Friday, October 24, 2008

Understanding: A Matter of the Heart

“Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.” (Daniel 10:12; cp. Prov.8:5 & Isa.6:10)

         The Bible is the only book I know that requires heart preparation to be understood—I mean, really understood. There are many books that require head preparation, and that includes books about the Bible. This is true, because these are not God’s words, but the author’s, utilizing his or her own vocabulary. That’s only one of many reasons why one should broaden his or her word recognition ability. There are many wonderful books written by what are respectfully called, the “Old Divines,” and we shouldn’t miss them simply because we are unfamiliar with their vocabularies. That’s why I keep a dictionary nearby lest I fail to grasp some weighty, insightful thought the author was capable of expressing.

         But, to return to my original premise, in verse twelve, Daniel doesn’t hesitate to admit that there was no way he was going to be able to understand the things God wanted to tell him, if he did not first prepare his heart. He was a learned man, but he was also a wise one (not the same thing). He knew that when it comes to the words of Almighty God, a quick mind is not nearly enough. Only open, clean, and receptive hearts will serve as wicks to light the candle of understanding.

         One of the great marvels of the Bible, to me, is that it is plain enough for those of us with limited education, yet profound enough to challenge the minds of the most brilliant among us. If we have prepared our hearts to understand, it meets us where we are at any given time…and captures us.




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