Making the Word Our Daily Bread

Jim Downing, former chairman of The Navigators' board, noticed that in Joshua 1:8 and Psalm 1:3 he was called to meditate on the Word of God day and night. To meditate at night, Downing begins his Bible reading in the evening, often using the Psalms.

For example, for the eighth day of a month, he uses Psalm 8, 38, 68, 98 and 128, and begins reading them the evening of the seventh. As he reads, he asked God for a thought, a command, a warning, an exhortation or a praise.

On the eighth of one month, he read Psalms 8 and 38 but God did not speak to him out of them. Then he read Psalm 68, and saw, "The Lord...daily loadeth us with benefits." The marginal reading in his Bible suggested an alternative reading: "He daily lifts our burdens."

He had been walking around with a burden for four or five days but had not really realized it. When he came to this passage, he thought, "That's for me! I've been carrying a burden. God said that He wanted to lift my burdens and then load me up with His benefits." That thought gave him a good night's sleep and thrilled him every time he recalled its promise.

After Downing has read a verse until a verse speaks to him, he closes his Bible and makes sure so other thought becomes prominent in his thoughts so he can drop off to sleep meditating on that verse. If he awakens in the night, he follows the example of the psalmist when he said, "O Lord, I remember Thy name in the night" (Psalm 119:55), and deliberately recalls his verse to mind.

As Downing disciplines himself to turn his heart and mind to the thought God has given him every time he awakens in the night and on waking the first thing in the morning, it becomes a part of his life.

Thank You, Lord, that You intend for Your Word to be our daily bread.

"But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night" (Psalm 1:2).