What are your values? What principles, moral standards or code of behavior do you value? What personal value system guides your decisions and influences your words, actions, and lifestyle?
In Psalm 119, the psalmist made it very clear that his values were based on the Word of God. In this 6th stanza of Psalm 119, verses 41-48, he revealed why he values God’s Word.
41 Your mercies never fail; let them light on me O Lord,
And Your salvation according to Your word.
42 So shall I have an answer for the one who reproaches me,
For I trust in Your word.
43 And do not rob me of the power to speak the truth,
For my hope is in Your ordinances.
44 So shall I keep Your law continually,
Forever and ever.
45 And I will walk in freedom wherever I go,
For I have studied Your precepts.
46 I will speak of Your testimonies before kings,
And will not be ashamed.
47 And I will delight in Your commandments,
Which I love with all my heart.
48 I will welcome Your commandments,
And I will meditate on Your statutes.
In verse 41, the psalmist asked God for His never failing mercy and salvation which are promised in His Word. He knew that if he stood tall on God's Word, as a saved man and upheld by His mercy, he would have an answer for anyone who reproached him. He did not need to fear disapproval or criticism from mere men, for he trusted in God’s Word and claimed the promises he found there. Confidently, he asked God for the power to speak the truth without shame, even before kings (119:43, 46).
Do you see in these verses how important, how valuable, God’s Word was to the writer of Psalm 119? He put his trust in God’s Word (119:42) and his hope was in God’s ordinances (119:43). He studied God’s precepts (119:45), he spoke of His testimonies and was not ashamed (119:46), he welcomed God’s commandments and delighted in them (119:47-48). He spent time meditating on His statutes (119:48). Remember that these terms the psalmist used -- ordinances, law, precepts, testimonies, commandments, and statutes -- are all different Hebrew words that refer to God’s Word (see 10.9.16 blog). Every part of God’s Word was valuable to the psalmist because that is where he found his answers, his hope, his courage, and his delight.
God’s Word was so valuable to the psalmist that he promised to keep it continually, forever and ever (119:44). How valuable is God’s Word to you? Are you determined to keep it? To what extent are you determined to keep it? Do you keep it only conditionally, when it is easy, convenient, and acceptable to your peers? Or are you like the psalmist, determined to keep God’s Word continually, forever and ever? When you follow the example of the psalmist, you will walk in freedom wherever you go (119:45), you will take delight in God’s Word, and you will grow to love it with all your heart (119:47). Is God’s Word valuable to you? If it is, I hope you will want to embrace it, build your life on it, and share it - unafraid and uninhibited - with whoever crosses your path.
This year I have felt a new freedom and joy in wishing everyone I meet a Merry Christmas, as though a restraint of political correctness has been lifted. And as those words, Merry Christmas, pass my lips, my heart has felt a renewed desire to share the meaning of Christmas and the value of the gift that was given -- our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Merry Christmas!! May the words and the valuable meaning behind them be your inspiration for 2017,
The 5th stanza of Psalm 199 continues a prayer which the psalmist began in stanza 4 and continues uninterrupted through verse 49. As you read this stanza of the psalm, notice what the psalmist prays for. He longs to have a heart for God.
33. Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes;
and I shall keep it to the end.
34. Give me understanding, and I will keep your law;
I shall observe it with my whole heart.
35. Make me to go in the path of your commandments;
for I delight in it.
36. Incline my heart unto your testimonies,
and not to covetousness.
37. Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things;
and give me life according to your way.
38. Establish your word to your servant,
as it produces reverence for Thee.
39. Turn away my reproach which I fear:
for your judgments are good.
40. Behold, I have longed after your precepts:
Revive me through your righteousness.
The psalmist knew that a humble heart before God requires prayer. To keep his heart right before God, he had to be teachable (119:33), humble (119:34), go forward in God's power (119:35), incline his heart to the word (119:36), focus his eyes in God's direction (119:37), be grounded in his faith (119:38-39), and rely on God's grace. These are the things he prayed for, and this gives us an example of how to pray for ourselves and those we love as we live our day to day lives. This is also a guide in how to pray for the leaders of our country at this crucial time in our history.
Let's take a look at these prayer concerns one at a time:
First, to be teachable means not only to be open to learn from God's Word, but to actively apply what we've been taught. It means to be practical and not just ideological. God does not teach us so we can proudly share our learning with others and espouse grand ideas. God teaches us for the purpose of reaching out to others in practical ways to help make life better, not just for ourselves, but for others, and especially for those in need.
Secondly, the psalmist saw the need for humility. It should humble us that the Creator of the universe reaches down, not only to teach us through His Word, but to give us understanding through the power of His Holy Spirit. Does that inspire you to humble yourself and obey?
Thirdly, as we open our hearts and minds to learn, we need to pray for the will and the power to do His work in the sphere where He has placed us. It is God who gives us to power to "go" -- to act in His will and in His Name.
Fourthly, as we go forward, we need to go with hearts yielded to God. And we need to go with "all our heart". It is God who keeps our hearts from straying into the world and the worlds' ways. He is the one who protects our hearts from being carried away by worldly philosophies and lusts. It is God who draws our hearts to Himself and reveals the "excellence of obedience" (Charles Spurgeon). Is your heart safe in the loving hands of God or straying into the clutches of the world?
The mention of covetousness in verse 36 leads the psalmist to pray next (fifth request) for his eyes, asking God to keep them focused in the right direction -- upon Him and His ways, turned away from temptation. Remember that sin entered the world through the "lust of the eye". That is a warning that we need to be aware of the dangers of the world as they press in upon us. Our eyes need to be open and not shut, but our focus is important. Our focus is to be upon God, His Word, and His ways.
It is clear the psalmist realizes his total dependence upon God, as his sixth request is for his faith to be established. Faith is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9), and it is established as we become firmly grounded in God's truth and live lives that honor Him. In this way we remain steadfast and persevere in the face of temptation. As God's children, we have no need to fear the judgments of men, but we have deep reverence for God's judgments which are good.
Finally, the prayer closes with a desire for God's grace to go forward with hope and resolve to live a life of righteousness. And shouldn't we all have that longing as we read, study, and meditate on God's Word?
This is a prayer of hope -- hope in God and in the power of His life changing Word. Do you cling to the psalmist's hope? Is his hope yours too? The beloved Scottish pastor and poet, George MacDonald, wrote: "Hope in the God who first breathed into your nostrils the breath of life; that He would at length so fill you with His breath, His mind, His Spirit, that you should think only His thoughts, and live His life, finding therein your own life, only glorified infinitely."
With love and hope,
I have been involved in Disciplers since 1987, as a discussion leader, teacher, writer, and now as director. I am profoundly committed to the stewardship of this ministry which God has entrusted to me for a time. God’s word is the chief joy of my life. I cherish my personal time in the word, and I am filled with gratitude to be able to share His word with you, my fellow disciples in Christ.