This week, Chad and Keith walk through Psalm 1 and John 10, and discuss the importance of meditation on scripture to learn the voice of the shepherd and avoid following the voice of the thief.
Intro (Keith): Welcome to the Kanakuk Institute Podcast, where we continue to equip leaders with biblical skills for a lifetime of ministry.
Chad (00:13): And welcome back into the Kanakuk Institute Podcast, Keith Chancey and Chad Hampsch in studio, talking, Keith, today about a theme in the Bible. Something kind of fun to talk about, and that is really the importance of Bible study and scripture memory, and we’re going to look at, really, just two passages that kind of give us a framework. We could look at a lot more, but two that give us a framework of the importance of Bible study in relation to our intimacy with God. So, we’re going to start with Psalm 1. Would you mind reading for us Psalm 1, verses 1-3?
Keith (00:46): Oh yeah, what a great passage, Chad, you know, when you think of the Psalmist here, “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers, but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by the streams of water, which yields its fruit in season, and its leaf does not wither, and in whatever he does, he prospers.” Bro.
Chad (01:18): Oh that’s good.
Keith (01:19): That’s meaty.
Chad (01:20): So, we’re going to work through the text and we’re going to just toggle back and forth between the verses here. If you look at verse 1, if you’re reading along in Psalm 1, verse 1, let me just bring to light a couple things, and really for us to understand that Psalm 1 is like the framework for all of the Psalms. He kind of lays out this conflict of two men, two different kinds of men. The man that walks faithfully with God in the Word of God, and then the man who doesn’t, which verses four, five, and six focus on. But, he says this, “Walk in the counsel of the wicked, stand in the path of sinners, or sit in the seat of scoffers.” Interesting, Keith, you can’t do anything else than that, stand, sit walk, that covers our life.
Keith (02:03): I’m there.
Chad (02:04): And so, he is warning men and women that when we abandon the spoken word of God through the Bible, we end up in the company of evil in our own life, in the people we walk alongside, and there’s a danger. And then he goes to verse two, which sounds eerily like a verse you just talked about in our last podcast, break that down for us Keith.
Keith (02:30): Boy, I’ll tell you, I just love that his delight, and when I think about that, I just go, “Wow, what a great, what a very positive, what a spiritually enjoying word that is,” you know, I liken it to, this is like the beatitudes. You know, “Happy is the man who does this,” you know, and I go, “Happy is a person who meditates day and night,” His delight is in the law of the Lord. He meditates on it day and night, and I just, you know Chad when I read that, it just makes my heart happy. Because I think about, you know, when I am going through a very difficult time, and I meditate on God’s word and I read it, and I’m not just reading it, but I’m meditating on it. I’m letting it dwell, and I’m letting it, kind of, go through me, and I’m going, “How can I treat people differently? How can I wake up this morning and be in God’s word?” I’ve got a lot of issues going on in my life, how do I trust God enough to get me through these difficult times? And how do I, you know, I’m kind of nervous about, you know the finances, how am I going to do this? My kids are about to do that or that. You know, how do I just have this trust? And then I meditate on the Word of God, and all of a sudden this happiness, this supernatural happy feeling resonates through my body, and I go, “You know what? God’s in control.” Wow.
Chad (03:45): Wouldn’t you say that that meditation piece is almost like a bridge between knowing something up here, and like, applying the scripture, that you didn’t just read it this morning, but you actually carried it with you, and it’s on your mind.
Keith (04:00): It’s so good there Chad, because, so many times, what I do is I remember when I first memorized scripture, and all I was doing was I was trying to memorize a scripture to get it done. But then after I memorized it, I couldn’t recall it. And what I found is that. I would be out, you know, maybe at a football game, or in class and a teacher would throw to much work on me, and I would get angry, and I’d go, “But I just memorized that scripture, why am I angry?” Because I wasn’t allowing it to resonate through my body. I only was… it was an intellectual thought. The brain had not connected to the heart. And until it connected to the heart, and it began to change how I live and operate at that time as a young man, and now as an old man, I’m going, “Are you kidding me?” There’s nothing in my life that’s more joyful than to recall scripture in any circumstance of life.
Chad (04:52): That’s good, that’s good. And that really leads to verse three, which is the result of meditating on God’s Word. I love, love this part. Listen to this. It says, “He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water.” And there’s two things I want to bring to, just, our attention. Number one, firmly planted. That this tree is not moving. Why is that important? Well, I, Keith you know this, I grew up close to the Mississippi River, and there’s really two kinds of trees that are by the river. There are trees that are standing, and there are trees that just fall over. And they fall over because the waters rise, they have shallow roots, and when the waters rise, they just fall over. They can’t withstand the storms, so to speak. But then there are trees that are massive with deep, deep roots. And the storms come, and they’re not moved. It’s what we looked at in Philippians last time, that idea of standing firm. Firmly planted by streams of water. And that’s what happens when we meditate on God’s Word is that it becomes a part of us, and there’s something deeper that happens.
