Delighting in Instructions

Last night I taught Psalm One at the women’s Bible study at my church. Because of the familiarity of this psalm, I anticipated their expectations to be low. The comments I received afterward let me know that I’d given them some fresh insights.

After verse one tells us that the blessed person is not influenced by unbelievers, verse two tells us how that is possible. The blessed person delights in the law of the Lord.

The word law is the Hebrew word torah which means instruction. The law of the LORD means instruction from the LORD, Yhwh, Israel’s covenant God. Where do we find these instructions? In God’s instruction book—the Bible.

The blessed person finds great delight in these instructions, which causes me to ask, “Who delights in instructions?” When you get a new vacuum cleaner and it comes with nine pages of instructions, does anyone actually read those? I would guess that most people just plug it in and start vacuuming, assuming they will figure it out.

Personally, I don’t read instructions, but I do save those instructions in a folder, just in case something goes wrong. For the sake of illustration, I went to this infamous folder and read a few instructions:

• Never iron clothes while they are being worn.
• Do not use the microwave to dry newspaper.
• Loose-fitting garments should never be worn while using the oven.
• Power Drill Warning: This product is not intended for use as a dental drill.

These are common sense, and confirm my suspicion that I don’t need to read appliance instructions. I also found a few instructions that were so complicated, I couldn’t understand them even after reading several times.

I told my Bible study audience that our attitude toward the Bible can be compared to our attitude toward appliance instructions:
• we think we don’t need to read it because it’s common sense and we’ll figure it out,
• or, we think it will be too complicated and we won’t understand it.

The most basic question is, why are instructions important?

The instructions are communication from the manufacturer on how to have the optimal experience based on the design of their product.

In the same way, the Bible is communication from the Manufacturer on how to have the optimal experience based on the design of his product—which is YOU.

We treat the Bible like we treat appliance instructions. We think we don’t need them unless something is broken. But we forget that we are all broken. We can’t figure out the blessed life on our own. The ways of God are counter-intuitive. That’s why he gave us a book.

The design of the Manufacturer is for his people to live in a deep, abiding, love-relationship with him. We cultivate that relationship with God through knowing his Word. The instructions point to him. The Bible is not an end in itself. God gave us the Bible so that we can know him.

The person in Psalm One isn’t delighting in God’s Word because it’s her favorite book. She’s delighting in God. She’s passionate about HIM. He is the love of her life. She’s living the great commandment— loving God with all heart, soul, mind, and strength.

This is God’s prescription for countering the influence of the unbelieving culture. It begins with delight in something, and Someone, more powerful and more worthy.

Your thoughts and comments will benefit all of us. What are you thinking?

9 comments to Delighting in Instructions

  • Amy Calvetti

    I really enjoyed your post. I even read part of it to Sonny. Thank you for bringing a smile to my face & a new way to look at the importance of reading my bible. Amy

    • Hi Amy, I guess we all need a reminder why we need to read the instructions from the Manufacturer. He tells us why we are broken and his plan to fix us. Greetings to Sonny. Hope he is doing well.

  • Joanne

    “We think we don’t need them unless something is broken. But we forget that we are all broken. ” So true Janet. Thank you Lord for your wonderful word. Incidentally, I do like to read manuals especially to electronics. I have found about cool little features I didn’t know about months after owning things just by reading the manual. Sometimes things surprise you by the way they work, I guess. Great post!

    • Hi Joanne, A good measure of humility is also needed to realize we don’t know what we think we know. Talking to myself here. The truth is, the more we know the more we realize that we have a lot to learn. Thanks for sharing.

  • warren culwell

    Excellent way to animate our need for His thoughts…thanks

    • Hey Warren, we are in a battle with forces more sinister than we can imagine. We shouldn’t assume we’ve got the best strategy.

  • Beverly Schlomann

    Thank you for sharing this, Janet,
    God’s Word has been essential in replacing the lies in my head with God’s truth. Memorizing and meditating IS delighting in His Word . . .the more familiar, the more precious. . .

    • You’re exactly right Beverly. That’s why I memorize God’s Word. Saying his words out loud brings me into his presence and fills me with delight. And keeps me focused on the Lord instead of on the world.

  • Richie Malone

    Great analogy!