I’ve always sort of dismissed verse 4 because I was five when I was saved. Although I remember the event clearly, I don’t remember a passionate excitement about it. I’ve always loved God so I can’t look back and point to a “first” love. But recently Pastor Tim preached from this passage, encouraging us to return to our first love. At the same time, I’ve been spending a lot of time listening to lectures and reading books about doctrine. I love it and it’s intellectually satisfying, but I’ve felt a little something missing.
So I’ve looked back to see what I loved about God when I was young. As a child, I loved the Bible stories. David and Goliath, Daniel and the lions den, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and the fiery furnace, Jonah and the whale . . . So my very first love was the story of God’s interactions with His people.
When I was in high school I made a commitment to read the Bible every day. I had already read it all the way through once (unfortunately so I could boast about it), but now I read a chapter a day and tried to learn from it. It was during this time that I fell in love with the words. As a kid I had memorized all the well known passages: the beatitudes, Psalm 23, the Lord’s prayer, the love chapter, the fruit of the Spirit. So the rhythms and poetry of the words were familiar and comforting. I discovered more passages to love: Psalm 1, Romans 8, Romans 12, Philippians 4, all of I John.
I started reading these passages for comfort and inspiration, but I also picked up my Bible when I had free time and read them for the sheer pleasure the words brought. In college I got a Harper Study Bible in the Revised Standard Version. I went through my old King James to find my favorite passages and underlined them in my new Bible. And as I read it, I used the cross references to find more amazing passages. I really was in love.
So I do have a first love to return to. I still love the Bible and study it every day, but I want to go back to the days when I just read it for pleasure, for joy.
Today I’m reading in the King James version – and you are too if you’re following my links - because those were the words I fell in love with. Here is one of those beloved passages from Psalm 19.
7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise
8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.