Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Special Times of Hearing/Reading Scripture

I was noticing today, in reading Nehemiah, how there seemed to be special moments of time, in the community of Israel, in which Scripture was heard. Really heard. And surely by many as the voice of God.

2 So on the first day of the seventh month Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, which was made up of men and women and all who were able to understand. 3 He read it aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law. (Nehemiah 8:2-3; TNIV)

This certainly most directly applies to hearing Scripture as a community. And this is important.

What I'm thinking of relates to our own daily reading of Scripture. What times or time of the day are we most "with it" so as to really be "tuned in" to hear the Lord speak to us, as we read Scripture?

For me, it's mostly in the morning. And after I get to work. In my factory setting, I'm able to read Scripture in small intervals between stacking, etc. I'm slowed down in my reading, which is mostly good (except when I'm sidetracked from it for a time). But to the point here, I'm most alive this time of the day. Afternoons are opposite for me, and not the most opportune for my best reading of Scripture. What I may marvel at and reflect on as a result of a 9:00 a.m. reading, I'd normally slosh through at 1:30 p.m.

The point? We need to give something of the high point of our day to the prayerful, reflective reading of Scripture. In Nehemiah's time the occasion cited above was a time where much Scripture was heard, really heard by the people. We need to maximize those times when we're most alert, to reading and hearing Scripture.

On the other hand, don't be afraid to read Scripture when you don't feel like it. Read some before you hit the sack and when you arise. Even if you're not completely coherent, as I'm often not. As Billy Graham wisely wrote- something like: Scripture is said to be cleansing, and whatever we feel like, doesn't matter. In the reading of it, God can do a cleansing work.

But let's be sure to get into Scripture during those times we're most "alive". Daily. And let's do so as those who want to commune with God and live in his love in this world.

Father. Help us to love your Word. Open our ears to really hear your Word. Speak Lord, for your servants are listening. Amen.


Chris Jose Cantu said...

I can usually think the best while I'm at work starting around 9:00am., but I don't have time to read while I'm working. I use that time to think about God and reflect on life. I save most of my reading for when I get home.

Ted Gossard said...

Chris, Cool. Great to hear from you on this blog.

Yes, everyone's situation is unique. (Chris works in the same big room I work in but on a different team).