D. A. Carson told the story of Lillian Guild who was driving one day with her husband and noticed a recent-model Cadillac at the side of the road with its hood up. The driver explained with some embarrassment that he was in a hurry to get to a business meeting and that while he’d seen that his fuel gauge indicated he was low on fuel, he attempted to get to the meeting and didn’t make it. Could they help with gas?
The Guilds actually had a spare gallon of gas with them and they happily gave it to the flustered driver who thanked them repeatedly before hurrying down the road.
A dozen miles later, they saw the same car pulled off to the side of the road, with its hood back up, again. They stopped, again. Yup. The same meeting was weighing on him, and though knowing he had but one gallon of gas in his tank, he didn’t stop for gas and was the tank was empty — again.
That story is a parable for so many things in our day, including our perspective on taking in Scripture. We know we have a need for the Word of God in our lives. We have heard many sermons and read many books and articles on the topic of the importance of reading and hearing and living the Word of God. And often we speed down the road of life, pretending that if we don’t look at our gauge of spiritual readiness with the Word, that we will be fine.
Too often, like the man in the Cadillac, we aren’t.
The psalmist tells his readers that he longs for God’s salvation and God’s righteous Word (Ps. 119:123). He longs for Scripture because it is right (v. 123). It is a means of grace (lovingkindness, v. 124) and permanent truth (v. 124). It is what will give the writer (and us) wisdom and direction for living when oppressed by others or when living in times of “blessing.”
Interestingly, the writer admits that he needs to be taught by God — given instruction — because he does not naturally have understanding. He knows he needs counsel, direction, correction, encouragement, and admonishment. Only Scripture is able to do all those things. When we expose ourselves to Scripture, it accomplishes all those things for us. Whatever our need is, God’s Word is effective to deal with it:
- If we need restoration to God or others, the Law of God is the perfect provision (Ps. 19:7).
- If we need wisdom because our minds are weak and do not comprehend, the testimonies of God are always certain to be true in pointing us the right way to go (Ps. 19:7b).
- If we need encouragement, God’s preceptive teachings of God are righteous and will produce joy in us (Ps. 19:8).
- If we need enlightenment for decisions and living, God’s commands will always direct us with purity and holiness (Ps. 19:8b).
- If we need strength to endure, we will find it in the Scriptures which will lead us to fear God (Ps. 19:9).
- If we need to know and receive righteousness, we will only find it in the righteous judgments of God (Ps. 19:9).
Everything we need will be found in the Word of God. If we need it, it’s there. If it’s not there, we don’t need it. That’s why the psalmist says that He loves the Word of God more than the finest gold (119:127) and that it is sweeter to him than the purest honey (19:10; 119:103).
Because the Word of God is more valuable than gold and more delightful than honey, he longs for and desires it more than anything else.
Today — what do you want? What is your longing? What is your hunger? What does your spiritual gauge of Bible readiness say about your intake of the Word? Are you stuck on the side of the road because you had greater desires for lesser things? Let us make our longings fit with God’s great provision for us — His Word.