If you receive the same scriptural text a number of times, from a number of sources in a short period to time, it is worth paying attention to (John Lathrop)
One practice that Christians sometimes engage in is giving Scripture passages to one another. That is, they share a specific Bible verse or passage that they believe will minister to an individual. They share these biblical texts as they feel impressed to do so.
This is a good practice since God’s Word is supposed to be the voice of authority in the believer’s life. This sharing of God’s truth is also meant to be encouraging (and who doesn’t need that?).
Many years ago my wife and I were repeatedly given a particular Scripture passage by friends. The text that we received was this:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your
own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
We were given this passage at a time when things did not seem to be working out for us, at least not in the ways that we had hoped. I got to the point that I did not want to hear these verses. I had a case of hope deferred (Proverbs 13:12) and I was weary in the waiting.
In spite of the fact that I did not want to hear this text it was a necessary word in that season of our lives.
In 2008 I made a ministry trip to a foreign country. As it turned out there was going to be a run off election while I was there. The situation was not good.
Prior to my trip a number of people in the church I pastored gave me Scripture verses. Those who gave me these verses included both adults and children. The last one I received prior to my journey was not given to me at church but was dropped in the mail slot of the house that I lived in. The text I received came from Joshua 1.
The basic message and application of the text was that God would be with me wherever I went.
When I arrived overseas, an old schoolmate of mine picked me up at the airport. He confirmed that the situation in the country was not good.
He also told me that he was considering canceling or cutting back the ministry that I had come to do with the ministry that he was involved with. That evening the ministry team I was part of had a meeting to decide what we should do.
I shared the text from Joshua that I had been given prior to the trip. That text turned out to be one thing that encouraged us to do what ministry we could while we were there.
Recently this same verse has reappeared in my life.
In response to one of my Facebook posts a friend included the Scripture I had received in 2008. My wife bought a gift for me not too long ago. Guess what was on it? The image of a lion and the words of Joshua 1:9
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (NIV).
Also, recently, Dr. Eddie Hyatt, who I follow on Facebook cited the same text.
The Bible is a pretty large book. If you receive the same scriptural text a number of times, from a number of sources in a short period to time, it is worth paying attention to. God has a truth that he wants to encourage you with.
As in the two examples I have cited there may be things in the texts that you do not like. The text in Proverbs alludes to uncertainty and the text in Joshua hints at danger, but the underlying message of each text is one of hope and encouragement.
Let us receive and trust in these messages that the Lord sends to us; he intends to strengthen us by them. Has the Lord ever spoken to you by repeatedly calling your attention to a biblical passage?
John P. Lathrop - United States
John P. Lathrop is a graduate of Western Connecticut State University, Zion Bible Institute, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary’s Center for Urban Ministerial Education (CUME). He is an ordained minister with the International Fellowship of Christian Assemblies and has twenty years of pastoral experience.