Denise Day Spencer

January 15, 2006

Digging deeper

Filed under: Devotional Life — denisedayspencer @ 5:26 am

The Bible never ceases to amaze me.

I’ve been a Christian for 38 years, and I’ve learned that there’s no end to the treasures God’s word holds. Sometimes it seems as if there are layers and layers of truth in the same passage. A verse or paragraph may mean one thing to me at one point in my life and then take on an even deeper meaning as I grow and mature. Sometimes this is due to one or both of two things: translations and context.

A passage I came to love several years ago is Psalm 16:5-6: “Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” That’s how it reads in the NIV. O.K., so I don’t need to covet what other people have. I don’t need to wish for things God hasn’t given me, or to want more than I should have of what He has given me. Simple enough, right? It’s two beautiful verses; be happy for what God has given you and be content.

Yesterday I was looking for something else and I ran across this passage again. Listen to how it reads in the New King James version: “O Lord, you are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot…” Wait a minute. Now He doesn’t just assign me my portion; He is my portion.

I should have figured that out even from the NIV if I had read these two verses in the larger context: “I said to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing…The sorrows of those will increase who run after other gods…” (v. 2, 4a)

I’m not supposed to seek or delight in what God gives me, but in God Himself. It’s when I turn to things/people who are not God and expect them to meet my needs that I really get into trouble.

I need to remember to compare translations more often. And always, always check out the context. Doing those two things can bring out the beauty of a scripture passage, shed new light on a subject, and might even bring a surprise or two along the way.

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