The Great Epiphany of the Word of God

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January 6, 2020

Jeremiah 15:16 (NIV)

When your words came, I ate them;
they were my joy and my heart’s delight,
for I bear your name,
Lord God Almighty.

CONSIDER THIS

Previously, on the Daily Text, we heard Jesus’ response to Satan’s temptation in the wilderness: “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Let’s take a closer look at the particular temptation to which he responded, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

This temptation, common to us all, goes straight for our core identity. It is the temptation to validate one’s being by their doing; to establish a sense of self and worth built around one’s performance or their appearance or some other self-generated manifestation of one’s value. This is the essence of insecurity because no matter how much security we can amass for ourselves through our doings, it will never be enough to validate or legitimate our being.

Let’s back up with a bit more context for our understanding. Prior to the Spirit’s leading Jesus into the wilderness, he led him to the baptism in the Jordan River. As Jesus came up out of the water, the Spirit descended on him in the form of a dove and these words came directly from the mouth of God. “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17.

In this light, remember Jesus response to Satan’s temptation: “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

For forty days of fasting in the trackless wild Jesus feasted on this word just spoken from the mouth of God: “My son. My beloved. With you I am well pleased.” These words came prior to any performance. They gave validation at the level of his deepest being as the beloved son of an adoring Father.

This is the baptismal word of the Father over all who would follow his son; a blessing word so many of us have never fully received and appropriated in our lives. As a result, we have labored and striven to merit our own worth, to earn our approval and to prove our own value. So many now still strive with a hopeful optimism that at the end of their days they will hear him say, “Well done good and faithful servant.” The gospel truth? He gives you the evaluation before the job even begins: “My son. My daughter. My beloved. With you I am well pleased.” It has nothing to do with your performance and everything to do with his pleasure in you. It brings us to the text for today from the prophet Jeremiah:

When your words came, I ate them;
they were my joy and my heart’s delight,
for I bear your name,
Lord God Almighty.
Jeremiah 15:16.

Herein lies a deep challenge for our inmost being. The Word of God must shift from a duty we perform to a desire in which we delight. In fact, this is a work God must do within us. He will do it by his Word and Spirit.

For the past almost twenty years I have been engaging in a Deuteronomy 6:4-9 type practice every single day. It happens in the morning when I am in the shower (a baptismal environment no less). I speak these blessing words of God aloud over my own life as though they were being spoken by God. I speak my name, saying, “John David, you are my son. You are my beloved. With you I am well pleased.” And I simply try to hear them with my ears. These words, simply spoken and faith-fully heard, have changed me in the deepest way. These words drown out the lies I am so prone to believe about myself and they remind me of the truth that sets me free. I have come to desire and delight in these Words and they have opened my soul to so many others in their wake. This has been, for me, the great epiphany of the Word of God in my own life. It unfolds more and more every single day. I commend the practice to you.

THE PRAYER

Our Father in Heaven, thank you for your Word, which endures forever. I confess, it can be a duty to stay committed to their daily engagement. I don’t want your word to be my duty but rather to be my desire and my delight. Come Holy Spirit and invade my inmost being with this kind of transforming work. I want your Word and your Spirit to be my deepest joy. Open my heart and mind to this new creation reality. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen. 

THE QUESTION

So imagine a continuum which on the far left end represents drudgery. In the middle is duty and on the far right is delight. Where are you right now on that continuum in your relationship with the Word of God? Not where do you want to be but where you actually are for God can only meet us where we are.

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

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