Gather: Lectio Divina – Week 4

We’re glad you’ve joined us and hope you’ve gathered a friend or two to share a meal and His Word. Let’s dig in!

Lord, thank You for Your faithfulness in this month of gathering. Of showing up and revealing Yourself to us so we might know You better. Open our hearts and minds to receive all You have for us so we might grow to glorify You in all we do!

We’re here at the end, the last week of our gatherings in August. The week where we’ll bring all the components of lectio divina together as a cohesive spiritual practice.

Lectio divina is a way to prayerfully meditate on God’s Word for the purpose of experiencing God in a personal way and increasing our understanding of living out Scripture.

In the process of teaching the practice of lectio we’ve divided it into four components. We’ve covered three so far and will add the fourth and final today.

  • Present. We become present to God and present ourselves to Scripture in the reading of the Word.
  • Question. As we read we embrace the questions which come by praying them to God and listen for His answers.
  • Search. We listen for Him to lead us to resources to get us thinking in a way which He blesses with revelation.

This has been a one verse Bible study. We’ve meditated on a single verse all month.

“Be still and know that I am God!

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth!”

Psalm 46:10

The past week, we asked you to practice the first three components of lectio as you meditated on Psalm 46:10.

What resources did God lead you to in response to your questions?

How did He guide and direct your thinking about His Word this week?

What, if any, revelations did you receive in your search for answers?

One way we search the meaning of a verse is to look at it in context. Taking into account what comes both immediately before and after the verse, then within the whole chapter, and maybe even the whole book or overall view of the Bible. Looking at the way it fits into the greater can give us even more detailed insight to what God is saying.

Psalm 46:10, our focus for the month, lends itself to the understanding God answers questions the way God answers: Be still and know that I am God

Let’s look at our one verse within its context in the whole of Psalm 46.

Read Psalm 46

After meditating on verse 10 for several weeks now, what depth is added to the verse by reading the entire psalm?

What are the reasons listed within the psalm that give us confidence to follow God’s command: Be still…?

Does it line up with what God has been speaking to you already?

Stacy says:

My searching deeper into Psalm 46 led me to a commentary that is fairly new on the scene of Christian resources. The author’s words draw me.

“Be still” literally means “Take your hands off! Relax!” We like to be “hands-on” people and manage our own lives, but God is God, and we are but His servants.

–Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary

And there you have it. I’m feeling completely out of control in this season of my life. Adult children leaving home, letting go of a ministry I led for twenty years, and embracing His call to new ministry has my head spinning. I’m not sure how to manage in this new territory. 

So what do I do? I attempt to hold tight to the spiritual practices that have kept me close to him in the past believing somehow this will keep me firmly grounded. Only I wrestle in this too. Holding on with white knuckles to my old ways, feeling like a failure when I can’t seem to quiet my mind. Wondering and  wandering… trying to find my place. 

Holy Spirit speaks to me through Weirsbe’s words. Would you let go. Let go of what was and embrace what is. Relax! Take your hands off. I can manage all of this new if you’ll let me. Just be my servant. Be. My. Servant.

As I share with the sister over lunch she smiles, “I’ve seen this in you and wondered if I should say something.” She didn’t until today. Her words are like the period at the end of this sentence, confirming truth in me.

Spending time in God’s Word tests and tries us. It leads to a working out of new truth in our lives, a freeing up to be more like Jesus. In the coming to grips with new truth we are led to the final component of lectio: Test. We test what’s been revealed by living it out or by simply beginning to rest in our new understanding of who God is.

test noun — a critical examination, observation, or evaluation: trial specifically: the procedure of submitting a statement to such conditions or operations as will lead to its proof or disproof or to its acceptance or rejection

–Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary

God has a design and purpose for our lives. Part of testing what we have heard through meditating on Scripture is to determine whether it lines up with God’s purpose for our lives.

Read 1Peter 1:14-16

Who does God call us to be?

How are we to act? Why?

