Happy, righteous, blessed, and perfect is the man on whom is the fear and dread of the mighty Lord, and who desires greatly to fulfill the command and teaching of God, as it is laid down in the canon of the Old and New Testaments.
- Vita Brendani, Irish, 17th century, from an earlier ms.
Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
- Psalm 1.1, 2
It is a measure of full faith in the Lord that we delight to spend time with Him in His Word.
Imagine that you are separated from your loved ones – on an extended trip or mission, let’s say – and the only way you can connect with them is via the mail. Day after day letters arrive. You receive each one, happy to be remembered and loved, and set them together on the coffee table.
But you never take the time to read them. Or, having read them once, you feel no need to return and savor them again.
What would such behavior say about your love for those who care so much for you that they faithfully, day after day, convey their love in the things they write? What does it say about our love for God, when we neglect His Word?
Celtic Christian leaders like Brendan (fl. ca. 560 AD) were serious about the Bible. They learned it as children, lived it as adults, preached it as missionaries, evangelists, and pastors, and copied and taught it diligently, to ensure that succeeding generations would never want for the Word of God.
Most of the hagiographical writings (saints’ lives) from this period include a passage like the one above, which opens the Life of Brendan. Readers – or listeners, as the case may have been – were to know from the beginning that the hero herein to be celebrated was above all else faithful in the Word of God. Indeed, a primary reason for these saints being remembered and revered was their commitment to knowing and living the teaching of Scripture.
Saints’ lives from this period use a good deal of embellishment, exaggeration, and hyperbole to emphasize the virtues and powers of their subjects; however, in this one area, commitment to the Word of God, we’re pretty sure they were telling it as it was.
Celtic Christians understood the connection between Scripture and the Kingdom of God. For them, becoming steeped in Scripture was the way to Kingdom happiness, righteousness, and blessing – just as the Bible says. We may think we can find fulfillment in things or experiences or even other people. But we can’t, not the ultimate and complete fulfillment our souls require. The only place to gain the fullness of soul that each of us most deeply desires is through feeding on the Word of God as a daily regimen of grace and truth.
Saints like Brendan accomplished a great deal, and the vision and faith that moved and carried them came from their faithful reading and fervent trust in the Word of God. We will never see the kind of revival these great saints experienced until, like them, we make daily commitment to the Word of God our great delight and guiding light.
Have you discovered the happiness, righteousness, and blessedness that await you within the pages of God’s holy Word?
1. Would you describe your time reading God’s Word as a “delight”? Explain.
2. How might you improve your time in the Word, so that you realize more of the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God as a result?
Psalm 1.1, 2 (St. Thomas: I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord)
How blessed are they that shun sin’s vain and wicked ways.
For them has Christ salvation won; He loves them all their days.
God’s Word is their delight; they prosper in its truth.
In it they dwell both day and night to flourish and bear fruit.
Help me to be faithful and diligent in Your Word, O Lord, so that I can…
The Joy and Rejoicing of Your Heart?
Looking for ways to improve your time in the Word? Our book, The Joy and Rejoicing of My Heart, can lead you into richer and more consistent and fruitful time in the Scripture. Order your copy by clicking here.
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T. M. Moore, Principal
All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 Plummer, p. 44.