I first met him in Southeast Asia. He was found in a rural village, living under one of the houses, which are usually on stilts to avoid the flooding that comes during the rainy season. He was chained to one of the posts because he was severely demon possessed and the people were afraid of him. I was with some missionaries who took him under their wing when they found him. They brought him to the city, into their own house, to take care of him. He remained mute and savagely violent, and he stayed isolated in his room. The only thing he really had in there with him was a Bible, and he read it.
So many Psalms are about the love of Scripture. After all, reading what God has written is our main source of hearing His voice. The psalmists long for relationship with God. The sons of Korah, who were worship leaders of David’s day, wrote in Psalm 42:1-2, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God,” and again in Psalm 63:1, 5, “My soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water….My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness.”
Well, given his dark condition, I’m sure the young man I met was soul-hungry. He devoured the words, verse by verse, chapter by chapter, cover to cover, day in and day out, all through the night—for years. He did not receive counsel. He did not have a psychiatrist, or go through a therapy program. He simply attended worship services, received the love from believers, and read that life giving, soul-dividing, double-edged Book.
And boy, does it have the power to transform. “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes” (Psalm 19:7-8).
After all that reading, that young man emerged out of his room as the outgoing, college-bound, joy-filled person I know him to be today. He is the beloved leader and preacher of nightly Bible studies, and has since traveled to other Asian countries to share his testimony.
If God’s Word could sober him and transform him so much, what would happen if we read it as diligently and as desperately as he did? How much more clarity if mind would we receive, being that we are already saved and sane Christians?
“As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby” (I Peter 2:2).