My wife and I enrolled in Bible Memory Association in our early 30s. As our children became old enough, we enrolled them too. The amount of Scripture to be memorized depended on age. Adults memorized seven verses per week and recited them weekly to an assigned hearer. We were in BMA for five years. We eventually used Sunday afternoons to memorize entire chapters from the Bible.
However, I have never attempted to memorize the entire Bible nor have I ever known any Christian who memorized the entire Bible.
Then one day I read about a pastor in the Dominican Republic, whose name was withheld, who graduated from Pastor Training School in Barahona and asked his instructor for an audio recording of the Old Testament. He had already memorized the entire New Testament. Now he wanted to memorize the Old Testament as well. (I wonder what he will do when he gets to Leviticus and Numbers. I wish I could get in touch with him through the school to find out.)
I sat there. Stunned. Holding the complete Bible, not in my mind, but in my hands, trying to hold back the tears. My mind would not stop asking, What motivated that pastor to memorize the entire Word of God? I got so convicted that I could not even ask myself, How many chapters have I committed to memory recently?
As I reflected on our family Bible memorization, the Holy Spirit brought Psalm119:20 to mind, “My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times.” Are we American Christians near the reality of this verse? Perhaps the Dominican pastor is living in the experience of that Psalm.
And to realize he wanted the audio Bible because . . . He is blind.
For a change in content, how about a review of anatomy to see how the Holy Author of Scripture pictures God in human form, called anthropomorphism, to help us visualize Him.
Mind–Jer 32:35 “My people built high places to sacrifice their children. A detestable thing that never entered my mind.” God’s pure, innocence
Face– Ps 105:4 “Seek his face always.” God’s close companionship
Voice–Ps 29:4 “The voice of the Lord is majestic.” God’s lofty magnificence
Heart–I Sam 2:35 “I will do according to what is in my heart.” God’s autonomy
Shoulder–Deut 33:12 “The one the Lord loves rests on his shoulders.” God’s tender care
Back–Isa 38:17 “You have put all my sins behind your back.” God’s eternal forgetfulness
Eyes–2 Chron 16:9 “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” God’s reassuring energy
Arm–Isa 50:2 “Was my arm too short to ransom you?” God’s available resources
Hands–Ps 31:5 “Into your hands I commit my spirit.” God’s firm grip
Ears–Ps 31:2 “Turn your ear to me, quickly rescue me.” God’s immediate help
Feet–Nahum1:3 “The clouds are the dust of his feet” God’s poetry
Reviewing God’s anatomy definitely reaffirms the variety of his eternal promises and commitments to his sons and daughters. Enjoy the anatomy lesson.
The next Umbilical will explore God’s emotional disposition.
Have you fallen off one of life’s ledges today, having no strength to get up and climb back? Then the Lord has tucked away a promise in the minor prophet Habakkuk just for you. To visualize this truth for his people that “The sovereign Lord is my strength,” the Holy Spirit switched to the imagery of the deer to emphasize that He, the Lord, becomes our powerhouse, our “energizer” that keeps us going and going and going.
The deer’s surefootedness keeps him from slipping or falling as he scales the mountainous ridges and sloping hill ledges. So the Lord prevents our slipping and falling as we endure hardships: the hardship of opposition, the hardship of the loss of a loved one, the hardship of the loss of sexual control, or the hardship of depression or despondency.
Recently, I felt myself slipping off one of life’s ridges. Of losing my emotional stability. An internal fungus had poisoned my digestive and nervous system. I couldn’t sleep at night. I recalled Macbeth’s words, “Long is the night that never finds the day.” His was a guilty conscience, mine, the fungus I’d had for more than a year. During one of my sleepless nights, the Holy Spirit directed me to Habakkuk 3:19: “The Sovereign Lord (Hebrew, Adonai Jehovah) is my strength. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.”
When plagued with that slipping off feeling, I’m learning more each day to take God at his Word and to let him “make my feet like the feet of a deer,” surefooted on any treacherous mountain ridge.
Have you had a slipping off experience where the Sovereign Lord made your “feet like the feet of the deer”? Want to share it for the encouragement of another brother or sister in the Lord?