A couple of good reasons for making the Scriptures a daily habit.
I wonder how many more bizarre behavioral combinations and beliefs could possibly gain traction in our current society. Most of these are so delusional that they have ceased attacking God and now assault reality itself.
The world’s ferment is, however, fully to be expected. John wrote that “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19), and so its downward trajectory, whether in the east or west or global south, should be as predictable as the sun setting. In other words, its behavioral implosion isn’t worth the lament.
Besides, the Bible occupies itself with more pressing concerns:
Ps. 81:13 Oh, that my people would listen to me,
that Israel would walk in my ways!
The people of the world doubtless need salvation, but here God speaks expressly of My people, those who had been chosen, and redeemed already.
We expect the devolving of the damned. But it is especially disconcerting when those who allege to have received God’s Word don’t give heed to it. Oh that they would, God says. He longs for this, but apparently doesn’t intend on overriding our will to force us to do it.
Listening involves giving heed to His Word in such a way and at such a depth that it results in walking, living, that would reflect who He is. The effect is something Christians refer to as sanctification, not only a once-for-all setting apart that comes packaged with redemption, but a practical daily effect that occurs from exposure to the Holy Spirit in the Word.
It affects our beliefs, alters our loyalties, conditions our attitudes toward self-sacrificial living. It stimulates the development of virtue, and steadily promotes a hunger for the glory of God, a love for others, and especially deep affection for Him.
God’s favor delight over this type of sustained listening and walking come out in the following verses:
Ps. 81:14 I would soon subdue their enemies
and turn my hand against their foes.
15 Those who hate the Lord would cringe toward him,
and their fate would last forever.
Those among God’s people who casually neglect His Word will frequently feel defenseless. No one, it seems, has their back. This leads to the development of miserable conditions, not the least of which include runaway anxiety, control issues, futility in the face of being wronged, and worst of all, resort to manipulation, even if it involves violence or the threat of it.
To that latter extreme, Jesus said “All who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Mt. Mt. 26:52). It is a way of life and death for them–striving, manipulating, scheming, and then falling into the same traps they set for others.
According to the promise in the verses though, Whoever listens to and walks according to His truth will never fail to benefit from His jealous care, and watchful eye. Those who spitefully treat us because they hate the dear Son of God manifested in our deportment will never fare well. And there is nothing we need to do to expedite it. The child of God can sleep well at night trusting God’s self-claim that “Vengeance is mine, I will repay” (Rom. 12:19)
And what about the satisfaction of the soul? It is an elusive pursuit, especially for western Christians, as we hungrily pick through the bones and feathers of worldly enjoyment looking for that rare scrap of nutrition. I can’t count the number of times a book or movie failed to deliver. Even the ones that managed to thrill I’ve revisited repeatedly, never again able to capture the magic of my initial exposure to it. Familiarity dulled its spell.
Okay, I ought to know better (and as a man or woman of God, so should you). The human soul will only find adequate sustenance beyond this world, something which God guarantees to provide through exposure to His Word:
16 But he would feed you with the finest of the wheat,
and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”
The long term effects of healthy eating are well documented. How much more feeding on the living bread of Jesus Christ, and the sweetness of His Word? The outcome of a nourished faith is a faith matured, a sober mind, lavish love, and a powerful determination to live for Christ and His people.
Nothing freakish or colorful. In fact, our fascination with grandiose religiosity needs to be tempered with long listening and long walking.
Yes, with a Word as regular as morning coffee.