The Blessing of a Memorized Verse


I reread the verse now jumping off the page of my open Bible and cringed as a recent conversation with my sister ran through my mind. I had recently stepped away from the busyness of life and spent several days soaking in the peace and quiet of God’s creation. I’d been surrounded by others who clearly loved the Lord. And while there, God once again revealed to me just how personal His Love is. The weekend was an absolute blessing, and I was so grateful for it. Unfortunately I suspect anyone listening to my recent phone call with my sister likely had a different impression. Reading this verse again, I was deeply convicted as I recalled my critical comments and the way I’d judged others whom I barely knew. So much of what I’d said had been rooted in pride, self-righteous and unkind. My words had been a disgrace. No wonder this verse was calling my name...

When pride comes, then comes disgrace; but with the humble is wisdom.
Proverbs 11:2 (RSV)

As I sat there, shaking my head with shame, an idea suddenly came to mind. Seemingly random at first, I know now it was Holy Spirit led. Picking up my pen, I decided to try something I’d never done before: I decided to memorize the verse that had captured all of my attention.

I wrote the verse several times in my journal before writing it on a small piece of paper that I slipped into my pocket. I also typed it into the notepad on my phone, hoping quick access to it would allow me to easily read it during the day. By that evening I had read, reread, and written the verse multiple times, and by the next morning I could easily recite it. This was the first Scripture verse I’d ever intentionally committed to memory.

***

I stood in my kitchen, tired after a long day at work. I mentally ran through the growing list of things I still needed to accomplish that evening, a list I felt should only be done by me (regardless of the other capable humans in my home), and began to feel frustrated. At that very moment my husband walked into the room, talking. Lost in my head and my frustration, I had no idea what he was saying, but his pause and questioning glance in my direction made it clear he was awaiting my response. I stood at the counter, bothered that I’d been interrupted, ashamed I’d been caught not listening, and overwhelmed by the list of things I still needed to do. I opened my mouth, an irritated comment on the tip of my tongue. And in that very moment, a split second before I snapped at him, before the unkind words I’d only regret flew out of my mouth, I heard it. No it wasn’t audible. But from deep within I heard the exact words I’d memorized just two days prior:

When pride comes, then comes disgrace; but with the humble is wisdom.
Proverbs 11:2 (RSV)

I closed my mouth quickly and swallowed before opening it again. “I’m sorry, honey; I didn’t hear you. What did you say?”

***

Holy Scripture is alive. I know this. Reading a passage or verse at one point in life can reveal something entirely different than when it is read later. But perhaps memorizing Scripture allows it to come alive in an entirely different way. Perhaps inscribing God's Word in our minds actually gives the Lord access to our hearts, allowing Him to speak to us at the very moment He knows we most need to hear Him. And when the words we hear whispered deep within our hearts are echoes of His actual written Word .... well, it eliminates any struggle discerning just whose voice we heard.

The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any two-edged sword, it pierces to the point where it divides soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and the intentions of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12 (NCB)



I'm praying, as always, that God breathes life into these words.



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