Dane Ortlund helps us set our expectations for our daily devotions. Should we be looking for verses to jump off the page? A ‘still small voice’ in our minds?
Welcome once again to UP, the Union Podcast. You’re listening to me, Dan Hames, chatting with Dane Ortlund, the Senior Vice President for Bible Publishing at Crossway. We’ve been talking about the Bible in our Christian life. Dane, as I open my Bible, perhaps first thing in the day, what am I to expect as I open the pages? Should I be looking for verses that jump off the page and hit me between the eyes? Should I be listening for that still, small voice in my heart? What is to be my expectation when I read?
That’s a good question. And sometimes verses do jump off the page at us when we read and smack us between the eyes, but should we daily and regularly expect it? That would be an unrealistic expectation, I think.
Sometimes you hear people say, “I just really feel like God was speaking to me.” And maybe they were driving, watching Oprah, or walking on the beach. And maybe God was speaking to them, who am I to say. But I just want to say: You don’t have to wait for subjectivistic impressions to hear God speaking to you. You can hear him speaking to you any time you want: a clear, objective word. I heard God speak to me this morning in Galatians 2 and 1 Samuel 7. The verses didn’t jump off the page to me, and I didn’t hear a still, small voice in my mind, I just read the words. That’s it. Slowly read the words. And as I did, I heard God speaking to me.
So here’s one thing that may be helpful, I remember going to seminary, Covenant Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, and being in my first semester of homiletics. And he trained us to ask two questions of the text as we got ready to preach or teach it. And I would say, or read it too. And the two questions he gave us were this: Answer of the text– What do we learn in this text either about the God who provides redemption or people who need it? What do we learn about the grace of God or our need of that grace? And the thing I love about that, Dan, is that it empties any chance of reading the text in a moralistic or a self-help kind of way. Because the Bible isn’t self-help, it’s good news, from cover to cover.
So no, don’t expect fireworks when you open up your Bible. Just expect the Holy Spirit to massage the word into your soul. Just expect to become a little more human, calmer, happier, wiser, stronger, as you commune with God.
Thank you, Dane. Make sure you do tune in, we’re with Dane again for two more days. So join us again on UP, the Union Podcast.
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