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How to Delight in God’s Word
When I was in college, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Greece. It was one of those “once in a lifetime” type events, and I knew I couldn’t pass it up. So, the summer after my freshman year of college, I packed up my bags, and off I went. During my time in Greece, we hopped from city to city, visiting all the different archeological sites. While we studied the archeology of each site, understanding what these cities were like, part of our “homework” was to read the corresponding Biblical texts that took place in each.
I remember standing in the arena at Olympia, listening to my professor read an all-too-familiar passage, Hebrews 12:1–2.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
While I do not exactly know if the writer of Hebrews was in Olympia as they wrote this specific passage, I do know that at this moment, Scripture became more real to me than ever.
Walking through the stadium gate into Olympia set a scene. The scene of a packed-out stadium and those lining up on the starting line to take their place. At that moment, I precisely understood the picture the writer of Hebrews was painting. I walked over to the starting line, ready to take my place, and looked up into the stadium seats, which I imagined filled with the greats listed in Hebrews 11. They were there, cheering me on as I fixed my eyes to the finish line, where Jesus awaited me.
This realness of God’s Word continued in each city. Reading 1st & 2nd Corinthians in Corinth, Philippians in Philippi, Acts’ statue of the unknown God in Athens, the list goes on and on. God’s Word came to life, it was real, and I wanted more of it. See, I had read these passages of Scripture 100 times. I knew them. But the difference, the switch really, was I finally understood what it meant to meditate on God’s Word. To take delight in it.
Psalms 1:2 tells us, “but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His law, he meditates day and night.”
When we truly know God’s Word, we see it in a different light, the way God intended. We experience His love, grace, and purpose for our lives. God reveals so much about His character to us in His Word, yet so often we miss it. We quickly skim over a passage so we can check off “spent time in God’s Word” from our to-do list. Instead of basking in the beauty and truth radiating off the pages of Scripture. The Psalmist is saying in this passage that his joy, his delight, comes from knowing and spending time in God’s Word.
We quickly skim over a passage so we can check off “spent time in God’s Word” from our to-do list. Instead of basking in the beauty and truth radiating off the pages of Scripture.
The ancient Greeks weren’t much different than us. They so often believed the false narrative the world paints for us about where we find our joy. The purpose of our lives is in what we do in this world, not what God has for us. We get sucked into the cycle of news and social media to tell us what we should do, who we should be, and where our delight should come from.
For the ancient Greeks, it was in wealth, power, and strength. It’s why the author of Hebrews explains our purpose in life using the analogy of a race, the packed stadium. It was the arena the Greeks strived after. But instead of saying we finish the race on our merit, the author tells us we can only finish by looking to Jesus.
In the previous verse, the Psalmist tells us true blessing comes from centering ourselves in God’s Word. It is there where we truly know the peace that passes all understanding, the hope only He can bring, and the ultimate purpose for our lives.
It is there where we truly know the peace that passes all understanding, the hope only He can bring, and the ultimate purpose for our lives.
Now, I know we all can’t hop on a plane to Greece or the Holy Land right now. But we can start by opening God’s Word and meditating on it. Start in Genesis and read about God the Creator, who knit the entire universe together with detail and precision, or maybe hop over to the book of John and hear about Jesus, who sacrificed his life, for our sins, giving us hope and purpose. It is going to take time, discipline, and practice. And we are for sure going drop the ball. However, if we fix our eyes on Jesus, the author, and the perfecter of our faith, we can begin to see Scripture come to life.