Monday, August 5, 2013
Remember the word to your servant, upon which You have caused me to hope.
This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life.
The proud have me in great derision, yet I do not turn aside from Your law.
I remembered Your judgments of old, O Lord, and have comforted myself.
Indignation has taken hold of me because of the wicked, who forsake Your law.
The fact that the godly in the world shall suffer persecution is made evident here as well as throughout the Old and New Testaments. Ungodly men scorned Jesus, and Jesus said to His disciples that they should expect the same scorn that He endured.
The proud hold the godly in derision. A sure mark of grace is extreme sensitiveness to the exceeding sinfulness of sin. That sensitivity will make you a candidate for criticism and scorn by those who enjoy worldliness.
When affliction occurs, this passage teaches us to call upon God to fulfill His promises. The first thing we should do in the face of affliction is to open God’s Word and locate the promise that meets our case and then plead it. With God’s divine justice and goodness at work in our situation, we will have “hope.”
Verse 51 provides the warning that pain should not lead us away from God’s Word. It should not make us doubt God’s goodness. Job could say: Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. We should do no less.
Saturday, August 3, 2013
And I will walk at liberty; for I seek Your precepts.
I will speak of Your testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed.
And I will delight myself in Your commandments, which I love.
My hands also I will lift up to Your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on Your statutes.
If we seek for the Word of God, we shall find it. Finding it is our first duty, which involves seeing what it means.
Then we must meditate on the Word which involves application of that Word that we are studying to our very lives.
Meditation will show the infinite beauty and suitability of the Bible to the needs and aspirations of our soul, as well as instruction for the mind, direction for the will, cleansing for the heart, and guidance for the life. We will develop a love for the Word as we realize that it contains comfort for our afflictions, strength for our duties, peace for our distresses, and hope that transcends death.
The heart that loves the Word will delight in it (Psalm 1:2). Thus the study and practice of God’s Word is not a matter of dry duty, but of joy.
Those who suspect the authority and dislike the teaching of the Word of God are often ashamed of it. If we delight in God’s Word, then we will stand with Moses , Daniel, Peter and Paul in refusing to be ashamed of the Word.
The final duty that we have in these verses is that we must earnestly practice the Word (my hands also I will lift up to Your commandments). Anyone can seek, find, meditate, love, delight and not be ashamed of the Word, but the cost comes when we practice and suffer for the Word of God. Let the fire of the Word kindle joy in your hearts.
Nothing is more desirable or precious than liberty. Yet, there is nothing which we make more mistakes and enjoy less. A woman complained to Dr. Charles Stanley when he was preaching in Russia that she did not enjoy her freedom—the guaranteed pension given by the Communists was gone and thus nothing was coming her way.
Man’s natural condition is one of bondage. He has deliberately resigned and rejected his title to liberty by transgressing the terms on which it is based. Scripture everywhere represents the unredeemed man as sold under sin, led captive by the devil, desiring good but unable to reach it. This bondage is painful and degrading in its nature, and terrible in its consequences.
Man walks at liberty when he seeks and finds God’s precepts. The soul is free only when it moves unhampered in that sphere where its true interests lie. For us, the Bible is the only revelation of the great redemption, and alone shows how through the death of Christ and the work of the Spirit we may enjoy the liberty of the children of God.
When we gain freedom in Christ we have a new Master. We should serve that new Master who has emancipated us from the terribly tyranny of sin and death with the same diligence as you did your old master.
“Preaching and Practice”
Psalm 119:43-44 And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth. For I have hoped in Your ordinances.
So shall I keep Your law continually forever and ever.
For the Psalmist, the declaration of God’s truth was both a duty and a privilege. How do you view it? Perhaps you responded to the Gospel, but you don’t want to hear it over and over, and you certainly don’t want to offend others so you stay silent. That is not the attitude here.
The Psalmist here wanted not to give just lip service to the preaching of the Word, he wanted to fulfil the divine plan for the conversion of the world.
In the vow “So shall I keep Your law continually, forever and ever” the Psalmist says that what he preaches to others he will preach to himself. He will cultivate the spiritual lives of others with the Word of God and also bring spiritual nourishment to himself. The study and preaching of the Word should be an occasion for promoting our growth in grace.
The strength of powerful preaching is found in verse 44, and it is the fact that the Psalmist bases his hope totally in the Word of God. When that hope is placed in God’s judgments, then you can be sure that you are on the rock, and that spiritual success is to be yours. Study, read and pray today!
Psalm 119:41-42 Let Your mercies come also to me, O LORD—Your salvation according to Your word.
So shall I have an answer for him who reproaches me, for I trust in Your word.
The primary object of this prayer was providential deliverance. The Psalmist was afflicted, God had promised deliverance. He trusted in that promise, yet salvation stayed. He prayed for salvation that he might give the enemy to see the stability of “the confidence wherein he trusted.”
In verse 41 we are confronted by the words: Let your mercies come also to me. This reminds us that we are lost and ruined without divine assistance. We must always remember that salvation is not a human effort, but truly a divine visitation. It is altogether an act of God upon the sinner, and which does not involve a co-operation between us and God.
When you have a major operation, do you assist or advise the doctor? Would you really want to find out that you are supposed to help God in procuring your salvation?
“Fear and Its Remedy”
Psalm 119:39-40 Turn away my reproach which I dread, for your judgments are good.
Behold, I long for Your precepts, revive me in Your righteousness.
God’s people are the subjects of a twofold fear: the fear of God and the fear of sin. Verse 39 speaks to the first concern, and verse 40 to the fear of sin.
The Christian has nothing to fear but sin. Trials, poverty, persecution, sickness, and pain are not sin in themselves, and in fact may come to us for our good. But sin only works harm. It saps the foundation of spiritual life, blinds the intellect, damages the heart, destroys hope, kills usefulness, and blast the soul.
Even the world ridicules and mocks the one who is found in gross sin—if you don’t believe that ask the mayor of San Diego or a prominent mayoral candidate in New York City.
Believers also fear the reproach of sin, because it only lessens our effectiveness as representatives of our God and Savior. Pursuing a life of righteousness is always the remedy for sin. If we are pursuing a life of righteousness, we will confidently affirm: I long for Your precepts. When you long for the precepts of God--His precious Word--you will find revival of your soul in His righteousness. Let His Word fill you today, and pursue righteousness.
“The Servant of God”
Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to covetousness.
Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way.
Establish Your word to Your servant, who is devoted to fearing You.
God qualifies His servants by a special divine fitness which suggests to us that man is naturally disqualified for divine service. It is only through God working on heart that are inclined to do His will.
Those whom God qualifies will also find themselves consecrated to doing the service of the Lord. That is why the Psalmist asks the Lord to turn his own eyes away from looking at worthless things (beholding vanity). As you fill yourself with the testimonies of God and His Law, sin will lose its attractiveness.
When God equips us for service, there are things which we are expected to exhibit.
Negatively, we will not be covetousness, which is the root of all evil according to I Timothy 6:10. Covetousness can be found in Achan’s sin in the book of Joshua, in Ahab’s murder of Naboth in II Kings, and in the deceitfulness of Ananias and Sapphira.
Positively, there is a devotion to God’s fear. To fear God is to revere Him and adopt that posture which befits His service. Devotion to that fear saves us from sinning against God, and stimulates us to His service. Let us desire the equipping of the Lord to His service.