I would like to share some insights using the S.O.A.P. method of Bible study and journaling.
I learned this tool from the writings of pastor and author Wayne Cordeiro and his Life Journal method of devotions. Here is a short explanation.
S stands for Scripture- Write out the verses you choose from your daily Bible reading.
O stands for observations- Write what you see in the scripture. Commands? Promises? Comfort? Correction?
A stands for application- Write how you will be different today because of what you just read.
P stands for prayer. Write out your prayer of response to God.
Scripture — Deuteronomy 8:17-18: Be careful not to say, “My own ability and skill have gotten me this wealth.” Remember the Lord your God, for he is the one who gives ability to get wealth; If you do this, he will confirm his covenant that he made by oath to your ancestors, even as he has to this day.
Observations — Moses was preparing the next generation of Israel to enter the “promised land” by reviewing the law and by reminding them of God’s blessing. This generation had been raised in the wilderness and had seen God’s protection and provision in the scarcity of the desert. They were about to enter a land that was abundant with natural wealth — a land that had already been tamed and built up by others. Moses warned them of the temptation to take credit for the abundance they were about to enjoy. Protection and provision in the scarcity of the wilderness was more clearly seen as coming from God. The temptation of abundance was to grow complacent or worse yet, to take the credit.
Application — Wilderness times of scarcity and survival, cause me to depend on God. Wilderness times also tend produce a thankful heart. Abundant times can be a very dangerous.
When I have all I need, it is tempting to become complacent. It is also tempting to forget where blessings come from. It is amazing how quick I am to cry out and even blame God when things get difficult.
I need to listen to Moses’ warning about taking credit for the blessings of my life. I also need to give God glory for his protection, his provision, and his presence whether I am living through a “wilderness” time or a time of abundance.
Prayer — Abba, you deserve glory for every blessing in my life — for family, for food and shelter, for providing for needs and luxuries, for health and for healing — these all come from your hand.
Even the ability to work for a living — for opportunities, for jobs, for talent and experience — these too are gifts from your hand Abba. Every good and perfect gift truly does come from you.
Whether I am in the wilderness or in the land of abundance, you deserve my praise and my devotion.
— Tim Pettey is the pastor of Sunnyside First Baptist Church.