It is amazing how many Biblical phrases we have embedded in our everyday language. Just for fun, take a look at the list in the next paragraph and decide whether or not you think they came from the Bible. (I will use phrases out of the King James Version.)
The phrases: Drop in the Bucket, Needle in a haystack, A fly in the ointment, By the skin of your teeth, Seventh heaven, Sour grapes and The blind leading the blind.
At first glance, it sounds like they all came from the scriptures. But truth be told, “Needle in a haystack” did not, nor did “Seventh Heaven.”
But, “Drop in the bucket” comes from Isaiah 40:15. “A fly in the ointment” came from Ecclesiastes 10:1. “By the skin of your teeth is found in Jeremiah 31:29, “Sour grapes” is a phrase in Ezekiel 18:2 and “The blind leading the blind” is part of Matthew’s gospel in chapter 15.
It struck me this week that phrases like these are an easy part of our natural conversation. They got tucked into our working memory so easily. But it’s quite another matter to systematically add Biblical wisdom to our minds and hearts.
We complain bitterly about how hard it is to memorize scripture. We have tons of excuses. “I am too old to memorize verses.” “My memory doesn’t work that way.” “It takes too much time.”
But I am convinced that the real issue is…we are not convinced of the motivation or reason why we should tackle the admittedly difficult process of hiding God’s word in our hearts.
This week might be a great time to consider the passage where the psalmist gave us the most significant motivation for making scripture a part of our working vocabulary. Consider Psalm 119:11 where he said, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
Among the reasons why we should regularly learn a verse by heart is the reality that it will act as a warning system in our heads. The Holy Spirit will search the synapses of our brains and pull out the caution that needs to be applied.
We memorize the passage: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you” (Eph. 4:32). A few days later we find ourselves in an argument with our spouse and the Spirit brings that verse to mind. It is tough to keep screaming at your loved one as your mind is recalling the injunction to be kind and forgive.
So let us all be challenged this next week to hide one new verse to our memory. Just one. And then, let us watch and see how He uses it!