God calls His people to be obedient children and no longer live in our ignorant ways, driven by emotions and fleshly desires. It is through our intentional time in Scripture that we increase our knowledge of who God is, who we are, and who He wants us to be. 

Because He is our Father who is holy, we are called to be holy like Him, following in the footsteps of our Older Brother, Jesus. This is exactly what Jesus asks the Father to do for His disciples in His prayer shortly before His arrest and crucifixion.

“…Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. …”

John 17:17-19 ESV

The ultimate goal of lectio divina is to allow Scripture to transform our lives by coming into God’s presence to encounter truth through prayer and revelation which leads to living out the holy in our day-to-day lives.

Holiness is the most attractive quality, the most intense experience, we ever get out of sheer life — authentic, undiluted, firsthand living, not life looked at and enjoyed from a distance. We find ourselves in on the operations of God himself, not talking about them, not reading about them. 

–Eugene Peterson, The Jesus Way

Testing what we hear to determine its worthiness is something we are called to do. 

…but test everything, hold fast to what is good.

1Thessalonians 5:21 ESV

Whatever does not move us toward holiness — making us more like Jesus — is something we need to ask God to remove from our lives.

Some ways we’ve discovered to determine the validity of what we’ve heard are:

  • Sharing what we’ve learned with another Believer we trust. Someone we know who is more spiritually mature than we are or at least seeking truth with the same passion. Listen to their response and continue to ask God for wisdom and discernment.
  • Looking for confirmation of what we’ve heard from other sources: Scripture, trusted teachers or preachers, music.
  • Examining what we’ve heard by putting it to the test with this simple question: Does it increase the grace and love I have for others?
  • Begin living it out. Obey it to the best of our understanding and see if it proves true. He will confirm our understanding with affirmation or correction.

God will not lead His children astray. If our hearts are set on truly seeking Him and His truth to live it out by faith, He will clarify our understanding. Living out what we learn by faith is one of the things that pleases God. Yes, even if we get it a bit wrong. That’s why He says He works ALL things for the good of those who love Him who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

Carol says:

In my early years of walking by faith and trying to follow to the best of my understanding, I got some hard lessons.

One such lesson was when it came to giving. I gave as the Word says: Give to whoever asks (Matthew 5:42). Well there came a day when my desire to give as God says, and my husband’s telling me NOT to give collided.

By God’s grace, the marriage withstood that moment of my choosing God over my husband. But God also taught me, my husband is the one who makes the decisions regarding giving and I am to come under his authority (Ephesians 5:22). It’s God’s order.

Ouch!

The ultimate test of what has been revealed to you about God’s Word is to begin living it out, putting it into practice, discovering how it works in your life.

Your homework this week is to continue to meditate on Psalm 46:10 through all the components of lectio divina and begin to actually live out this verse in your life.

  • Present yourself humbly to God in His Word.
  • Read the Scripture daily.
  • Let go… be present.
  • Ask the question, search… listen for God to respond.
  • Share it, look for confirmation.
  • Begin to make the Word flesh in your life through obedience. What does it look like to live out what He has revealed?

There is a passage in the psalms which gives us a beautiful picture of the blessing of drawing close to God through His Word. Coming to know who He is and who we are before Him.

 Blessed are the people who know the passwords of praise, who shout on parade in the bright presence of God. Delighted, they dance all day long; they know who you are, what you do — they can’t keep it quiet! Your vibrant beauty has gotten inside us — you’ve been so good to us! We’re walking on air! All we are and have we owe to God, Holy God of Israel, our King!

Psalm 89:15-18 The Message

As we close our study of the practice of lectio divina, prayerful meditation on God’s Word, we pray you will begin to dig deep into His Word as He leads you and experience the blessing of knowing Him more fully and walking in all His ways.

Father God, we thank You for this time we’ve had together this month. Continue to draw us close to You and direct us to the Word You want to speak into our hearts and lives.

 

 

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