Turn on the light – Memorizing scripture


And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.
Genesis 1:3-4

It was the afternoon Jeff flew to Denver on a business trip while I stayed home. I turned on the light in the hall, and a bulb blew.   

It’s uncanny how often it happens. He goes out of town; a light goes out. The week before, it was a bedroom light that shot after he left.

It’s too symbolic to go unnoticed. When he leaves, part of my light leaves with him. I don’t like it.

But as I re-memorize Psalm 27 this season, I’m reminded of a light that never goes out. I like this much better. It begins in verse 1:

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27:1

There’s something intuitive about light and dark in every culture, every age: Light makes us brave.

We’re afraid in the dark. We complain of the short days in winter; celebrate their returning elongation in the spring. We look forward to the dawn of a new day.

We’re made to love the light.

So as God would have it for me, he uses memory verses as light bulbs. Each verse I grasp is another light to shine on my path, another bulb in my box of bulbs that I want fully stocked.

  • To illuminate beauty in the moment
    “One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.”
    Psalm 27:4
  • To shine on victories past
    “And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the LORD.”
    Psalm 27:6
  • To light up hope when the road is foggy
    “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!”
    Psalm 27:13
  • To focus my attention as a candle in a dark room
    “Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!”
    Psalm 27:14

Just as God spoke light into existence with a word, his words continue to light up when I memorize them. Each big and small word require equal attention, demanding my participation in a way that reading alone doesn’t ask for.

And if I struggle to retain the words long-term, does that mean the memorizing was a waste of time? Definitely not. Because in the moment of learning, the Lord was changing me then into who I am now. He was with me, honoring my efforts to memorize, to meditate, to luxuriate in the message. His Spirit used our time together to make old words fresh again.

So whether the sun sets for the night or a storm blocks its rays or simply another light bulb burns out, I ask the Spirit to search my mind for a scripture I’ve learned to illuminate the darkness. To light up the Lord. To uncover his beauty for my gazing.

He is a light that will never burn out.

The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.
Psalm 119:130

~ * ~

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:5

~ * ~

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12

* * *

Which Bible verse shines light for you? Please share in the comments.

12 thoughts on “Turn on the light – Memorizing scripture

  1. Mary

    This verse has been speaking to me: 2 Chronicles 20:15 He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.”

    Remembering that the battle isn’t mine has been comforting.

    I love this post Lisa!! thank you.

  2. Romi

    Last Sunday, we listened to the sermon based on John 1, and when I heard John 1:9, I immediately thought of Psalm 27:1. I was also reminded of John 8:12. It seems to me that this Bible memory challenge is helping to highlight the word ‘light’, too.

    I’m looking forward to learning more about God, spending more time with Him, through trying to learn this Psalm by heart.

  3. TC Avey

    Psalm 27 has been very encouraging for me. It’s helped me to realize not only does God provide light and shelter- He IS my light and shelter and He is everlasting! My light and shelter, my Salvation and refuge will never fade or diminish!
    I”m reading “Secrets of the Secret Place” by Bob Sorge and he talks about abiding in God’s secret place no matter what the storms of life bring. He is our foundation and refuge.

  4. Loren Pinilis

    I think the Psalm 119 passage sticks out to me. Psalm 119 is such an incredible source of great memory verses.
    I took a mission trip to Mongolia. Many of the people there struggle from rickets because of a lack of Vitamin D – which is due to not getting enough sun in that tough climate. One of the ladies with us shared a devotional on spiritual light and the problems that come from not getting enough. She did a word study all throughout scripture on light – Jesus being the light of the world. It was amazing.

  5. Heather @ My Overflowing Cup

    I love Psalm 27:1, but my very favorite is John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.” I love the reminder that this world will have its troubles so they couldn’t take me by surprise, but He promises the peace that comes from knowing He has overcome it all. Wonderful! Thanks for sharing this post, Lisa. He truly is the light of the world.

  6. Tracy

    Hi Lisa, I love this post. Great way to point out how much we crave the light, God’s light. I know that without His light, what we think of as darkness would be overwhelming. With His light, everything is conquerable.
    God bless and have a blessed weekend

  7. Betty Draper

    “Light makes us brave.” Oh Lisa, I love this little short phrase, the truth of it makes me smile. Great post, good points to think on but that little one I will think about for a long time since I strive to be a courageous women. It is His light that shines in my heart that gives me courage. Blessing my sister.

  8. Anita Ojeda

    I think the first Bible verse to really take hold of me was Phil. 4:6 (I actually had to use Bible Gateway to check the reference–I’m not a numbers person 😉 ). I’ve had many an anxious moment soothed by the promise to “not be anxious about anything!”

  9. Elizabeth

    I so admire your ability to memorize large portions of scripture, Lisa! I do so agree that the Word is the essential light we need to overcome the darkness in our own mind, will and emotions. Oh, how it has been my lifeline!

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