Today’s reading: 1 Samuel 12; Romans 10; Jeremiah 49; Psalms 26–27
Salvation that comes from trusting Christ – which is the message we preach – is already within easy reach. In fact, the Scriptures say, “The message is close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart” (Romans 10:8 – Life Application Study Bible, Tyndale House Publishers).
This verse is Paul quoting Moses’ words to the Israelite people in Deuteronomy 30:14. I chose to reference the Life Application Bible version above because of its clarity. This passage of Deuteronomy is Moses calling the Israelites to return to the Lord. In the Old Testament these folks had a destructive pattern of turning away from God and worshipping idols. When things got really bad, they came crawling back and pleaded with God to turn his favor toward them again. Same story, different names, throughout the entire Old Testament. God was faithful and kept his promises every time. The context in Romans was a little different. Here, Paul was telling believers that salvation through Jesus Christ was attainable. It was available to both Jews and Gentiles back then. It is available to us today. But is it really close at hand? Is it really on our lips and in our hearts?
As I’ve mentioned before, I grew up in the church. My Dad was a pastor and my Mom was a Sunday School teacher (see picture of my Mom teaching my 3rd grade Sunday School class above). Not just your average Sunday School teacher though, she had a very distinct role. She was the memory verse lady, and her specialty was Middler Worship – 3rd and 4th graders. I remember my Mom leading Middler Worship in the basement of our old church building at 1705 Towanda Avenue for years and years. When I read Romans 10:8 this week, I could hear my Mom leading the weekly memory verse saying, “We are going to hide God’s word in our heart. When we need it, he’s going to help us remember it.”
My Mom was right. Spending time in God’s word, and memorizing key messages from it, is the recipe for keeping the message close at hand, on our lips and in our hearts. In his post this past Thursday, B.J. challenged us to understand the kind and quality of information that we are putting into our minds, as it directly impacts our words and actions. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks (Luke 6:45).
God, I want your message to always be on my lips and in my heart. Will you help me have the courage and discipline to wisely choose what I’m putting in my mind? Let it be things of the Spirit, let it be pleasing to you. Amen.