Keith (05:56): It’s funny that you say that Chad, you know, because I’ve been doing, you know, I’ve been really getting myself ready to go on this hike that I’m about to go hike up a mountain. And as I do this, I’ve been hiking every place in Branson. All these mountains and by the creeks and the rivers and there was a giant windstorm the other day, and as I’m walking on my trails, there’s trees everywhere in the middle of the trails which were perfect just the other day.
Chad (06:19): Yeah
Keith (06:20): And every one of them had a commonality. They didn’t have roots. But yet the ones that had the roots, man they were amazingly secure. And I go, “Man, I want to be like that guy, that tree that is rooted.” And I see those roots going even into the streams, into the rivers and I go, “That just looks attractive, you know?”
Chad (06:40): And yet they still stand, because the roots are deep. And he goes on in the text and says this, “Which yields its fruits in season, and its leaf does not wither, and in whatever he does, he prospers.” And, I love this because so often we see people, Keith, in ministry, that their leaves, their fruit are like this: massive. But the problem is, a lot of times people have a massive reach up top, but their roots are shallow, and eventually that tree is going to become top-heavy and fall over. But the one that’s firmly planted by streams of water is going to stand and have a far reach of impact, of fruit, of seasonal leaves because they have deep root. What have you seen in the years as you’ve watched people in ministry, and you’ve seen people have large canopies, but then overtime, the tree falls. What would be the variables you’ve seen in people through the years.
Keith (07:42): You know, it’s interesting to watch people that you go, “Man, I bet the bank on them, that guys is so awesome, that girls is so awesome.” Because externally they look like everything is going on right. But, it’s the way we just got done looking at. It there’s not a delighting in the Lord, if there’s not a meditating day and night, if there’s not a firmly planted by streams of water, then there won’t be the yielding of that fruit. And it looks good for a while, and they even get great positions in ministry, but you see, I think of it, because I look at the fruits of the Spirit, and immediately I go, love, joy, peace, patience (that’s a hard one), kindness.
Chad (08:26): Got to slow down for that one.
Keith (08:27): Yeah, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control. Man every one of those I could stop and talk about each one of those for a long amount of time, because those are what I’m developing in my life as a Christian. And they are fruits that should naturally be there. They are there, but I can choose to let that grow deep, or that root, because I’m not meditating, I’m not in the Word, man it’s quickly gone.
Chad (08:56): That’s really good. We’re going to flip over now, if you’re in Psalm 1, flip over, in your Bible to John 10, we’re going to look at a similar passage with maybe a different illustration, but, really the same thrust, and the same challenge for us as a listening audience of what we do, and it’s called “The Parable of the Good Shepherd.” If you’ve been in the book of John, then you know John is really writing and altogether different gospel than Matthew, Mark, and Luke. He’s not as concerned with the exact storyline and narrative of Jesus’ life, and so, there some cool imagery and this shepherd idea. So let’s work through the text. Keith, you want to start in verse one and I’ll work to two or vice versa?
Keith (09:41): Sure, I’ll start right there in verse 1 it says, “Truly, truly I say to you, He who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is a shepherd, is the shepherd of the sheep. To him, the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out. And when he puts forth all of his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers. This figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them.”
Chad (10:33): Ugh, that’s such, there is so much there. So, we’re just going to work back through this text again, and, in Israel, during the times, early times Jesus’ time, he’s giving an illustration that would have been common to the people, and shepherds from all over the region would be tending their sheep during the day, but at night, they would hire a local person who would have a fenced in area in the city, and they would bring all of their sheep into the city, and the night watchmen would protect their sheep while they got to rest and do all of those kinds of things. And so, he kind of uses this word picture. In verse 1, what, really verses 1 and 2, what is the thrust of what he’s trying to communicate to us in that part of the text?
Keith (11:20): You know, he says it as well as I can say it, you know? Because when you think about this, you know, here’s the sheep, and they’re coming to the sheep fold, they’re going to go into this gated little area, and they, the stranger can’t get them in there. “Come here little sheepy, sheepy, sheepy, come on!” Because they don’t know his voice. But yet when the shepherd steps up, I mean those sheep just respond, because the know his voice.
Chad (11:45): It’s like Tex.
Keith (11:46): Oh, my gosh. You know, I have a dog, and you know this, Tex. You know, people are so amazed. In fact, we just got done doing some stuff at the Institute, and my dog, I just opened the back of my Jeep, and people walk by and go, “Tex, come here.” He won’t even look at them. He doesn’t even acknowledge they’re alive. Why? Because they don’t have the voice of the master. It’s not that I’m that good. I’m just his master. And he listens to me. I feed him. He know who I am. I am going to protect him. He knows that even I’ve had to reprove him. But he goes… I only do what is best for him. It’s amazing that the shepherd knows us and the sheep know that about that.
Chad (12:22): That’s really good, and one of the imagery I love about this is you’ve got this thief, this robber that can’t go through the gate. So he’s climbing over the side wall trying to get in, and I just wonder when I read this passage, what are the little thieves in my life that are trying to come through a back door, through a side fence, that are trying to come over and get into the place of my intimacy with God, and he talks about strangers’ voices later on in the text. And you just wonder how many strangers’ voices are trying to capture our attention that are contrary to the Word of God. Go ahead.
