Today we are looking at Psalm 16. It is another Psalm that is classified as a Thanksgiving Psalm, specifically, a Psalm of Trust. David is pouring out his heart to God and declaring that he is putting his trust in Him alone.
This weekend, Rusty kicked off our new series called Words that will follow along with the Bible Reading Plan. He gave us some great handles on how to get the Bible into us, as opposed to just getting us into the Bible. (If you missed it, be sure to check it out at newhope.org). Until we really absorb the Bible and allow it to challenge us, to change us, to reshape and mold us, it’s just information. I read a lot and most of what I read is merely informational, it doesn’t change my life. But there are some books that challenge me so deeply that I spend time with them, I mull over the words and think of how they apply to my life. In doing that, they have the power to change the way I think and see that particular topic. The Bible has that kind of power in an exponential sense. If we allow it to, it will change the way we think and that it turn will change the way we act.
So, let’s take the points that Rusty brought out about how to approach the Bible and apply it to Psalm 16 to see how that process works.
Hearing – Rusty talked about the importance of hearing the Bible in the context of community where it’s being talked about like in a weekend service. In your personal Bible reading, there’s a tremendous amount of value in reading out loud. Take Psalm 16 and say the words out loud to yourself. Sometimes, things sound different to me in my head versus when I say them out loud.
Read – reading God’s word regularly, not just relying on one service a week to get your fill, is so important. One reason that we do the BRP is to give you a systematic way to engage with the Bible. I’ve done the “just read what I open up to” approach of Bible reading and to be honest, it wasn’t that effective. Read through a book at a time, focusing on the connections that you find there.
Study – part of the study that I do when I read the Bible is to read the same passage in different translations. That really helps me to get a fuller picture and gain a better understanding of what I’m reading. I write in my Bible a lot – use different colored pens for different things. One practice that I do regularly is circling the verbs in red, the names in green, numbers in orange, time in blue, and things like angels, prophecy, etc. in purple. This helps me to then be able to go back through the whole book and look for specific things and see patterns.
Memorizing – this is so important but can be really hard. One of the most helpful things I’ve found is to have others doing it with me. Last year, I had a Facebook group with a great bunch of ladies and our goal was to memorize two verses a month – 24 for the entire year. We had varying degrees of accomplishment in terms of the number of verses, BUT, we all engaged with the Bible more and thought about what we were reading.
Meditation – As Rick Warren says, if you know how to worry, you know how to meditate. Highlight verses that stand out to you, write them down on a piece of paper that you can keep with you and think about them throughout the day. I pray them back to God as a form of meditation and often personalize them by adding my own name. For Psalm 16 I highlighted the following:
2 I said to the Lord, “You are my Master! Every good thing I have comes from you.”
7I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. 8 I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.
I need to remember that every good thing in my life comes from my Father who is always with me. I will not be shaken because of that.
Application – this is the final step. Using the verses that I have highlighted and meditated on, I can apply them when I need them. The Holy Spirit is so faithful to bring to mind those verses that I’ve deposited there when I need them – that’s part of His job.
As we continue with this series and our BRP, my prayer for each of us is that we will go deeper, that we will soak in truth and allow it to change us.
Executive Director of Education and Outreach