Growing up I was taken along to church and soon discovered an incredible gift, I was amongst the elite few in Draw Swords and Bible memory verses. You might be asking what these two arenas of combat are and who are the chosen warriors that compete in such crucibles of courage.
Draw Swords, basically, bible under the arm (sword in sheath) someone calls out the bible verse and shouts ‘charge.’ At which myself, and a few others in the elite group, instantly found said verse and stood up reading it, win. A classic church game to keep the kids engaged, the other was simply a test of memory powers.
The point of this trip down memory lane (see what I did there?) is to call out 10 bible verses that we can work on committing to memory during the week. Verses that will come with some explanation and discovery but basically, it is CVM’s top ten list of memory verses for 2018.
Here we go.
10: Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Ok, so I want to throw a bit of a curve straight into this top ten. What happens when we get given a bible verse and it talks about us getting the desires of our hearts and enjoying safe pasture, when in actual fact, if we are honest, life has given us a proper kicking and we feel like our prayers bounce off the ceiling and come back empty.
I am just being real here.
Maybe you have been there, and you go to the bible and find this stuff and it just doesn’t seem to add up, at all. So, what’s the take on this then? How does this stuff level out and find a balance in our lives?
This Psalm seems to be contrasting a couple of things, chaos, destruction, seemingly unpunished gains and the success of evil people against the faithful few holding on. I think it would also be fair to say that most of us have felt like that at times too.
There is a theme of God aligning himself, carrying, supporting, building up and walking with those who refuse to delight in the evil they see and the traps and value the world holds onto. This is presented as a duty, a calling if you like, but also a privilege. It also requires people to trust in God and to consciously turn their hearts to do good things.
It seems to me that when we are doing this stuff we do actually delight in the direction that trusting God brings, whilst at the same time doing some good, the evidence if you like, of God in our life. But what about the ‘safe pasture and the getting the desires of our heart’ thing?
Does it mean safe pasture, no trouble will ever come? No, it can’t do. There have been too many Christians who delight in God and have demonstrated incredible kindness etc, but have been hit by the most brutal elements of being human and caring about others. So, what this safe pasture must be is a compass and guide to seek and look for in a time of darkness and hostility. It is not a bubble of protection from the world around us. Could it then be described as being more about seeking peace rather than trouble, blessing others rather than cursing them?
Does this mean then, that if I can do that then I will get those euro millions numbers I have been waiting for? The desire of my heart? No, as I think the desires of a heart walking as close as possible to God will actually be shaped and focused on more than getting rich and buying a Ferrari.
So what do these desires look like then? I think they are more about love, justice, mercy, hope, value, kindness, generosity and peace than amassing an abundance of stuff. The bible, if we consider it as a whole, seems to put these values way above the striving after material ambition that we can so often hold onto as a desire.
Hmm, ok I am feeling rather challenged, time to stop, anyway…that was our No.10 memory verse.
Image Credit: Ben White