, Jesus replied, "It is written, (in God's Word) people need more than bread for their life, they must feed on the Word of God." His response to the second temptation was, "It is written, do not test the Lord your God". When the final temptation came, Jesus again responded with the Word of God, "It is written, ‘You must worship the Lord your God; and serve only Him’."
Yes, Jesus was tempted, not once, but three times. And yes, He was able to remain sinless because He had God's Word hidden in His heart, using it just when He needed it most.
I encourage you to have God's Word hidden in your heart. Spend time with Him in His Word every day. God loves you whether you know any verses or not. But, He has given you His Word. If you know it, you can obey it and you can live it. That is why it is important to know God's Word.
My prayer for today:
Lord, thank you for Your Word which is written in the Bible. Help me to know you better by knowing Your Word. In Jesus' Name, Amen
If you've never memorized scripture before, choose 1 verse to learn this month. Increase from there, posting these verses throughout your home, car, etc. If you are a mom, teach your new verses to your children and help them to memorize them too.
Do I know God's Word just to know it or am I also living it?
Am I spending time with the Lord every day? If not, then what is more important than this?
When tempted, do I know that I do indeed have a way out? Am I using God's Word to overcome temptation?
Psalm 119:11 I have hidden Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against You. (NLT)
Job 23:12 I have not departed from His commands but have treasured His Word in my heart. (NLT)
Deuteronomy 11:18, 19 So commit yourselves completely to these Words of mine. Tie them to your hands as a reminder, and wear them on your forehead. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away on a journey, when you are lying down and when you are getting up again. (NLT)
1 Corinthians 10:13 But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can't stand up against it. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it. (NLT)
The Ultimate Makeover by Sharon Jaynes
Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed by Lysa TerKeurst
P31 Woman Magazine by Proverbs 31 Ministries
Originally published Monday, 05 January 2004.