Suspicion or Fascination?

Taste and see that the LORD is good.
Oh, the joys of those who trust in him!
(Psalm 34:8 NLT)

“Look at the world with childlike wonder, ready to be startled into surprised delight by the profuse abundance of truth and beauty and goodness that is spilling out of the skies at every moment…Plan on spending the rest of your lives exploring and enjoying the world both vast and intricate that is revealed by this text [The Holy Scriptures].” -Eugene Peterson, Eat This Book

Have you ever bumped into something subtle that you possibly knew was lurking in your heart, but you were unable to name it? As I have been reading through Eat This Book by Eugene Peterson, I experienced this “aha/ouch” moment. The book has been challenging my approach to God’s word. The main challenge has been to take a more holistic approach, rather than just going to the Bible for answers or comfort, Peterson exhorts the reader of Scripture to come with receptivity to the God of the Word, to engage our imagination as the narrative unfolds, and to participate in God’s great story of redemption.

My heart was soaring as I absorbed Peterson’s thoughts on reading Scripture in a more engaged way. But then he brought up suspicion. He warns that we must “abandon all condescending approaches to the Bible.” In light of this warning, he reveals that we have been indoctrinated to approach all texts with suspicion. Peterson reminds us that, “We are taught to bring a healthy suspicion to everything we read, especially when it claims authority over us.” He does not say this is wrong, but I think what hit me is that to always approach every text with this suspicion robs me of the fascination of discovery.

When I have made my Bible reading into a checklist, rather than an encounter with “the Living God who sees me” the joy seeps out of me. (Check out Genesis 16 to get a fresh taste of God’s mercy)

In light of Peterson’s exhortation, now I desire to come to the Word as a feast to be savored, rather than a specimen to be probed, investigated and “figured out.” This thinking led me to looking at the table of contents as more of a menu to peruse and ask the chef what he recommends for my meal. I am not against the goal of reading through the Bible in a year or any reading plan, I am just saying checking things off tends toward methodical hurrying through the text; instead of a slower meditative pace, enjoying each bite.

Here’s to your spiritual health. Taste and see that the Lord is good!

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