Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hook, Line and Sinker by JoAnn Lampe

Scripture Reading: Ezekiel 43-48; Daniel 1-12; Hosea 1-3; Psalm 121-123

Writing these devotionals is hard work. We have specific passages we’re to reflect upon and from that reading we need to find an idea to develop into an article attracting the reader’s attention, enticing him to read to the end and most importantly to make the reader stop and reflect on how this particular piece of Scripture captures his heart. So, like a fisherman we need a hook, an opening sentence that will attract the reader, we need the line to pull the reader into the story and we need the sinker to make the essence of the story sink deep into his heart.

My assigned Scripture was tough; Ezekial, temple measurements, rules and regulations, Daniel, obedience and reward – good stuff but nothing that caught my attention this time. Hosea, these chapters are just the beginning of God’s love story, without the ending this is like an ugly open wound that hasn’t yet had the healing balm of God’s love applied to it. Psalms 121 – 123, I love the Book of Psalms, but nothing in these three got my “creative juices” flowing. I couldn’t wrap my arms around any of the passages and get my “hook”.

And so, I pondered, I prayed, I “dawdled”, because nothing was coming. I read, I re-read, I looked at different Bible versions, hoping a different perspective would strike a chord within me – NOTHING. My stated deadline came and went – twice. The “stop-dead” deadline was fast approaching. What to do? As I once again finished reading to the end with still nothing jumping out at me, the word “hook” came to mind. I thought, “That’s what I need, a hook. Hmmm, there’s a title, ‘Hook, Line and Sinker’, so where’s my line?”

Just as a fisherman uses a variety of bait and lures to attract different types of fish so does God throw a hook in your direction. You open up His Word. Whether for the first time, for a study you’re doing, for your daily devotional, or just because you’re in need – whatever the reason - you’re there, you’ve been “hooked”. A fisherman “plays the line” to entice the fish to see the bait, as if to say “Hey! Look here fish – do I have something for you!” Then something about the bait will capture the fish’s attention, the movement of the worm as it’s pulled through the water, the sparkle and movement of a silver spinner, the beautiful colors of a hand tied fly, whatever it is the fish wants it, he’s hungry, he bites. Then the fisherman has to “set the hook”, so the fish doesn’t slip off and swim away. The fisherman pulls a little, gives a little, reels a little, pulls a little, and on it goes. The length and intensity of the battle depends on the size and nature of the fish. Some battles are over quickly others take a long time.

God’s Word is like that. As we read there are times when you don’t see the bait, because it moves too slow and there’s nothing that draws your attention to it. That’s how it was for me reading those last 5 chapters of Ezekial, all those temple measurements, all the rules regarding who’s to come and go, what to wear, what to sacrifice, who gets what land, how it’s to be measured, etc., etc. By the time I was done my head was spinning and I needed a picture and an interpretation. Other times something about the bait causes you to sit up and take notice. The book of Daniel was like that; dreams, interpretation of dreams, burning furnaces, hungry lions and oh yes, miracles. This was good stuff and I “got it”. Hosea, again just a few chapters, but this one too got my attention. It was like a modern day soap opera. Good guy marries prostitute, she’s unfaithful, he’s not, there’s disgrace and there’s grace all wrapped up into one.

So, lots of different types of “bait”, and lines being played differently, but where was the sinker – what pulled me closer to God’s heart – where was the revelation for my heart? In this instance, the sinkers were sprinkled throughout the readings, because as I read I wrote down various lines that struck a chord in my heart. None of them created a story on their own, but together they brought hope, peace, encouragement and joy to my heart. That, my friends, is the Word of God, hook, line and sinker.

Ezekial 48:35 “…"From now on the name of the city will be Yahweh-Shammah: "God-Is-There."
Hosea 1:10 “…In the very place where they were once named Nobody, they will be named God's Somebody….”
Daniel 2: 21 – 22 “… He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him.”
Psalm 121:2 “My help comes from the LORD,…

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