Sweet to the Taste
Well, this morning I headed out at 8:00 a.m., and after numerous delays, I am once again in Westfield, NJ. Those of you who are devoted readers know that I make this trip every 60 days or so, and it rarely goes smoothly. Today was no exception. As we taxied out to the runway in Indy, we were advised of a cabin environment problem, and had to wait 30 minutes to see if the airlines would let us fly. It turned out that we took off, but had to adjust our altitude from the usual 35000 ft. down to 31000 ft. due to the cabin sensor situation.
I guess part of the hold up was that it takes more fuel to travel at a lower altitude and the powers that be didn’t know if we had enough fuel onboard to get us to Charlotte, my transfer point to get to Newark. Well, we made it, and I had plenty of time to go from C5 down to C12 where the next plane had already arrived and was ready to transport us to Newark at 1:25 p.m.
No such luck. As we boarded and were getting ready to leave the gate, the captain came on and advised us that there was a ground hold in Newark. We would be delayed by an hour or so, but at least we were in the plane and would taxi out to the runway in case there was a way to slip into the rotation headed for our destination. It didn’t happen, but we were allowed to take out our electronics and entertain ourselves until take-off.
Now when I travel, I think most people would consider me an odd duck. Because I download video podcasts from Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) Chapel speakers. It’s a habit that I got into some years ago when I finished my own seminary experience. When you attend seminary, you are pretty much required to attend the daily chapel service. I guess that technically you could skip it, but I never did. And, frankly, it keeps you in the rhythm of being in relationship with God. After all, you spend so much time learning about God that it is pretty easy to forget about your relationship with God. Chapel helps keeps balance in your life. It’s not much different than church, except the teaching is a lot deeper. There are a few songs; and then a message from a speaker. Chapel runs about 50 minutes or so, and then you head to your next class.
Anyway, DTS has always held a special place in my heart. I would have loved to have gone there, but in those days, there was no remote program. That means that Janet and I would have had to leave the family and move to Dallas during my school years. That just wasn’t in the cards. Janet’s sacrifices were off the charts anyway and a move away would have been more than anybody could have expected from her; and I wasn’t about to ask. Don’t get me wrong – I didn’t want to move either.
Furthermore, my Dad’s cousin teaches there – Dr. Stanley Toussaint. He is well known internationally as a seminar and conference speaker, and has taught at DTS as a Senior Professor of Bible Exposition since 1960 or so, except when he took a leave of absence for a short time. He knows and works with the giants of the faith. Men such as Dr. Chuck Swindoll, Dr. Dwight Pentecost, Dr. Donald Campbell and many others who are titans of scholarship in the field of theology. Several years ago, during one of my trips to Dallas, we actually went to dinner together and had a great time. It was the first time I met him, and he regaled me with stories of my Dad when they were young, and how Dad even taught Stanley to swim.
When I downloaded my last series of podcasts from “DTS Chapel – Preach the Word” on iTunes, I noticed that he was scheduled to speak. The week that school starts in the fall, they bring out the big guns for the first week of chapel, and boy, they did it again this year! All of the above named men, plus Dr. Mark Bailey, President of DTS. So as I sat on the tarmac today, I had the pleasure of listening to the chapel podcast of Dr. Campbell, President Emeritus of DTS; and a wonderful speaker. He is much older now – he attended DTS in 1946, and he has been there ever since.
And then, he started to teach – I almost had tears in my eyes. His hands shake, and his voice cracks, and he has to use a magnifying glass to read the open Bible before him, and he has to pause between phrases, but he received a standing ovation as he was welcomed to the podium; and then I sat in rapt silence as I hung on every word this man said. And he taught about Psalm 119, the longest psalm in the Bible, 176 verses long. It is called an acrostic – meaning that every 8 verses start with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet, which has 22 letters in it – making 176 verses in all.
He focused on the verses 119:97-104, when he believes that David, one of the possible authors of the psalm, was waxing poetic about his relationship with God. The verse that he camped on is verse 119:103, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” And then this elder theologian, in my opinion one of the greatest minds in the country, talked about all his great teachers – and how they paled in comparison to what he hoped to learn from God when he arrived in heaven. Get it?
To be taught by God directly – there is no greater teacher. And, as Dr. Campbell said, we think of food being sweet to the taste, but the Word of God? And yet, what could be better for us than to receive than God’s Word – the eternal bread of life – from which we will never be hungry again. Suffice it to say that I was mesmerized; I love to hear messages from people like Dr. Campbell. What an inspiration…., and such humility……
So my encouragement tonight is to really immerse yourself in “tasting” the Word of God. Don’t just read the words on a page, but think about being taught by the God of the Universe Himself – the Triune God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And my prayer is that God will give you something special to chew on – prepared especially for you.
And on the way home, I get to listen to my cousin, Stanley, and even Dr. Pentecost, so I am really getting my spiritual tank filled this trip – and I needed that…