Look at the Fish!

We live in a hurried society. We live in a society that tells the microwave to hurry up. We live in a time when we can get anything we want as soon as we want it. Think of the entertainment that streams from our internet service. I live in a city where Amazon offers one-hour deliveries! We are a hurried and impatient people.

This hurried society has caused the Church to know less of the Scriptures, even while 20 centuries of commentaries and sermons are available with the click of a trackpad. We must regain a depth of understanding and a depth of humility as we approach the Word of God.

The Scriptures tell us that we are to meditate on the Word of God. Meditation takes time. It take effort to look at the Word of God and to dive deeply into the teachings, mysteries, and truths of the Word. The first Psalm tells us that the godly makes the Word of God his meditation day and night.

Do we take time to mediate on the Word? Would the church today increase in her love for Christ, understanding of Systematic Theology, application of New Testament ethics, and knowledge of the Bible if she would take time to meditate on the very Words that Jesus calls Truth?

Samuel Scudder tells of his time under the professorship of Harvard’s Louis Agassiz in the mid 19th century. Scudder was asked when he would like to begin learning “natural science” by his professor and his answer was “now.” According to one historian Agazzis put a fish in front of him and told him to “look at the fish.” Scudder records the following in his diary:

“In ten minutes I had seen all that could be seen in that fish… Half an hour passed- an hour- another hour; the fish began to look loathsome. I turned it over and around; looked it in the face- ghastly; from behind, beneath, above, sideways, at three-quarters view- just as ghastly. I was in despair… My two hands, my two eyes, and the fish: it seemed a most limited field. I pushed my finger down its throat to feel how sharp the teeth were. I began to count the scales in the different rows, until I was convinced that was nonsense. At last a happy thought struck me- I would draw the fish, and now with surprise I began to discover new features in the creature.”

The professor returned to see what the student had seen and then told him to look again.

“I was piqued: I was mortified. Still more of that wretched fish! But now I set myself to my task with a will, and discovered one new thing after another… The afternoon passed quickly ; and when towards its close, the professor inquired: ‘Do you see it yet?’ ‘No,’ I replied, ‘I am certain I do not; but I see how little I saw before.’

We live in an age where we think we know a lot about the Bible. We think that we understand Theology and understand Christian ethics and understand practical Christian living.

But do we?

Does the church look at the Scriptures and think within ten minutes of looking that we know all that there is to know? I would argue that we need to look at the fish. We need to feel its teeth. We need to draw it. We need to notice the different rows of scales. We need the humility to look at God’s Word and say, “I see how little I saw before.” This humility before God’s Word can only come from meditation on the very words of life. I appreciate Bible reading and Bible study, but do you find yourself meditating on the Scriptures seeking that place where you confess that the depths of God’s Word will take a lifetime of meditation, even an eternity.

Our meditation is not on a ghastly fish, but its a look into the very mind of God. You may not see it all, but you will see how little you saw before.

2 Comments

  1. Sarmishta November 6, 2015 at 9:11 am #

    Thank you Nathan, this is a wonderful piece of thought. Sure you meditated before writing 😉

    • Nathan Eshelman November 6, 2015 at 8:03 pm #

      You are most welcome. Keep your eye on the fish. BTW, I am praying for the committee which is currently in Bangalore. Exciting times!

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