Lent 1: Delighting in God’s word
“…his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. “ (Psalm 1:1-2)
We come to Lent again – that season of stock taking, quiet reflection, and rededication of our lives to God. What a great opportunity it is to bring ourselves deliberately under God’s searchlight, with the prayer, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!” (Psalm 139:23, ESV). In the thoughts we shall share during this period, our focus will be on the Word of God and how the discipline of Lent can be a great opportunity to rediscover the great potentials of the Word of God, the Bible, in transforming our own lives.
So much has gone into the efforts to preserve and make the Word of God available to us today. The devil has waged war against the Word of God in various ways. People have been killed for translating the Bible, and it has been banned in some places. On the other hand, many others have committed great resources to the translation, publication, and distribution of the Bible.
Lent takes inspiration from the temptation of the Lord Jesus in the wilderness following His baptism (see Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13). In all the temptations that the devil posed, the Lord Jesus had only one recourse: the Scriptures. This immediately teaches us that the incarnate Son of God had more confidence in the Word of God, spoken, recorded and read, than in the wisdom of man to face the devil, who has always attempted to twist the Word of God since the Garden of Eden.
That the Book of Psalms begins with this important perspective to life – delighting in “the law of the LORD” as the greatest fount of blessing is significant. Many people in our time have unlimited access to the Bible. Many devices have the Bible as free applications, beautiful paintings and photographs are used to illustrate Bible truths. The cost of Bibles is highly subsidised to make it affordable in different languages.
Delighting in the Word of God focuses on our attitude to the Bible. Psalm 1 contrasts it with the opinions of men, here described as “the counsel of the wicked”, “the way of sinners”, “the seat of scoffers”. Every age has many opinions that are pitched against the wisdom of the Bible. They seek to discredit the counsel of the Bible. Whenever and wherever we see this happening, it is still the devil at work.
Delighting in the Word of God means to give first attention to the Bible in our best and most alert hours, to start the day by listening to the words that can never go stale or irrelevant, from the One Who sustains our lives and all creation. It means making the counsel of the Bible our supreme and final authority in decision-making and as our guide through life (See Proverbs 3:5–6).
Delighting in the Word of God means asking ourselves when we come to the hazy days of our lives, “What does the Scripture say?” Delighting in the Word of God means deliberately filling our minds with the wisdom of the Bible by reading it daily, not just a few verses, but several chapters. See Colossians 3:16. This takes discipline, and Lent is a time for discipline. Why not make a plan to read the Bible more frequently – maybe with someone close? While abstinence from luxuries is important, we must fill the time with healthy engagement with the Word of God. Pray that God will renew your hunger for His Word as never before, and let what you read influence your prayer life, your conversation, and shape your values and attitudes!
Most Rev Dr. Emmanuel A.S. Egbunu, Anglican Bishop of Lokoja