“But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not overtake your fathers? So they repented and said, ‘As the Lord of hosts purposed to deal with us for our ways and deeds, so has he dealt with us.’” Zechariah 1:6
“Your words were found, and I ate them,
and your words became to me a joy
and the delight of my heart,
for I am called by your name,
O Lord, God of hosts.” Jeremiah 15:16
“I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes… For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’” Romans 1:17-18
“O Lord, Thou didst strike my heart with Thy word, and I loved Thee.” St. Augustine
Overtaken by dread at an ominous forecast. Overtaken by joy at a long-anticipated wedding, or the birth of a child. Overtaken by fear at a hard diagnosis. Overtaken by love in the sparkle-eyed smile of a child, or the tender embrace of a spouse. Overtaken by grief at a tragic loss of life, or a fractured marriage. Overtaken by wonder at a broken relationship made whole, a broken body restored and healed, a sin redeemed. Overtaken by rapturous awe at a sunset in a leaf. We are overtaken by many things tangible and intangible in day to day living, instances and moments that captivate the imagination, catch our breath, and arrest our hearts. In all these, we can thank God for the gift of senses and the human capacity for intuition, intellectual processing, and emotion.
What about the word of God? What about the Spirit’s stir? In our natural absorption with the world and its attending allures, and incessant headlines and urgencies, do we invest any energy and attention to being overtaken by the Lord? Emotions and focus are whipped to and fro by alerts and events someone else decides are important, but the word of God stands unchanged and alive, ready to refresh, instruct, correct, and nourish. (Psalm 119:89; 2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 4:12)
When we avail ourselves of the powerful word, we face God’s holiness and our despicable sin, and are humbled to repent. When our souls are overtaken by God’s mercy and love, and our logic by His gracious gospel, we are saved unto eternal life. When we seek God’s truth and savor His word, we tap into our lifeline and are filled with joy, certain we are His. When we are overtaken by the Spirit’s sway, we learn to discern according to wisdom from above, and to rebuff the devil’s blows and temptations. We freely exercise His fruit at home and abroad. (Galatians 5:22-23; James 3:17; 4:7-8; 1 Peter 5:8-9)
What will it take of intention, effort, and surrender for us to be overtaken by God’s word? Is there stubbornness that needs be softened, sin confessed, fixed allegiances released, time scheduled? God hears desperate cries from honest hearts, and His word can overcome any obstacle. What will we relinquish today so He can take whole hold of us?
O Lord, strike and captivate my heart with Your word upon every reading so I am never the same. Overtake my will and soul desire to be all for Thee.