Friday morning, I stayed in my jammies a little longer than I usually do. Perhaps I was just feeling a bit lazy or perhaps I had been too slow in claiming a shower before my mom or sister. Or perhaps I was just reveling in the opportunity to relax and not rush after the harried last few weeks. Yes, I think that was it. I had just finished off my morning cup of green tea and was dusting off the living room in that glorious leisure of doing a job that doesn’t have to be finished at any particular time. Those kind are the best. 🙂
So anyway, I was almost finished when I heard my name being yelled from the basement in a half-panicked voice mingled with a half-attempt at being nonchalant. “Becky! You don’t have a piano lesson today, right?”
The happy tune I was humming caught in my throat. “Oh no!” I threw down the Lysol and scanned my watch. 9:50. And my piano student was coming at 10.
How could I have forgotten? I bolted up the stairs while my mind did cartwheels trying to figure out how I was going to make myself presentable in ten minutes. I denounced my folly as I grabbed the top clothes in my drawer and scolded my reflection as I pulled my hair up into a ponytail. A quick brush of my teeth, a dash of blush and I was down the stairs again. Just in time for the doorbell.
I am usually not so lax in forgetting appointments. If it is written on the calender (this piano lesson just happened to not be written on the calender), I am most times ready and accounted for. And the stress and embarrassment (how I look before my shower is always questionable) of moments like Friday morning motivate me to be accurate and cautious in the future.
There is a particular appointment, however, that, if not consciously anticipated, is easily overlooked. Although it occurs on a regular basis, if I do not make a deliberate effort to meet it, it will be forgotten. And despite the fact that this meeting is the most important of my day, its significance is too often undermined. But when missed, it leaves a void.
In our ever-present schedule of “things to do,” where do we place meeting with God? At the top? Somewhere in the midst of everything else? Falling of the chart? In my reading of Exodus, I have been impressed with the importance of having a daily appointment with the Lord. Not only is it beneficial for spiritual growth, it is necessary!
Consider this verse: “And he (Moses) was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments” (Exodus 34:28).
I don’t think any of us would be able to go one whole day without eating. We have programmed ourselves to know when feed and nourish our bodies when it is hungry and when we forget, our empty stomach prompts us to fill it quickly! Are we as sensitive to our spiritual needs as we are to our physical ones? Matthew 4:4 says that “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” The nourishment for our souls come from spending time in His presence and in the reading and meditating on His Word.
Moses recognized the value of spending time with the Lord. His communion with God on Mount Sinai was enough to fill all his needs – he was able to go forty days without physical nourishment because the words of the Lord sustained him. Job had this same mindset when he said, “Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12).
Do I come to God’s presence for sustainment? When I neglect my appointment with the Lord, it is like depriving myself of food for an entire day. Weakness and fatigue result and spiritual growth is stunted. Days when I skip or forget my devotion and prayer time evidence these symptoms. I grow weary in well-doing, faint of spirit, and short of temper. Because I have failed to nourish my soul with the Words of life, my energy is short lived and my day often ends in frustration.
Making communion with God a priority of every day is vital for the Christian. If we look to Him to fill our needs then we will lack nothing. “The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing” (Psalm 145:15,16).
What are these needs, these desires that God alone can satisfy? Psalm 19, one of the most beautiful depictions of Scripture, describes four functions of the God’s Word:
The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. It fulfills our need for conversion and wisdom.
The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. It provides us with joy.
The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. It gives us a standard of truth.
More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. It protects us.
Because these needs of conversion, wisdom, joy, truth, and protection, can only be satisfied through communion with God and His Word, it is so important that we come every day for nourishment! I have begun to regard my quiet time as an appointment – the most important one of my day. I put my Bible in a prominent place so that it is the first thing I see when I wake up. “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days” (Psalm 90:14). I know that if I do not come to God’s presence in the very beginning of my day, I may never get around to it and I also don’t want to face the day without being strengthened in the Lord!
Spending time with the Lord each day requires discipline. Just as there are days when we rush out the door without stopping for breakfast, we can convince ourselves that there is “no time” for Bible reading and prayer. However the hunger pangs and weakness that follow are evidence that nourishment is necessary. And I am finding that the more I learn to value my quiet time with the Lord and the more I look to His Word to satisfy my soul, the less I even consider skipping that time. I see my daily need and know Who the only Source of provision is. How could I neglect meeting with Him?
And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. (John 16:35)