“Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me. I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts. I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word. I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me. How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path” (Psalm 119:97–104).
How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! (v. 103)
This morning, as I was getting the day started, I turned the radio on. I don’t often do this—mornings with two little boys are often chaotic and loud enough without adding the drone of the radio. Listening to worship songs this morning, however, had a soothing effect on our usual activity. After a song set, the DJs came on and began their usual banter. Today they were talking about healthy habits during the holidays, and one brought up the problem of dehydration. He mentioned a book he had read years ago, You’re Not Sick, You’re Thirsty by Dr. Batmanghelidj. The DJ said he used to dislike drinking water—it never appealed to him, even though he knew he should drink more. He said drinking fresh water appealed to him about as much as drinking dishwater. (Yuck!)
The author of the book stated that drinking water, even when you don’t feel like it, has an effect of causing you (after a period of about two weeks) to begin craving it. Even the taste of water changes during this time—it becomes sweet to the tongue. The DJ said he decided to take the author up on this challenge. For two weeks he drank nothing but water. One day while he was working he suddenly became aware that his mouth was terribly dry and all he could think about was getting a tall, cold glass of water. At that moment he realized the author was right: the more water he drank, the more he wanted.
The Spirit spoke to me as I listened. So often I approach reading God’s Word like I approach many things that I know are good for me: with a sigh and a ho-hum attitude. There are so many things that need my attention at any given time, and quiet time just feels like just one more thing to check off my already-full schedule.
Yet, when I open the word of God, I read the words of Jesus: “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). And something quickens in me and I become aware of my spiritual dehydration. The more I read, the more I want to read and take in. These words in Psalm 119 ring true: “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” Yes! The Word of the Lord is a balm to my weary spirit and light to my eyes, it is life to my soul, like a drink of cool water on a hot day.
And I wonder: what takes me so long to lay down my to do list and my busy schedule? What is it about my human heart that puts off the one thing that will fill me up when I am empty: Pride? Stubborn independence? A short memory? Yes, yes, and yes.
In my prideful independence I want to save myself—or at the very least, I think I can give God a hand: “It’s ok Lord, I don’t want to trouble you with my issues. I can handle it!” And in my desire to be in control, I forget that I cannot do life on my own and was never intended to do so. I forget that when I trusted my life to Christ, the Holy Spirit of God took up residence in my heart. He is present, living within me every moment of every day. And on those days that come along all too often—those days when I want to bury myself under a rock and cry in frustration and anger and weariness—I forget the God Who Sees (El Roi) and loves me deeply.
Yet, when I open His Word, there I find exactly what I need for the moment and for always. He speaks and my heart is healed. His wisdom tears down my self-sufficiency and reminds me that HE is my everything. And the peace that passes all understanding creeps into my heart and I KNOW I live in the presence of the Almighty. This is the work of the word of God for all who believe in Him and have entrusted their lives to Him and it is sweet!
Read 1 Peter 1:22—2:3
Through what have we been born again, according to verse 23?
How long does the word of the Lord last?
Jesus tells us plainly in John 3:5 that it is the work of the Holy Spirit that cleanses us and births us into new life: “Spirit gives birth to spirit,” but it is the word of God that shows us the Gospel of Christ. It is through Scripture that we learn who Jesus is and how much we need Him. James 1:18 says, “He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.” How important, then, is it to know the word of God?
What attitudes and actions—which are common to all people—does Peter tell us to “rid yourselves of” in verse one? (List them here.)
Peter doesn’t end with a list of do nots. Write out verse 2:
Have you ever seen a hungry baby drinking her milk? This is the image Peter gives us in relation to the word of God—our spiritual nutrition. Crave it ravenously he says! Why should we crave Scripture?
Through the word of God we learn and we grow. God loves us deeply as we are. Nothing we can do or say can either increase His love for us or decrease it. Yet, His desire for us is to see us grow up, or in “church” language: be sanctified. The process of growing up in Christ only ends when we meet Him face to face; so how long must we seek His word and “crave pure spiritual milk”?
How do these verses in Peter relate to Psalm 119:97–104? Re-read the passage and write down your insights.
“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good” (1 Peter 2:2–3).