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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Who knows?

One confession and a couple of thoughts:

I confess that memorizing scripture is one of my least favorite and least practiced disciplines. In the past, I have been active to etch the words of scripture onto my mind and into my heart. Not so much of late, and sadly, I have forgotten so many wonderful passages that I had memorized. Such active work requires ol' fashioned, time-on-task. Simply put, it requires diligence.

Memorization is not just putting it in your head and locking it away. It is active meditation--desiring to understand and seeking to appropriate its meaning to our lives. By the Word, through the Spirit, we are transformed in our character and conduct. This active meditation is a means by which we entrust our lives to God's will (surrender) and walk forward (action) in light of such transformation.

A couple of thoughts together put this post to mind. One, I am studying for a bible content exam. Part of the exam entails memorizing a plethora (such an underused word!) of verses. So I am putting them to memory. Second, this morning I spent some time in 1 Peter, specifically 1 Peter 1:13-17. A lot of my thoughts were focused around the idea of "preparing your mind for action."

This line of thinking was in conjunction with today's verse that I was memorizing.
[Esther 4:14] "For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"
Of course understanding the context of the surrounding verses and the context of the book of Esther is important to understand this verse in light of scripture's redemptive story, but this verse really challenged me today.

The phrase "who knows" jumped out. I am not Esther and I am not an exiled Jew in Persia, but I do know relief and deliverance comes from the hand of the LORD. I am not privied to know the circumstances, nuances, and ways in which he will carry out such relief. Ultimately, I know such deliverance culminates in Jesus, the Christ. But day-to-day situations, I do not.

It comes from His hand, AND he asks us to "go and do likewise." Who knows why stuff happens the way it does? Sometimes we are not meant to know the why's (more often, we should not attempt to know). We are to trust that his ways are sure and his paths are straight...and walk forward (and actively prepare to do so).


  1. PD,
    Good thoughts, particularly for those (like me) who struggle to memorize scripture. I particularly like the note about understanding the context of the verse that we're memorizing. I find that many times I simply will memorize the verse to keep later for a scripture proof rather than actually understanding what it is really saying.
    Let's get together some time - I want to hear your thoughts on the newest Potter movie.

  2. man, don't get me started!! i have memorized the whole movie already...just kidding.

  3. PD,
    Enjoyed your blog as well as Kelli and yours. Saw this quote last weekend and it really resonated with me.
    Kelly Brown-Douglass: "You should do theology like you do a crossword puzzle. First of all, you do it in pencil, because it is very arrogant to do it in pen. As you find out more, sometimes you have to change answers you thought you had. And sometimes … you just have to live with the question."

    You probably have already seen it or do crossword puzzles in ink. I'm not that smart. Tell Kelli the Smith's said hi.

  4. PD: What a thrill it is read such great things that indicate growth in a young man I remember at Christ Community Church here in Franklin. You are growing in the Grace and Knowledge of Christ. Keep it up.
    Memorizing verses I recall when I fist started my walk with Christ and I wrote verse on 4x6 cards and put them on my visor and read and mediated on them as I drove to work. I worked through the book of Galatians in this way.

    Now, at age 76 I can hardly recall any of them. but the Spirit calls them when I need them.

    Looking forward to seeing you guys at the wedding.
    In Christ. Norm and Joyce.