Let my cry come before you, O LORD;
give me understanding according to your word!
Let my plea come before you;
deliver me according to your word.
My lips will pour forth praise,
for you teach me your statutes.
My tongue will sing of your word,
for all your commandments are right.
Let your hand be ready to help me,
for I have chosen your precepts.
I long for your salvation, O LORD,
and your law is my delight.
Let my soul live and praise you,
and let your rules help me.
I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant,
for I do not forget your commandments. -Psalm 119:169-176, ESV
-According to your (God's) word.
-God is the one who gives us understanding and deliverance. he is the one who teaches us an helps us.
"According to your word." If I were going to choose a theme for Psalm 119 it would be those words. As we come to the final verses of this wonderful Psalm I hope you realize how important the Bible is. I hope you realize what a treasure we have access to. I hope you know that an important part of the life of any believer is to study the Scriptures.
One of my favorite Bible expositors, James Boice, said in a series of sermons he preached on Psalm 119, "Study of the Bible must be the consuming passion of a believer's life." I think most of us are more comfortable with letting it be "a" consuming passion, but "the" consuming passion?
As I sit here thinking about those words, and looking back over Psalm 119, I admit I tend to agree with Boice's statement. To "do missions" correctly, we have to first know the message of the Gospel. To "do church" correctly we have to know what God says about it in the Bible. To live with my husband in a way that brings glory to God, I have to know what God says about marriage and, specifically, my role as wife.
With all that fights for our time it is important to put things in their proper perspective. I admit when I am up against deadlines, my personal Bible study is one of the first things to suffer. "I don't have time!" becomes my cry. Quilting becomes my consuming passion. I need to learn to make room for both. I need to learn not to lay aside the one thing I need most in my day.
“When God from heaven gave his Word-His Word was all-sufficient; It needs no words I may have heard-To add to or be in it. So I will take God’s Book and read, To learn what God desires; The Bible gives the strength I need To do what God requires.”-James Montgomery Boice
Grace, Peace, and Mercy,
Princes persecute me without cause,
but my heart stands in awe of your words.
I rejoice at your word
like one who finds great spoil.
I hate and abhor falsehood,
but I love your law.
Seven times a day I praise you
for your righteous rules.
Great peace have those who love your law;
nothing can make them stumble.
I hope for your salvation, O LORD,
and I do your commandments.
My soul keeps your testimonies;
I love them exceedingly.
I keep your precepts and testimonies,
for all my ways are before you. -Psalm 119:161-168, ESV
-God's words are a treasure that outshines everything else in life. They are awe inspiring.
-God's word reveals the way of salvation
-One who loves the LORD will hate falsehood.
-God's rules are righteous.
-God's word brings peace.
There is no doubt in Psalm 119 what our view of God's word should be. The outside world does not esteem it at all or at best picks and chooses what it deems of value. For we who are Christians the Bible is the greatest treasure we can hold in our hands.
This portion of Psalm 119 prompts several questions. First, do we esteem God's word the way the psalmist did? In the midst of persecution; of which I have never truly suffered- I have been ridiculed for my faith, yes, but not persecuted. In the midst of persecution do our hearts stand in awe of God's word? In other words, do we give God's word more credence than the voices of scoffers around us? Who do we choose to listen to?
Do we rejoice in God's word? Do we realize how great a treasure it is? That requires an understanding of the nature of the One who gave us His word. If we have a distorted view of God we will have a distorted view of His Word. At the same time it is through Scripture that we learn of God- that we see Him as He truly is. As we read through our Bibles we come to know Him as He was meant to be known, not through the lens of someone else, but in Scripture God Himself reveals His nature to us. There is a danger in picking and choosing those parts of God's nature that we like- His love, His tender mercies...but we cannot miss that He is holy and just and righteous. We cannot miss that He abhors sin and pours out wrath. There are many dimensions to God that we miss if we limit ourselves to the current trends to focus only on His love. Our pastor asked a very good question of us a couple of weeks ago. What have we been saved from? Often the answers we hear are from Satan, or from ourselves. But a reading of Romans rids us of those false ideas- we are saved from God's wrath. When you learn of his righteous, holy, and just nature you cannot help but stand in awe that He sent His only Son to pay the penalty for our sin. You cannot help but be brought to a greater appreciation for the incredible gift of His grace.
Do we hate falsehood? There is a lot of false teaching creeping into our churches. Do we let it in? Do we let it distract us from the truth found only in God's word? Are we so familiar with God's word that we are not even deceived? It breaks my heart to see good people being led down paths that are the result of twisted doctrine. There is no room for such things in our churches, and yet... If we were truly a people who loved God's word and abhored falsehood I think our churches would be very different places of worship. I love the conversation that Jesus had with the Samaritan woman at the well; in particular John 4:20-26. Jesus revealed Himself to her as the Messiah. But He also revealed the kind of people God the Father is seeking to be His true worshippers- people who worship in spirit and in truth. Falsehood has absolutely no place in God's presence. He does not tolerate it and neither should we. Rather than bringing disunity to the body those who call out false teaching for what it is are actually unifying the body. It is those who bring in the bad doctrine that stir up trouble in our churches, not those who point out their error and seek to keep our eyes focused on God's word as our only source of truth. Sadly, in this day and age many leaders in the church are not protecting their flocks as they should and it is up to us to know God's word so well that we are not deceived; that we are not tossed about by every wind of doctrine. (Ephesians 4:14)
Do we have peace? Those who love God's word have it because in walking according to God's ways they do not stumble. If we are lacking peace perhaps it is time to do a little soul searching.
Where is our hope? Clearly our only hope is in Gospel of Jesus Christ. If we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ than we need not fear that our salvation will be lost. Our hope is not in being a good person-we can never be good enough. Our hope is not in making sure that we do all of the right things- we will fail as surely as the Jews under the Law. Our only hope is in Jesus-the power of His death and resurrection-for only in HIm do we enjoy peace with God and the hope of heaven.
Finally, do we love and obey this book God has given us? Do you want to know what a fruitful life looks like? Read God's word and do what it says. It will certainly keep us well occupied with the time we have left as His servants on this earth.
Grace, Peace, and Mercy,
I am a woman with a Mary heart and these are my musings as I read and study God's Word
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