THINGS THAT ARE SHAPING US, PART 8
by Mike Taylor
More than any album, more than any book, more than any event, more than anything, the one thing that has shaped me, especially this year, has been the Bible. I love reading the scriptures and each time I do I feel filled with a mysterious wonder that I get nowhere else. I would be lying if I didn’t say sometimes it’s a struggle or some days I miss it but I can honestly say that each time I am intentional about it and not rushing through readings I see something like I haven’t before. There is simply nothing like it and it is such a gift that we shouldn’t take for granted. I often try to use the inspiration/challenge/emotion etc i’ve received from reading the Bible to write songs, some of which we have sung at church.
Three books inside the Bible that have especially shaped me this year have been the Psalms and the books of Daniel and Micah.
Almost every emotion imaginable is approached in the Psalms and often in ways which seem surprising. I love the raw emotion and energy that calls us to cry out to God no matter where we are at or what situation we find ourselves in. From tragedy to triumph, the Psalms speaks to it all.
My favorite Psalm recently has been Psalm 25 especially verses 4-5:
4 Show me your ways, Lord,
teach me your paths.
5 Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.
The book of Daniel is full of crazy prophecies, dreams and interpretations but the thing that has struck me recently is the simple humility of Daniel. In chapter 2, the first thing Daniel does, after God reveals a dream and interpretation to him, is praise God (in the middle of the night!). His words (verses 20-23) are worthy of being a Psalm, they are that eloquent. I love Daniels response in verse 30:
30 As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than anyone else alive, but so that Your Majesty may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind.
Isn’t that amazing? And such a challenge. I simply don’t think I would have that kind of response if I was in Daniels shoes. As C.S. Lewis said: “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”
Mostly a book of judgement and misery, there are amazing prophecies about the coming Christ which typically we go to Isaiah for. I love how the NIV translates Micah 5:2 [speaking of the coming messiah] “whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
Chapter 7 is a miserable lament that has 2 wonderful glimmers of hope and is an amazing read that finishes with:
18 Who is a God like you,
who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
but delight to show mercy.
19 You will again have compassion on us;
you will tread our sins underfoot
and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
20 You will be faithful to Jacob,
and show love to Abraham,
as you pledged on oath to our ancestors
in days long ago.
Doesn’t it just make you want to worship?