Memorize the Bible

So we’re doing a series of exhortations on the habits of grace, or means of grace, or also called the spiritual disciplines. These are the practical things that we can do to experience more of our fellowship with God through the gospel. Last week Pastor Michael talked about Bible intake, and this week I want to talk to you about Bible memory. Both last week and this week are about the Bible. Last week we were exhorted to read the Bible, in breadth and depth. And this week I want to exhort you to memorize the Bible, in whatever way you can. Whether it’s a verse here or there, or a chapter, or a whole book, it is good to get the Bible carved into our heads and hearts.

And here’s one reason why. Imagine your most stressful moment during the day. Maybe it’s out at the office, with the pressure of deadlines, or maybe it’s having to get along with difficult co-workers, or maybe it’s demanding clients who are hard to satisfy. Maybe it’s parenting, when things are their craziest, when there’s crying and screaming and diapers that need to be changed, or when there are hard decisions that need to be made. What is it for you? It could be just real hardship. Maybe it you’re in a season of darkness, and your soul is exhausted, and everything feels heavy and overwhelming. 

Whatever it is, we all know what trouble feels like. We know what it’s like to be in a hard place. And so imagine you’re there in that hard place, and then, right in the middle of the chaos and difficulty, you stop and think: 

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
[2]Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
[3]though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
[4]There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
[5]God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
[6]The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
[7]The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
[8]Come, behold the works of the Lord,
how he has brought desolations on the earth.
[9]He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
[10]“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
[11]The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

And suddenly, the hardship you’re in doesn’t feel quite the same. Because in the middle of that hardship, stirring inside your head and heart, is the word of God. Something will always come to mind in those moments. There is no doubt about that. In those moments, you will be thinking something and saying something to yourself. And there’s nothing better for that something to be than the very thoughts of God himself. That’s the point of memorizing Scripture.

Prayer of Confession

Father, your word is good and holy. It is good and holy in itself, and it is good and holy for you in the thick of everyday life. You have given it to us as a lamp for our feet and a light for our path, and yet we have mishandled its glory. We have not stored up your word in our hearts. We have not cherished its wonder. We have not wielded its sword. We have not appreciated its comfort. And for this, Father, we repent. Forgive us for this dullness of heart, and for all the things we’ve turned to besides your word, and especially in those moments when we most need your word. We confess that this is a messed up thing to do. It is wrong and we’re guilty of it, and we also know that if we in the church regard sin in our own midst, our prayers will be ineffectual, and so in this moment of silence, we confess our individual sins to you. . . .

And now, Father, we thank you for your mercy. Thank your for your forgiveness and grace through the death and resurrection of Jesus, and for your Spirit’s continuing work in our lives. Thank you, Father, for how your Spirit ministers your Word to our souls. We ask for more of that. Give us more of that this year, and in the coming days. In Jesus’s name, amen.