Back to the Bible

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I’ve been going through a bit of a spiritual renaissance lately. I’ve been cutting back on the books, and doing more reading of Scripture. It’s not that I stopped reading Scripture. It’s just that I got the sense that my reading energies were being spent in ways that were inappropriately out of balance. I might spend an hour a day reading books, and 15 minutes with Scripture (sermon preparation excluded). One day, this just seemed weird to me.

This sort of balance might be OK at times. However, when performed over time, it skews one’s thinking in such a way that one can believe that authors speak truth that Scripture does not. Of course, I know this isn’t the case. But, before I look to authors, I must always look to Scripture.

I think we sell Scripture short sometimes. But, Scripture itself reminds us that it is living and active. It is the only living book that exists. It is God-breathed. And, if I will keep it as my first source of wisdom both in mind, heart, and devotion, God will shape me in special ways.

So, I bought a new Bible, and decided to start a new journey. I picked 1 Samuel as the jumping off point. I made it to 1 Samuel 12. The section that grabbed me…verses 20-25.

"And Samuel said to the people, “Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself. Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way. Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.”

Here’s the question that got me thinking about…is it a sin to cease to pray for someone?

Scripture lives, and helps me live. For that, I am thankful.

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on ChurchLeaders.com, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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5 thoughts on “Back to the Bible

  1. “far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you”
    If I read this as an obligation to pray specifically for each individual and situation I know about that needs God’s intervention, then I would need to be in prayer 24/7/365 and even then would not be able to address them all. Just considering that feels exhausting.
    Perhaps what is being addressed here is an attitude or willingness to pray for someone (which would include actually praying). Last year I noticed an internal resistance when I considered praying for spiritual growth, healing, and blessings in the life of an individual with whom I was in extended conflict. I could pray for blessings in other (e.g. financial, relational, and occupational) areas of that person’s life, but not in the spiritual arena. I believe my unwillingness stemmed from my bitterness and my lack of belief that this person would or could ever change. Over the past nine months, I have witnessed that as God has replaced my bitterness with forgiveness, my ability to pray for spiritual blessing in this individual’s life has grown.
    Confronting the Israelites with their sins no doubt brought Samuel into conflict with many people and at times he may have despaired that they would ever turn back to God. Samuel may be reassuring the Israelites that despite his frustrations, he continues to pray for them and trusts that God will continue to work in their lives to provide spiritual growth. Maybe this is a call to pray for those with whom we are in conflict and to trust God to bring growth and healing into their lives (and our own.)
    I hope I’m not reading too much of my own experience into this passage. That passage grabbed you for a reason. How do you think we should interpret it?

  2. Good Day 🙂 God is Love, May you experience God’s Love this Day, may we really learn to Praise him in all things 🙂 Lets Share God’s Love today 🙂 You are Loved!

  3. Good to hear from you again, bro. I agree with you, and share some of your concerns. For all the problems I have with patternism and it’s corollaries, I have a far deeper concern for those who discount the Bible altogether.

  4. Great thoughts. My worry is what the postmodern mind is trying to do with Scripture. I’ve been in some blogger-sations with some folks who don’t really think much of the Bible but claim to follow Jesus. I admit, we’ve kinda butchered some things in our use of it, but people’s attitude towards it seems to be diminishing. I give a hearty Amen! to your words today.