The voice of G-d is all knowing, all present.
Contemplative Scripture Reading:
On the intermediate days of our recent Purim camp, we practiced contemplative Scripture reading as a discipline of intimate relationship in G-d through His Son Yeshua.
We learned that one of the ways G-d speaks to us directly is through Scripture, as we consider it thoughtfully before G-d both individually and as a congregation within the common unity of Yeshua.
The guidelines for contemplative Scripture reading are simple and effective:
Hearing the Voice (Kol) of G-d:
1.) G-d speaks to all, am I willing to listen?
2.) G-d's intimate voice does not contradict the plain meaning (P'shat) of His written word (ketuvim).
3.) The voice (Kol) of G-d is all knowing, all present.
4.) There are two other voices that may attempt to speak; my own voice and the voice of the enemies of HaShem. My own voice may speak the truth of G-d or it may speak out of my own human desire and deceive me. The voices of the enemy (demonic/satanic) will speak lies by misusing Scripture or simply by manipulating my own desires in order to deceive me. I require discernment in order to recognize the differences in these voices. This discernment comes from G-d through His Holy Spirit.
5.) The voices of the enemies of HaShem are not all knowing, they can only speak into our minds from outside the our being. They may seem to know intimate things but are simply using outward signs in order to interpret our inner thoughts.
6.) I have authority to silence the voices of the enemies of HaShem because I am a child of G-d adopted through the blood sacrifice of Yeshua. Therefore, when I begin I claim my right to silence the enemies' voices in Yeshua's name.
7.) I am left with the need to discern between my own voice and the voice of HaShem. Once more I am reliant on the discernment of the Holy Spirit.
8.) Having silenced the enemies of faith I am confident in Yeshua that I will hear the voice (kol), the living Word (Yeshua) and that His Spirit will help me to discern it from my own voice.
Questions of Contemplation:
1.) Identification: Where do I find myself in this scene/text?
2.) Empathy: How might G-d (Father, Son and Spirit) view this scene/text? What is G-d's perspective?
3.) Transformation: Father, please speak to me by Your Spirit in Yeshua?
1.) I ask G-d to search my heart and cleanse me from sin in Yeshua.
2.) I command the silence of the enemies of G-d in Yeshua's name.
3.) I ask myself the Identification question while reading through the Scripture I've selected.
4.) I take pause to consider my thoughts.
5.) I ask the Empathy question while re-reading the same passage of Scripture.
6.) I take time to pause and allow G-d to illuminate my thoughts.
7.) I ask the Transformation question while reading the Scripture passage for the last time.
8.) I take time in silence, to listen restfully, waiting on G-d's voice.
At Purim camp after practicing this only once, we asked ourselves the question, "How did the times of silent reflection make us feel?" The answers varied, but the most honest answer was, "It felt awkward". We live in a chaotic environment where we take very few, if any, opportunities to be silent before G-d. It's normal for us to feel awkward when we first practice sitting silently with G-d for the first time.
As we continued to practice this form of Scriptural meditation the answers changed. We began to feel peaceful and relaxed in the silence, and as a result became familiar with the experience and the ways G-d was speaking in these times of contemplation.
The more we take time to practice this type of spiritual discipline, the more natural it will seem. It is an opportunity to retreat from the fierce battle of daily life in order to refuel in G-d. Yeshua our Messiah did this very thing:
"Very early in the morning, while it was still dark,Yeshua got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." -Mark 1:35
Using the following selection of verses, practice the technique outlined above. This can be performed using any portion of Scripture.
© 2016 Yaakov Brown
Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
(0) A song of ascents. By David:
(1) Adonai, I call to you from the depths;
2 hear my cry, Adonai!
Let your ears pay attention
to the sound of my pleading.
3 Yah, if you kept a record of sins,
who, Adonai, could stand?
4 But with you there is forgiveness,
so that you will be feared.
5 I wait longingly for Adonai;
I put my hope in his word.
6 Everything in me waits for Adonai
more than guards on watch wait for morning,
more than guards on watch wait for morning.
7 Isra’el, put your hope in Adonai!
For grace is found with Adonai,
and with him is unlimited redemption.
8 He will redeem Isra’el
from all their wrongdoings.
Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.
Spiritual leader of Beth Melekh Community, Auckland, Aotearoa, N.Z.