I have a long history with Deuteronomy 32. That’s a weird sentence, I know. After all, that chapter of Scripture has been around a lot longer than I have. But we’ve had a special connection, that chapter and I, for several years now.
It started about 10 years ago, when I attended a conference put on by the national Bible Study group ~ Community Bible Study ~ with which I am affiliated. One of the speakers spoke on the subject of memorizing Scripture, and man, she ’bout curled our hair with what she taught us! This was a woman who had memorized several complete chapters of the Bible, and in a few cases, entire books.
She did two things for us ~ first, she illustrated her hard work. She had everyone (about 500 people) stand, and turn to their right. Then we massaged the shoulders of the person in front of us while the speaker recited a psalm from memory. Then we turned in the other direction, and massaged the person on our left, while she recited another psalm Very effective illustration.
The second thing she did for us, was teach us how to do what she had done. She talked about writing out the passage we were memorizing, three words at a time. Three words every day, and then add three more. Write it out on paper, but also in the air, with an imaginary pen… or on our arm, with our finger. And every day, recite what you know.
Now, the book we were studying that year was Deuteronomy. And right after that conference, while I had that wonderful challenge in my mind, I happened to read chapter 32.
Chapter 32 is a rich, full chapter of Scripture. Beautiful language and soaring praise to God, and then criticisms of His children who turned their backs on Him to worship imaginary gods. And then there are promises, and warnings. Reminders of the glory that awaits those who love Him, and the punishment that awaits those who choose other gods as the objects of their devotion.
I spent a summer memorizing those words. And for months afterward, I would recite that chapter in the shower. I remember saying the words in verse 2 (“Let my teaching drop as the rain, My speech distill as the dew, As raindrops on the tender herb, And as showers on the grass.”) and loving how appropriate they sounded.
After a while however, I neglected to recite it on a regular basis. And now I know I wouldn’t be able to recite it for you. I only remember sections and lines ~ chunks of it, really.
But even though my mouth can no longer prove my tie to that chapter, my head knows it. And my heart knows it. When I see part of that chapter referenced elsewhere in the Bible, I know the source even without checking. And when I hear any verse of it, I smile. It’s a part of Scripture that I have “hidden in my heart,” and it’s there to stay.