“Thy word have I hid in my heart…”
That’s what David the shepherd boy said. I love it when the Bible talks about regular people. It seems to be the book for the everyman. This humble connection shows up in a lot of the stories almost accidentally.
The story of Jesus throwing the money changers out of the temple, for example; the hidden surprise comes at the end where the disciples react. “His disciples remembered that it is written: ‘Zeal for Your house will consume Me’” It is remarkable that common people saw the meaning of everyday events through the lens of Scripture.
These were not intellectuals, but people busy making a living. They may even have been illiterate. They knew the Scriptures, perhaps by hearing them read aloud. That they thought the writings were important enough to commit to memory is frankly, pretty interesting.
“Zeal for your house ” is from a Psalm written by David - a regular guy who channeled prophecy out there in the fields with the sheep. He was writing things like Psalm 22, one which details the particulars of Jesus’ crucifixion. Verses like “They have pierced my hands and my feet” and “They part my garments among them” would come true a thousand years later on the Cross. Who writes this kind of stuff on a work break? His friends must have thought he was nuts. Whatever it was, they thought it was compelling enough to write down and keep. Now THAT is interesting.
In Jesus’ day it seemed to be customary, to commit the Scriptures to memory. They knew the psalms of David. They valued the Scriptures as a way to interpret their lives. Today, few people have any deep knowledge of the Bible and even less care. Some think of the Old Testament, (Jesus’ Bible), as arcane and violent. No take-aways. And yet… those very words, recorded so long ago, made it into our Bible reading at Church today. Maybe I should sit up and take notice. Maybe I should give it some further thought. Maybe I should consider how it might impact my own life.
People wonder about the plausibility of the Bible as history. Did people write it all down correctly? Does it all add up? Does the Bible relate to itself? Is the Old Testament really tied to what happens in the New? Lee Stroebel is one Bible apologist who added up all the obscure readings from the Old Testament, and matched the verses to their fulfillment in Jesus life. More than three hundred prophesies written down in different times and places, all came true in the life, ministry and death of Jesus. On the road to Emmaus, Jesus unfolds those prophecies to his two fellow travellers. “He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.”
Luke 24: 25-27
It seems the Bible is telling us something. It is a book about Jesus the Messiah, as fulfilled prophecy.
If so that is one amazing book. Magical perhaps. Able on its own to bear testimony, and enough to change people’s hearts.
Hebrews 4:12 tells us: “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Able to do preventative surgery on our human tendency toward evil.
It’s also water for the thirsty and food for the hungry. Consider Isaiah 55:1
“Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live.”
Free. That’s a pretty attractive price tag. Let’s consider: a life changing story for regular people. Egalitarian. Available to the preacher or the plough man alike. Striking down the proud and making wise the foolish. That’s a pretty impressive pedigree.
“Thy word have I hid in my heart”.. said David. That’s important. Words of God that live on in your heart cannot be taken away. It’s the living Gospel, bearing fruit in your outlook and choices. It has the power to revive and the power to save.
Some diminish and belittle this book. They call it a “conversation” and a “library of human consciousness”, but I think it’s a little more than that. Holy men of God spoke when they were moved by the Holy Ghost. Fulfilled in Jesus’ time and still alive and active today. Now that’s something for regular people to think about.