The question I asked yesterday, will define who we are, do you crave the Word of God just as badly as the next breath you will take? The Psalmist David says it this way…
O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. 2 I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. 3 Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.
Psalm 63:1-3 NIV
This past week I preached on the story of the Prodigal Son. It is a story which has become so familiar to us we can easy gaze over it and miss much of the significance of the story. So I decided instead of reading the story, I would memorize it and tell it just as if I was telling any other story in my sermon. What was amazing to me, as I spent more and more time memorizing it, details and thoughts which I never picked up on began to become clear. The more I dug into the story committing it to memory, the more depth I began to find.
I have always memorized scripture, although to some extent, over the last several years I have stopped focusing on the discipline specifically. However, most of the time I memorize scripture it is a verse or two, never had I done a complete story from the Bible. Yet, it blows my mind that I don’t. Think about this, a person who really fights food cravings, always has food accessible. They can always get to it and many times carry it with them. Why not make God’s word so accessible. So easy to access, you don’t have to turn on a phone or open to a chapter, you just know it to the point it is ingrained in you.
On Wednesday nights this Fall I am teaching through the Sermon on the Mount, so I decided this past week I would begin memorizing it, section by section as I teach through it. I have a little catching up to do, since I am 3 weeks in, but I got the first two sections down yesterday afternoon and this morning. As I said, I have gotten away from the discipline of scripture memorization over the last several years. Not sure why, just lazy I guess.
What I am finding amazing is how much Matthew 5:1-16 is continually coming up during my day. As I am driving in my car, I just keep repeating it. It has been on my mind all day. The same thing happened last week, memorizing the prodigal son.
I am constantly having conversations with others where they will say something and it will trigger a Seinfeld quote or Tommy Boy line. The better we know the words of the Gospels the better equipped we are for the Spirit to speak to us during difficult times and through tough choices. So here is where I am (all from memory)…
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountain side and sat down. His disciples came to Him and He began to teach them saying,
Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil about you because of me.
Rejoice and be glad, for great is your reward in heaven. For in the same way they persecuted the prophets who came before you.
You are the salt of the earth, but if salt looses it saltiness how can it be made salty again. It is no longer good for anything, than to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world, a city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl, instead they put it on its stand and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before all men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your father in heaven.
My plan, following the Sermon on the Mount, is to begin working of Jesus prayer in John 15-17. I want to challenge you, pick out a section of scripture and begin memorizing it in its entirety. I would love to hear about your thoughts and experiences.