When we pray, we speak to God; when we read Scripture, God speaks to us.
Love covers over a multitude of sins. – 1 Peter 4:8
I have to confess, I’ve heard this verse probably a multitude of times in my lifetime and never really stopped to appreciate it until recently. Have you ever done that? Let the Scripture verse blip by you like “Yeah, I know that. Blah Blah Blah. Love is good. Next.”
There’s a spiritual practice known as Lectio Divina that has really taught me how to appreciate the Scriptures. When I learned more about the Holy Spirit’s gift of prophecy, this practice became even more of a blessing in my life. The Scriptures are full of hidden treasures and when we use the spiritual gifts combined with the spirit of revelation to uncover them it becomes a treasure box to our soul and a secret weapon we can use to help unlock them for others. Lectio Divina is really quite simple.
Latin for “Divine Reading,’ Lectio Divina is a traditional monastic practice of scriptural reading, meditation and prayer, taking only a portion of a Scripture passage, that opens our soul to communion with God and to receive the wisdom and the revelation of the Holy Spirit. It does not treat scripture as texts to be studied, but as the Living Word.
I cease not to give thanks for you, making commemoration of you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and of revelation, in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your heart enlightened.- Eph. 1:16-18
You begin first by reading the Scripture passage slowly and carefully, like a book. Today, I chose 1 Peter 4.
Next, you open your heart to communicate with God in prayer. I asked the Holy Spirit to show me which part of His word He wanted me to focus on today. I re-read the text with this goal in mind. In His infinite faithfulness, God highlighted verse 8.
Convicted with His promise to guide me, I began to meditate on His word in verse 8 by re-reading only verse 8. I once again asked the Holy Spirit to reveal to me the revelation of His word in verse 8. Much like having the great honor of asking a famous author why they wrote a specific passage of their book, you and I can ask the Author of Creation why He preserved His words in such a way. As we mentioned earlier, words hold hidden treasures. And it’s the glory of kings to search them out (Proverbs 25:2). In meditation, we think deeply upon the spiritual reality behind the text.
I’d come to an understanding of the meaning to cover in Scriptures before. Noah’s sons demonstrate this spiritual reality nicely in Genesis 9:23. Love covers over the shame of others who have stumbled to protect their hearts from further ridicule and to keep their honor from being lost to the Lord. It’s no surprise the Jewish Apostle would have been re-presenting the same concept to Christians in his time. I Peter 4 is an address about Living in the Glory of God and he had some advice for those who were living in times just like Noah:
“For the time past is sufficient to have fulfilled the will of the Gentiles, for them who have walked in riotousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings and unlawful worshipping of idols. Wherein they think it strange that you run not with them into the same confusion of riotousness: speaking evil of you. Who shall render account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this cause was the gospel preached also to the dead: That they might be judged indeed according to men, in the flesh: but may live according to God, in the Spirit.
But the end of all is at hand. Be prudent therefore and watch in prayers. But before all things have a constant mutual charity among yourselves: for charity covereth a multitude of sins. Using hospitality one towards another, without murmuring, As every man hath received grace, ministering the same one to another: as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak, as the words of God. If any minister, let him do it, as of the power which God administereth: that in all things God may be honoured through Jesus Christ: to whom is glory and empire for ever and ever. Amen.”
It was during this meditation time with the Holy Spirit I felt Him highlighting a new word, multitude of sins.
The fourth step in Divine Reading is even more simple but profoundly empowering. It is the practice of contemplation or resting in God’s presence.
Knowing now I had found the treasure He hoped I would seek, I sank back into my chair, closed my eyes and rested upon His word. What is a multitude? It is during our times of contemplation with God that we come to know His spirit of revelation.
It’s not enough simply to read the Word of God if we do not press forward like treasure hunters to find the gold within the map. The gold lies in His presence.
It was during contemplation this verse finally struck me in the fullness of its glory. How many sins must my love cover over for the Noah’s in my day? My answer was in the nearness of God’s love for all those He delivers from the powers of darkness. Like the demoniac infested with a multitude of demons, God’s love covered him, even in the darkest places, even in his sins. My love should cover Legions. Hordes. Masses. All who gather.
This truth in His Word should release us. In the power of His presence in our moments of contemplation we should find freedom. It is here that we move to the final phase of our Divine Reading, Acts.
Like the disciples when the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation fell upon them at Pentecost, having their eyes open to the proclamation of the Gospel, they were sent out. You and I must leave our Divine Reading and Go, release chains, free captive minds and make disciples of others to do the same.
We need to Go, to Love, to Cover multitudes in God’s love.
I want to encourage you to enter into this example of grace as often as you can. As often as you pick up the Word of God, either written or spoken, to find the treasure. Before a word of prophecy is even uttered upon our lips, we ought to consider our prayer, meditation and contemplation over it. What good is a map without a Guide? What good is prayer without presence? What good is a spiritual gift like prophecy without Love? It is the same in the Spoken Word and the Written Word. God’s Word is never void of good treasures. May we discover as many as we can in our lifetime!
So shall my word be, which shall go forth from my mouth: it shall not return to me void, but it shall do whatsoever I please, and shall prosper in the things for which I sent it. – Isaiah 55:10-12
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