Keith (13:02): Well no Chad, I was just going, I was going to ask you because I watch your schedule right now. You’ve got four kids, you’re going absolutely a hundred miles an hour talking kids to school and activities and all that’s going on. What are the voices you’re hearing? Because I guarantee you the devil’s trying to sneak into your pin.
Chad (13:20): Yeah, I mean I think, and man you hit on it already, but it’s like, you’re tired. You’re mentally and physically exhausted, I know all of our parents that are listening feel that. And so, quickly Satan creeps in and goes, “You don’t need to be intentional in this conversation while you’re riding with your kids. Or maybe you can sleep in a little bit later.” Or whatever it is, right? But maybe this isn’t a priority, and when you’re in that season, it really amplifies the need to go, like, if I’m not led by the Holy Spirit, and can hear the voice of the Father, I am going to fail. And I’m going to fly off the handle in a moment, because everything is at such max capacity, and I think one of the things I learned from you early on is, “You’re only busy if you don’t have purpose.” And I think, that is what has driven this season of life for me is, how do I in the business, never lose sight of that purpose with my kids, with my wife, and ultimately with the voice of the Father?
Keith (14:22): Well, you know, it’s a trust issue. You know, those sheep trust you. And your kids trust you. My wife trusts me. And I often have to ask the question myself. Do I trust myself? You know, and I can only trust myself to the extent that I’m firmly rooted. And because I know how fleshly I am, and I do understand John 10. The Thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy me. He doesn’t take, you know, hostages and say, “I’m going to treat you well.” His whole goal is to destroy everything about your family, your witness, because see, I really believe this Chad, and this is what just captivates me all the time in my thoughts. Satan can’t steal my salvation. Therefore, he wants to ruin my reputation. And that’s the subtleness that the devil just keeps speaking in your ear. “Hey, you’re too tired. You don’t have time for the Word. You don’t have time for… turn on that song, that’s a great song. That radio, man, you need to listen to fox channel.” And you’re so caught up in the stuff, that the things that matter the most, the Word of God, and your prayers, they become distant in the rear-view mirror.
Chad (15:33): That’s good, and, really lends to what verse three is talking about, and we can close with verse three, but he says this, “To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name, and he leads them out.” And, you know, in America, our cowboys lead their sheep or cattle, whatever, from the rear. But in Israel, the shepherd would go out before the sheep, and like you said, he would use those specific calls, and they would know his voice so well that no other shepherd could deceive them. No other thief could come over the side wall and confuse them. They would hear the voice of the shepherd and they would follow. That’ll preach, I mean there’s no need to say more, right? It’s just so powerful. What words of wisdom would you have as you look back now at 45 years of ministry and watching people hear the voice of the Father and watching others hear the voice of the thief.
Keith (16:32): You know, boundaries are needed. You know, the shepherd, no matter how old you are, or how young you are, the shepherd calls you by name. And he wants to lead you into safety. And I have to listen to him. Because so often, I see the boundaries that are set up there and I don’t think they apply to me. I want to do what I want to. There’s something about my nature that believes that freedom is doing what I want. And if I could impart one thing of, you know, the last 45 years of my life of ministry, is that I would say this: freedom is not doing what you want, but freedom is being obedient to God’s Word, and to the calling of God, and listening to the Spirit of God. And that frees me, and you know, I’ve never been more at freedom in my life as I’ve been right now, and I’m getting old, you know? But I praise God for that. To serve the Lord with all my heart. And I don’t have to… I’m still abiding by the same shepherd, I’m still listening to the same shepherd’s voice. But that voice has become so much more intimate with me.
Chad (17:38): Just the closeness of the father. That’s a good word, and it’s a good word for us younger folks that are listening to go, “What does it look to learn the voice better each year?” So that when we get to your stage we go, “This is sweet.” Because we’ve seen a lot of people that late in their life don’t hear the voice, and
Keith (18:02): Well the thief gets them. And that is an absolute fact. He is out there, and some of you out there today may have been already gotten. And you’re going, “Man how do I… I’m broke down, and how do I get renewed?” I’m going to tell you something. The devil steals, but God brings back, and at any moment, all you’ve got to do is say, “Jesus, will you forgive me? I am so sorry, I’ve made mistakes.” And he hears that. You’re not too far away, and you still can hear the voice of the Shepherd. He’s calling you by name. He’s never quit calling you. You just put your fingers in your ears and ran. And he says, “I want you back.” So, if you’re out there today, and you’ve really struggled and you’re going, “Man I can’t… I want it back the way it used to be.” God forgives, he heals, turn back, and he’ll call you in. He’s always there. So praise God for that.
Chad (18:46): Praise God. What a great way to end, and if you get a chance today, John 1, excuse me, Psalm 1, and then John 10:1-6, get a chance in there. Go back, look at the text, and allow God’s Word to bring to life the voice of our shepherd. Have a great day. Thanks for joining us here on the Kanakuk Institute Podcast.