Monday, July 13, 2020

Psalm 1

Blessed is the person who obeys the law of the Lord.
They don’t follow the advice of evil people.
They don’t make a habit of doing what sinners do.
They don’t join those who make fun of the Lord and his law.
Instead, the law of the Lord gives them joy.
They think about his law day and night. 
(Psalm 1:1-2, NIRV)

When I was a child, my favorite toy was a stuffed dog called LeMutt. I loved LeMutt. It made me happy to play with him. I threw him around. I took him on trips with me. Sometimes I just let him ride on my shoulder.  As childhood toys do, LeMutt brought me a lot of joy.  Unfortunately, as often also happens to childhood toys, something sad happened: I lost him.

Years went by, and I could not find him. Until one day, my sister gave me a special birthday present. She had found LeMutt.  It wasn't actually my LeMutt; it was a replacement she found on eBay.  I didn't care; it was like she had given me back a part of myself.

LeMutt is a little bit like the Bible. The psalmist wrote that the law of the Lord brings him joy. Because the Bible brought him joy, he thought about it day and night, just like that tattered old stuff dog that I dragged around.  When something is special, we pay attention to it. We respect it. We don’t forget about it or lose it. We carry it around with us. We should find joy like that in scripture.  I have not always found joy in it.  I still struggle with this.  I call reading my Bible a "discipline."  Of course, it is a discipline, but it should be a passion too.

Twinkie likes to cuddle with LeMutt too.
The only other activity that I can compare this paradox to is running.  About ten years ago I woke up very early on Thanksgiving morning, unable to go back to sleep.  I had just moved, and I was about two miles away from our town's annual Turkey Trot.  I knew a few people who were going, but it seemed crazy for me to go.  I didn't even own appropriate clothes. I'm so thankful that I talked myself into going that morning.  I walked those three miles in my jeans, and it began a change in me.  First, I bought some running pants.  Then, I found myself walking more places.  Eventually, I was jogging.  At some point a friend joined me, and we signed up for a race.  I started eating healthier and logging miles.  I had become a runner.  It was a discipline, but I loved it. I eventually let running slip lower on my priority list.  These days I can barely jog a mile or two.  I lost my discipline, but I recall the joy.

We take care not to lose things that are really important to us. These day I keep LeMutt somewhere special so that I don’t lose him.  Scripture should also be kept somewhere special.  Psalm 119:11 says “I have hidden your word in my heart so that I won’t sin against you.” When we hide God’s word in our hearts, no one can ever take it away from us.  There is no where else to guarantee it.

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