Psalm 111:2 The great works of the LORD are sought out by all who delight in them.
A couple of years ago, I found myself in a “post-birth of our son” groove, in regards to making (and actually finding) time to study the Scriptures again, like I had grown accustomed to. For a couple of years previous it was pretty much my profession, albeit unpaid of course. I remember posting on facebook how excited I was to be studying again. When I ran into an acquaintance a day or so after I had posted this fact, they commented, “So I saw you’ve gone back to school. What are you studying?” “Studying?” I asked. “Ummm… oh yea. No, I’m not in school”, I went on to say and then explain further. (Of course “studying” must mean school of some sort to most.) Even here in the tight grip of the dreadful Bible Belt, studying the Bible is a pretty foreign idea for many a “layman”. Of course pastors, Bible college students and Sunday School teachers have to study. Right? But all others? Nah. Outside of going through Bible study books that walk you through texts by the hand and often tell you what the Scriptures are saying (via the author and/or denomination that it represents), little is often done to dive into the Word of God on our own.
Admittedly, I generally enjoy studying the Bible. Despite my loathing of studying and preparing back in the days of high school, these days I usually get great understanding and revelation from what I look into. But not always, of course. Laziness, low expectations and disinterest in general still thwart my intentional time in the Word. Why is that? Am I too distracted? Too busy? Too entirely disinterested because I’m too often enamored with fleshly indulgences and comforts to make the time? Yes, and more. I’m 100% assured that the enemy uses many tactics and frustrations to keep me out of the studying of the Scriptures, but primarily, the blame is on me. I’m responsible to study to show myself approved (2 Timothy 2:15). Too often I find myself waiting until I "feel like it". Not once can I remember ever taking the time to dive into the Scriptures and then end up wishing I had done something else.
A student can be pressured or prodded to study and still learn, but oh how great is a willing student that loves the subject and the material. Perhaps a good analogy/comparison would be how hard it is to sit my four year old son down to study and practice writing compared with a college student who is devouring a subject that he enjoys and delights in because he wants to devote his life to its vocation. A mature student should handle things differently, with responsibility of course, but also with interest and greater purpose.
This being said, in regards to studying the Scriptures, this text is speaking of much more than just Bible study. So let’s take a minute to dissect Psalm 111:2. The great works of the LORD are sought out by all who delight in them. For starters, the psalmist likely had a much different understanding and approach to the “great works of the LORD” than you and I. They would regularly recount what God had done in their land, in their people, in their very own lives. They would, in the presence of others, declare and remember what the Lord had done in their midst. We see this in many places, as in Psalm 77:11 which states, I shall remember the deeds of the LORD; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old. I especially like Psalm 133:5 that says, I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your doings; I muse on the work of Your hands. These works are His acts, deeds, labors and achievements. From days of old to the here and now, His handiwork is displayed. From how He created mankind with His very own breath to how that very same breath holds us together still today, His works are limitless!
Are we likewise enamored with the works of the Lord? Too often I forget all that He has done in my own life. He miraculously healed me of a stroke. He aligned my life with an awesome woman who chose to covenant her life with me in marriage. He gave me the gift of a son, an unknown desire of my very own heart. He rescued me time and time again, in the natural and in the spiritual paths of my life in the last forty-two years. We tend to get so wrapped up in the “needs” and demands of today that we can be prone to forget about the wonders of old, in our own lives and in the lives of our spiritual forefathers. We must dedicate time, personally and with others, as we explore the immeasurable works of the Lord in our lives.
As the psalmist shows us, these works can be “sought out”. The Greek is “darash” and is understood to mean “to enquire of/to study/to frequent a place/to investigate”. The works of the Lord can, of course, be found in His Scriptures as well as in our own lives. We can seek them out and investigate them in the writings that we can study in the Word as well as how we can recount and investigate the occurrences in our own lives. We can find His patterns, His intentions, His ways of speaking and moving amongst His people throughout history as well as today. As one of the definitions states, we need to “frequent” the works of the Lord, daily, hourly, moment by moment as we go through the rigors of each day. In actuality, all that we put our hands to should somehow be relevant to raising our eyes above our circumstances and seeing the handiwork of the Father in the midst of it all.
So, we must see the awesome works of the Lord as tangible and relevant to our lives as we strive to live as Christ and leave the ways of our flesh behind. And we must enquire of these works. We must investigate what the Lord has done and is now doing. We must invest our time in meditating on these things! It’s not about becoming a Bible scholar or preparing for a sermon. It’s about making the remarkable works of the Lord our dwelling. So what is the key? I would say that we, the Body of Christ, have lost our delight in the works of the Lord. We’ve forgotten to remember, as simple as that sounds. We discuss a lot of things, but rarely recount the works of the Lord in our lives and in the lives of those who have gone before us. It pains me to say that we’re basically forgoing leaving a legacy of the works of the Lord. We’re simply not passing on accounts of His handiwork from generation to generation – from Scriptural accounts and surely not from personal experience. It’s no wonder that it often looks like the Church is dead. In many ways, She is surely ailing. We delight in many things – religious successes, building grand campuses, elevating personal endeavors in the name of God, etc., but too often I feel we forsake the delight in Gods works.
This word “delight” in Greek is “chephets” and insinuates purpose/longing/taking pleasure in. Where is our delight? Where is our longing? Do we truly delight in what the Lord has done? Does it excite and move us into a realm of seeking out His mysteries and works and then to find others to share this good news with? How often do We have an approach that is motivated by excitement and delight? One that says, “Wait until I tell you what the Lord has done!!!” Tiresome and impersonal accounts of Christianity are passing on spiritual lethargy and we who are called according to His purpose must shake ourselves from our slumber and turn our gaze back onto the Father and His great works! If we have any chance of passing on anything empowering and life-changing to those who are in the next generation, we must regain the awe and delight of God once more. We owe it to our children and the generations to come to reclaim this delight in our own lives.
Turn off your television. Throw your devices into a drawer for the night. Gather your family. Blow off the weekday dust from your Bibles and see what the Lord has done. I’m a believer that only when we take the time to see what He has done in others can we more fully see what He is now doing in us –and vice-versa! A friend recently told me he’s been learning about “the labor, diligence and work it requires to continue in the faith… and our continual surrender.” Too long we’ve been taught (and teaching) to just “rest” in Christ. Yes, there is a resting in His finished work. This however is surely no excuse to be a spiritual sloth. His work, His acts, His deeds and achievements must compel me to move! They must fuel me to respond and to seek out His awesome works. Lord help Us to delight in You again! Stir in Our hearts and minds a longing to seek out Your life-giving movements displayed throughout all the ages.