“Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.”
James 1:23-24 – The Message
There are a few podcasts that are part of my routine – I check them out regularly, load ’em to my iPod (’cause it’s a little tough taking an iPad on my trike), and listen to them either during the day or at night before bed.
One in particular usually starts my day, and sometimes ends it: the Daily Audio Bible with Brian Hardin. I usually listen as soon in the morning as my schedule allows – on my morning trike ride, while knitting in the living room, or at a coffee shop or bookstore preparing to write.
At first, I thought “well, this is just for those who want to take the ‘easy’ way – being spoon-fed scripture instead of reading it for themselves. Not really studying – not ‘real’ devotions, just an electronic fix that doesn’t really change a life.”
And I was wrong. At least for me. For others, your mileage may vary.
What this has done is help me establish a morning routine – a regular path that I follow. Beginning my day focusing on God and His word, and that starts to penetrate the rest of the day. A particular verse, or a section of the story coming back to mind, giving me time to reflect and apply.
Which brings us to Solomon and James. (wouldn’t that be a great name for a folk singing duo?)
We’re in First Kings, watching the reign pass from David to Solomon. We approach the apex of glory for Israel – the building of the Temple and the rule of the wisest king ever… and then we watch it all fall downhill from there. From David, with a whole heart for God, to Solomon, half-hearted.
And it makes me wonder, which one am I?
I (like so many other kids raised in Sunday School) do a bit of sneering at the Hebrew children – watching the Red Sea part, then hang out with the gold cow. God provides bread, and they whine. God delivers, they turn to idols. “What, are they idiots?” I hear myself ask.
Solomon – given wisdom from God, along with long life and riches. And after an amazing start, down he goes. Just like the rest of his people’s history.
For I’m the guy who has received such abundant grace from God’s hand that it staggers the mind. I’ve seen my entire life and history re-written in just over a year. Chains have been shattered, my story made new, and God’s goodness shown so hugely that I have no words to describe it.
And 5 minutes after hearing His word, I get irritated with the person who just cut me off on the highway. I get peeved when the piece of bread I just buttered falls on the floor. (buttered side down, of course) I sit in front of the TV or the computer and allow my brain to turn to mush. I wander through my world and wonder why I feel so alone. Through conscious or unconscious choice, I turn away.
I look in the mirror, walk away and forget what I look like. Probably there’s a little dot in my Bible next to James 1:23 and an arrow that says, “you are here.” I cry for God’s word to illumine my path, then I tie a blindfold over my eyes. I plead for His voice to sing over me, and then I plug my ears. (no matter that they’re Bose earbuds – they’re still earplugs at times)
I’m Solomon, without the wisdom or the riches. Only one wife, but she is a hottie, so we’ve got that in common.
What listening to the Word each day is doing is keeping the mirror in front of me. In fact, when I’m being a boogerhead, you’ll sometimes hear me mutter, “mirror” or “Solomon.” The mental health professionals call that self-talk. I call it giving myself a private butt whooping. Or semi-public – I have no shame. Usually. Sometimes.
Father, give me this day what I need for this day. Keep the mirror in front of me Lord – don’t let me turn away and forget who I am in You. Remind me when I turn away, catch me when I close my eyes or plug my ears, and lead me in Your way. What I need today, for today. Each step, each hour, each minute. Thanks for the gift of Your word – help me stay grounded in it, and close to You.