Hearing God’s Word changes your perspective. I’ve been a read-the-Bible-through-in-a-year kind of girl for some time now, so this year felt like a good opportunity to change it up a bit. After researching a variety of options, I landed on an app that would easily facilitate listening to Scripture in the version I enjoy. Being a kinesthetic learner, however, I was concerned that I wouldn’t glean as much from hearing Scripture as I had from reading it.
Something interesting happened, though. As I listen each day, portions of Scripture are capturing my attention that I don’t recall thinking much about before. Today was a great example.
The voice coming from my smart phone was reading Deuteronomy 8, Moses’ admonition to the Jewish people to remember the Lord:
Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands.Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
He did it to teach you is the phrase that caught my attention. There was a reason, a purpose, a specific motivation behind God’s actions. He humbled the people by allowing them to experience hunger and then by alleviating that need through miraculous intervention. God was clearly reminding the nomads their provision was from Him. He allowed them to experience a deep need for their refinement, the development of their character, and to assure they had an opportunity to become the people He wanted them to be.
I hit the pause button. I was no longer listening. My mind had turned inward, and I began to wonder how many circumstances The Good Shepherd had permitted or established in my life because He wanted to teach me specifically that I don’t live by an earthly substance from the grains, beans, and legumes food group, but by every word that comes from His mouth.
As I hunger each day, His words are to be my nourishment. As I stumble through life, His words are to be my anchor. As I struggle with leading well, His words are to be my guide.
That is how we shepherd well – by living on His Word rather than the world’s.