"I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life." (Psalm 119:93 NIV)
This time of year is usually spent in the kitchen, canning fresh vegetables from the garden. It seems this year the Lord is speaking to me through tomatoes and beans along with the process of preserving them for the cold wintry days when fresh vegetables can only be found in the grocer's produce section.
I'm allergic to the vines of the beans, so my husband picks the beans and brings them in to me to break and preserve. On the other hand, I don't have a problem going out to the garden to pick tomatoes or corn or peppers although I admit my expertise is in the kitchen.
Right now I hear the water boiling in two large canners, processing stewed tomatoes. I added some onions and peppers to this batch since I usually add them to most dishes as I cook. But this has really spoken to me this afternoon ... preserving comes through processing in the hot water and pressure cooker.
Without the hot water and the pressure cooker, the vegetables would soon spoil. Any effort to preserve them without applying the hot water bath or the pressure cooker would be futile. Enzymes in the vegetables need to be killed in order for them to remain on the basement shelf until they're needed, and this only happens a certain way -- there's no short cut, no way around it.
The Psalmist understood the power of the Word of God. It worked like a hot water bath or a pressure cooker to preserve his own life. The Word is no different for us today ... it works to preserve our lives if we will approach it properly without trying to take shortcuts.
Our lives are not unlike the fresh vegetables. We have "enzymes" (our flesh) that will cause us to spoil quickly if we're not exposed to the Word of God, the divine "Pressure Cooker". But along with the Word comes the turbulence in the pot of boiling water, purifying us and killing our flesh so the power of the Word can properly preserve us until the day of His coming.
Don't avoid the pressure cooker or the rolling hot water bath of the Word. Submit to the precepts of godliness and holiness in the Word of God. It may be painful for a season, but the Word will purify us without "enzymes" that would otherwise ultimately cause us to spoil and rot.
The Word of God will preserve us. And, once we understand that, we can sing along with the Psalmist, "I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life."
Jan Ross is well-known as an author of Christian devotional material and short stories. She also travels as a missionary which is often reflected in her writing. She lives with her husband, Ron, in Willard, Ohio and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
c Jan Ross 2007