Daily Verse Recitation Dilemma

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Joshua 1:8

Hmm. I dunno about the nutritional value of this verse. Maybe daily verses are just random selections. What does one do with a verse that seems to have nothing but recitational value. Mouths recite and minds rehash (meditate, Heb. הגה, hagah). The reciting and meditating seem to have worked, but the doing is hard to find.

One has to be bewitched to get excited about Israel’s failure and her reputation as an faithless and covenant-breaking woman, who after being warned repeatedly about the path of the just[ified] rejected the Prophet.

Do you have the book of the Law in your mouth? How did it get there? If you say “I dunno ” I know you are an honest person. If what’s in the heart (inside) is law, what is it doing in the mouth? What is it doing stuck in the mouth? Could people be condemned to talk and not walk the law?

Awww yeah!

Law is not for recitation. Unless one is reciting to remind people about the disaster of Sinai. Moses had said that the Law was to be an accusation against the people (Deuteronomy 31:26), not the source of divine righteousness.

Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee.

The Law is for performance. Talk is cheap. Let’s just forgive those who talk about doing the whole law and nothing but.

And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the Lord: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. Joshua 24:19

In the gospels we found that lipservice was the fashion and substance.

Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Isaiah 29:13

The witness of the later years show that nothing had changed. At the end of Paul’s life the same vanity dominated Israelite life. They revered God in the way men said they should. God’s voice was a distant rumble.

Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. Acts 28:26-27

Every word in the Bible has value but a relationship with God comes only from one word: the Incarnate Word. It is not through a command but through a gift that God saves humans. Neither works nor performance brings anyone to a right standing with God, much less does the mere recitation, orally or mentally, of the Law heal or save.

Escape from Empty jangling

1 Timothy 1:5-11 is a gem of clarity about the law and its proponents.

Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;

Its purpose is not debatable. The gospel is not in the same class. Moses and Christ are not equals. Grace and truth stand opposite law and condemnation. What have we chosen?

Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.