Jos 10-11; Tit 1-3; Psalm 136
I grew up in a church tradition which looked down on ‘mindless repetition’
It seems to me many years later that this was foolish on more than one count
Firstly it was INCREDIBLY judgmental in more ways than one – it presumed that people were just saying things without thinking, it presumed that repetition was in itself a poor substitute for what transpired eventually to be mere novelty (who can honestly remember all those NEW songs that were SO with it :), it assumed that if the mind was not engaged nothing was, which so privleleges the mind [and thus a sophisticated ‘intelligent’ elite] in a way that Scripture never does.
Secondly, following on from the last of those examples, it showed a complete lack of understanding of how we learn deep truth – learn things so that they become second nature. We do this all around us all the time without thinking about it. I drive a car. My conscious mind cannot be engaged all the time on every aspect, indeed most (95%) of driving is ‘unthinking’ – and I could multiply examples many times over. Oh that we so deep learned the things of faith that they passed into our unconscious and were JUST LIVED! 🙂
Thirdly it completely overlooked the value of what was being repeated. Repetition in itself was seen as a bad thing (see note above about novelty). Actually as human beings we seem to be hard wired for novelty – it sets off our chemical responses in the brain – with terrible effect in more ways than I can even begin to recount. God’s ‘new thing’ (behold I am doing a new thing) is the death and resurrection of Jesus!! There is not a long list of new things to keep uas entertained and away from boredom – no rather we go into the DEPTHS of this ONE new thing.
So our Psalm today . . . of course in Joshua and Titus we may find many things to be distracted, angry, disturbed, confounded by . . . whereas in the Psalm we repeat over and over ‘for his steadfast love endures for ever’. Without this lesson anchored deep within our hearts we cannot begin to cope with the other scriptures before us today. Let it sink from mind to heart – that we might KNOW it. For in the end the only Knowledge that counts is that which resides in the very depths of our being, where Christ dwells if we did but know it. Why seek for anything new, when Everything is to be found there??