When I was a teenager (many, many years ago), I was often told in our youth group how important and essential a regular “Quiet Time” was. A QT was a time when you were quiet, by yourself and with a Bible. You read the Bible, you thought about what you read and then you prayed. You did that often. It was a Christian habit, whether you felt like it or not. Our youth leader often asked us, “How’s your QT going?”
Very seldom today do I hear the same note of urgency, value and importance of regular devotion times.
What to believe?
As Christians we are called to take God at his word. That’s what faith is. Faith is believing God’s promises. Faith is not believing that God can do the impossible. That’s simple logic.
But here’s the question: which promises of God will you believe? Many people today believe in promises God has never made. Many people believe that as Christians they should never get sick or have any problems. Many believe Christians should always be rich and victorious. Yet, God has never promised these things.
How will you know what to believe?
Joshua’s Quiet Times
Joshua 1:8 is a great verse that speaks to the importance of regular QT to know what God has promised:
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night…” (Joshua 1:8)
The “Book of Law” was the Old Testament, or as much of the Old Testament as they had at that time. The equivalent for us would be the entire Bible. God told Joshua to meditate on the Bible to know what God had and had not promised. Robert Hubbard, a Christian author, wrote:
“The phrase ‘meditate on it day and night’ implies focused study, free of distractions. To skim over the Law is to imperil one’s future by missing something crucial.”
Joshua is to have regular QTs. But reading or meditating on the Bible is not enough.
Belief that behaves
“Only be strong and very courageous, being careful TO DO according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. DO NOT TURN from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful TO DO according to all that is written in it. For THEN you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. (Joshua 1:7-8)
Of course, being prosperous and successful in God’s eyes is not the world version of prosperity and success. Hubbard continues:
“Indeed, it is not enough simply to read it, think about it, or even talk about it. Joshua must ‘be careful TO DO’ – to put it into practise, live it out, and give it feet in the real world. Only ‘doing’ the law will give Joshua success.”
Dale Ralph Davis writes:
“Joshua 1 tells us that a life pleasing to God does not arise from mystical experiences or warm feelings or from a new gimmick advocated in a new Christian best-selling book; no, it comes from the word God has already spoken and from obedience to that word…Constant, careful absorbing of the word of God leads to obedience to it. Lack of study results in lack of obedience.”
Read, mark, learn & absorb
I know that I am very good at quoting the Bible, but not always that great at reading and obeying the Bible. This prayer, from the REACH SA Prayer Book, is a good one for me:
Blessed Lord, You have caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn and absorb them, that, encouraged and supported by Your holy Word, we may clasp and not let go the joyful hope of everlasting life, which You have given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.