Memory Verse: Ephesians 6: 10-18 10 Finally, grow powerful in union with the Lord, in union with his mighty strength! Use all the armor and weaponry that God provides, so that you will be able to stand against the deceptive tactics of the Adversary. For we are not struggling against human beings, but against the rulers, authorities and cosmic powers governing this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm. So take up every piece of war equipment God provides; so that when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist; and when the battle is won, you will still be standing. Therefore, stand! Have the belt of truth buckled around your waist, put on righteousness for a breastplate, and wear on your feet the readiness that comes from the Good News of shalom. Always carry the shield of trust, with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the Evil One. And take the helmet of deliverance; along with the sword given by the Spirit, that is, the Word of God; as you pray at all times, with all kinds of prayers and requests, in the Spirit, vigilantly and persistently, for all God’s people.
Introduction: Let Your Fingers Do the Walking (Yellow Pages) I have deviated from the traditional Memory Verse.. in that usually we take one of the words in the slogan and seek a scripture that uses that word, but today I’m using the concept of what Yellow Pages is all about.. seeking and finding. I used the word Walking.. which made me think of shoes.. and this set of verses is exactly what I want to share. This assignment will be tougher than those of the last few weeks.. take your time, you can always do it late. Put on that full armor and study God’s word, so that you can more fully understand what He wants you to learn from it. This scripture from Ephesians is exhorting us to be armed - fully armed - to stand against HaSatan - the Adversary. The Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. I want us to dig deeper into God’s Word, and to really let our fingers do the walking through the resources we have available to us - books, internet - and really seek to find the true meaning of His Word. Don’t worry, I’m no expert, I’ll be learning to do this along with you all.
Assignment: I’d like you to choose a word, find the Hebrew or Greek original word, and then dig into it’s full meaning. Use things like the Strong’s Concordance or the Gesenius and find the root of the word. What is the first occurance of that word in scripture? What did that word mean in that first occurance? Did the meaning of the word change as God used it in scripture? Now find some verses in scripture that use that word, and like The Message Bible does, re-write that scripture using the full meaning that you now understand to illuminate that scripture verse. What kinds of words should you look up? I’m going to do fire.. but you could look up water, altar, sacrifice, prayer, washing, or any word that you feel God is asking you to understand better. If you feel challenged to, when you find the Hebrew word, look up the meaning of the letters in the root word. The Hebrew letters themselves have meaning, and give meaning to the word.
Today as I was teaching my children, we were instructed to read Psalm 119:97-104. Never before have I ever felt the Lord so strongly as I did today while reading these verses. Here they are:
97O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.
98Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.
99I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.
100I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.
101I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.
102I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me.
103How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.
The two words that I chose to look up because they stuck out so boldly to me were, insight and meditate.
Understanding in the Hebrew is (7919) (מבין, מגלה הבנה) This word blew me away because it does not just mean to know...No..this word means so much more than just knowing. It means to be an expert, skillfull, successful...did I mention that it means to be an expert. WOW. An expert at what? That comes to my second word: KEEP
Keep in the Hebrew is (5341) . This word does not mean to just hold on to something. Check this out: This word means to guard, protect, OBEY.
How do I gain understanding and become an expert Lord of your word? I KEEP your precepts (laws). I know more than others (not in a know it all sense) because I choose to make you more important than anything else that I understand or keep.
Matthew Henry's Commentary says it so much better than I ever could:
What we love, we love to think of. All true wisdom is from God. A good man carries his Bible with him, if not in his hands, yet in his head and in his heart. By meditation on God's testimonies we understand more than our teachers, when we understand our own hearts. The written word is a more sure guide to heaven, than all the fathers, the teachers, and ancients of the church. We cannot, with any comfort or boldness, attend God in holy duties, while under guilt, or in any by-way. It was Divine grace in his heart, that enabled the psalmist to receive these instructions. The soul has its tastes as well as the body. Our relish for the word of God will be greatest, when that for the world and the flesh is least. The way of sin is a wrong way; and the more understanding we get by the precepts of God, the more rooted will be our hatred of sin; and the more ready we are in the Scriptures, the better furnished we are with answers to temptation.
Here are some other scriptures that use that same word for keep (5341)
Psalm 25:10: All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.
Psalm 34:13: Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile
Psalm 78:7: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments
Psalm 105:45: That they might observe his statutes, and keep his laws. Praise ye the LORD
Psalm 119:2: Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart
Psalm 119:33-34: Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart
Lord, make me an expert of Your word, so that I can guard it and obey it with all my heart. I know that in doing so, I will be able to withstand temptation and hate every evil way.