Lenten Devotion: Reflexive Wisdom


You desire truth in the inward being;
therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
Psa. 51.6 [8]
‏הן אמת חפצת בטחות ובסתם חכמה תודיעני׃

Tonight I turned on the Discovery Channel to find the show “Fight Quest” in its last few minutes. If I understood it correctly (it is not on my regular rota of television watching) two American guys go aruond the world, spending 5 days in each location learning the art of that regions fighting style. Each episodes ends with them sparring with a local fighter. This week they were in Korea. In one clip they are talking about how they had to concentrate on their haikido technique and not allow themselves to fall back on their street fighting instincts that were so deeply engrained in them.

This seems a fitting parallel to the psalmists plea to God cited above. He desires to be cleansed of his sins and taught to live a godly life so that he might go and teach others to do the same. This particular verse focuses upon God’s desire that truth and wisdom be at our very core. The psalmist’s wish is that he might so internalized and consumed God’s truth and wisdom (and we cannot forget that fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge) that following God’s path will become instinctive.

Deuteronomy 6 says the same thing in a different way and in so doing set a literal pattern of prayer that is still kept to this day by many Jews.
Deut. 6.4   Hear, O Israel: The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. 6 Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. 7 Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. 8 Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, 9 and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

When are you not at home? When you are away. If you are away then you are not at home. We are to always dwell upon “these words” so that they become not something that we read once a week or even say in prayers twice a day, but instead of ingrained into our “innermost parts.” Then our instinctive reaction at all times and in all places will be to keep us on the path that God has set for us and to respond with God’s love.

 

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