I recently had the lovely opportunity to write a short devotional for Authentic Church's annual 21 Days of Prayer & Fasting. For this event, AC provided congregants a devotional curated from those of us involved in the leadership teams at the church. I was asked to write about "Memorizing Scripture".
You can find a PDF version of the devotional with all of the entries here. My entry you can read there or here below.
SCRIPTURE IS OUR MAP
“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.”
Why would anyone actually need to memorize the scripture? Often, it is easy to become antagonistic towards the practice. Memorizing the scripture can still sometimes have that competitive feeling, like you are trying to prove something with your spirituality or win some spiritual medal. This kind of feeling, however, often is a result of how we think of the scripture.
In his book, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis used an analogy of sailing the Atlantic with a map. He explained that a map does not simply point in what direction the sailor ought to go, but it tells us where others have been. We see how others made it through long dark nights, violent sea storms, or how they marveled at the open seas or explored rocky coasts. We use this collection of experiences to understand where we are, how we got here, and where we’re going.
In this Psalm, where the Psalmist equates the scripture with a guiding light, he is writing during a very dark time when Israel was “lost at sea”. It was the Babylonian exile, when many Israelites were taken out of Jerusalem. This resulted in sparse scriptural teaching and left Israelites longing for the day when they could have the guidance of a teacher to shine the light of the scripture. For the Psalmist, torah was not just answers to look for when in darkness, but to not have the torah was to be in darkness. The Scripture was the map Israel didn’t have while out in foreign seas.
Often, we can’t always see our map. It’s not so convenient in the heat of the moment to pull out the bible and see “how this guy responded”. Memorizing the scripture is a way of always keeping the map visible. This way, we can always see where others have gone, what turns they made, or how they even got through the journey.
1. What verse can you commit to memorizing today?
2. How does that verse inform your current situation today?
3. Whose experience in the scriptures can you best identify with? 4. What does their experience tell you about yours?
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Memorizing the scripture is keeping a constant eye on our map while we sail the open seas.