I once studied Shakespeare with the renowned British actor Brewster Mason. Each time I would act out the Bard’s words, Brewster would interrupt me and say, “No, no, no, observe the meter, observe the meter!” It wasn’t until years later that I understood what he meant. By breaking up Shakespeare’s verses in ways that “worked for me,” I was losing their meaning. I was trying to make the words serve me, instead of serving the words.
According to Webster’s Dictionary, observe means “to conform one’s action,” to “comply with” or “solemnize” something. In fact, the Latin root means “to serve.”
Is it any surprise, then, that Scripture repeatedly admonishes us to “observe” God’s word? How? By it letting speak to us and through us, not by making God’s word serve us…
But by serving God’s word.