By David Faust
The apostle Peter, however, spoke about a positive kind of recall in 2 Peter 3:2 when he said, “I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.” Peter instructed us to remember both the Old Testament (“the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets”) and the New Testament (“the command given . . . through your apostles”).
“Recall the words.” That should be the Christian’s rallying cry, for it applies in all kinds of situations. We need to remember what the Bible tells us about God, about ourselves, and about life:
• when the details of daily living entice us to forget what God has revealed
• when human opinions threaten to distract the church from its primary work
• when popular culture endorses what the Bible plainly opposes
• when we’re on the verge of yielding to temptation
Recently I heard a sports host describe what sets an outstanding sports broadcaster apart from the mediocre ones. The best announcers, he said, allow for “savor time.” They know when to remain quiet; they don’t yammer on when explanations are unnecessary. If a baseball player hits a walk-off home run to win a tight game, the best commentators don’t say anything for a few moments. They simply let the fans savor the experience. When a weary but determined quarterback pushes across the goal line for the winning touchdown, a tie-wearing talking head doesn’t need to blather on about what just happened; people can see it for themselves. Savvy announcers pause and allow the spectators to savor and personalize the experience.
Wise Bible teachers do the same thing. In our hurried times, when attention spans are short and listeners are easily bored, it’s tempting for preachers to spew out information and then hasten on to the next point. Effective communicators, however, know when to pause and be quiet while the material sinks in. They realize their listeners need a little time to “recall the words”—to savor God’s message, ponder it for a moment, and soak up what the Spirit of God is saying.
The psalmist understood the importance of recalling God’s words. He wrote, “Blessed is the one . . . whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night” (Psalm 1:1, 2). In Nehemiah’s day leaders “read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read,” and the listeners were so gripped by the message they were moved to tears (Nehemiah 8:8, 9). Wouldn’t it be good if we could slow down the pace in our churches enough to allow more time for everyone to savor God’s Word, take it to heart, and personalize it?
Merely thinking about Scripture isn’t enough though. God calls us to be obedient disciples, not biblical knowledge junkies. If we’re well-informed about God’s Word but we don’t apply it, we’re no different than the Pharisees who used theological information to puff themselves up and to beat others down.
Jesus said unflattering things about those who don’t practice what they preach. That’s important to recall too.
1. During a normal week, how do you savor God’s message?
2. How will you put God’s Word into action today?
David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church, Indianapolis, Indiana.
The Lookout’s Bible Reading Plan for November 9, 2014
Use this guide to read through the Bible in 12 months. Follow David Faust’s comments on the highlighted text in every issue of The Lookout.
2 Peter 2:17–22
2 Peter 3:1–9
2 Peter 3:10–18
Ezekiel 20, 21
1 John 1:1–4
Ezekiel 22, 23
1 John 1:5–10
1 John 2:1–11
Ezekiel 27, 28