Thanking God for the Bible, part 3

Posted: July 11, 2012 in Psalms

Psalm 119:113-176, “Thanking God for the Bible, part 3”

Have you ever found yourself staring at a piece of art?  The more you look at it, the more detail you see: little intricacies here & there, little touches by the artist.  Perhaps it’s the brush strokes, perhaps it’s the way the corners are sculpted, etc., you start to see the skill of the artist & get a greater appreciation for what you’re looking at.  That seems to be the case with the author of Psalm 119 as he’s looked into the Bible.

Throughout this masterwork of a psalm, the author has extoled the value of the word of God, and has demonstrated that we know God through His word.  And of course, the author is going to reiterate these themes again.  This has been a tremendous love song to God, thanking Him for His written word, and seemingly the psalmist has examined it from every angle.  So at 112 verses, has everything been said about the Bible that can be said?  Not yet. 🙂  Remember that Ps 119 is an acrostic, with every stanza beginning with a different letter among the Hebrew alphabet, and he’s only 2/3 the way through.

The psalmist is truly grateful for the Bible.  It’s changed his life – it’s been his steadfast source of strength through trials – it’s revealed the everlasting character and nature of God to him – it’s been the source of the promises of his salvation, and in response to all of these things he is inspired to live his life in response to it.  The longer he looks at it, the more grateful he is to God because the longer he looks at it, the better he understands God.  May we also look closely in order that we would better see our wonderful God & Savior!

Psalm 119:113–176 (NKJV)

  • Samek: Safety in the Word

113 I hate the double-minded, But I love Your law.

  • Extreme contrast (hate/love), but this is exactly what our attitude is supposed to be concerning sin.  If we don’t truly hate sin, recognizing it for what it is, eventually we’ll end up trying to compromise with it and it’ll lead to disastrous consequences. 
  • Specifically, the author hates the “double-minded” – the ones who can’t make up their mind how to live & who to follow. (James 1:8)  …  Contrasted with the love he has for God’s law.  Whereas the double-minded is unstable & untrustworthy, the word of God is steadfast & faithful.

114 You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word.

  • There is protection in the word of God.  The author finds his protection in God, but how is this expressed practically speaking?  By fervent and faithful hope in God’s word & promises.
  • This is exactly the deliverance we have in Christ Jesus.  He is our hiding place – He is our shield from the everlasting consequences of our sin, and our eternal protection and fortress as we are made the beloved children of God.  How does this come about, practically speaking?  By hoping (trusting) in the word of the gospel – by believing upon Jesus Christ and the good news of His work at the cross & resurrection!

115 Depart from me, you evildoers, For I will keep the commandments of my God!

  • Determined not to be tempted away from the Lord.
  • We might eventually fall into occasional temptation, but we must begin with the determination not to fall.  To neglect this is to lose the battle before it has begun.

116 Uphold me according to Your word, that I may live; And do not let me be ashamed of my hope. 117 Hold me up, and I shall be safe, And I shall observe Your statutes continually.

  • Note the “according to” throughout the psalm.  All totaled, the phrase is used 13 times in Psalm 119.  Over & over again, the author appeals to God on the basis of what God has already revealed through His written word & promises.  He doesn’t appeal to God regarding his own assertions & preferences (what authority is there in that?), but rather to what God has already said.  God had given the standard in His written Scripture & clear revelation, and the author is safe to appeal to God on that basis.  (So can we!)
  • Contextually, the author is asking for God to uphold him/strengthen him.  Just as we might uphold someone who has fallen, he’s asking to be upheld by God.  Just thing of the confidence that comes from being held up by God!  When we need help standing, we might appreciate the effort of someone who is weak & inexperienced, but we’re truly grateful for someone who is strong & knows what they’re doing. [Difference between me helping Liv with gymnastics back bend & her coach.]  The author doesn’t mention many friends, but no doubt there are at least some people that can give him some encouragement – but that’s not what he needs the most.  He needs the strength and encouragement that comes from being held up by God Almighty.  If God does it, he knows he will truly be safe & live.
    • Do you understand that this is our promise in Christ Jesus!  He will hold us & strengthen us!  (Isa 41:10)

118 You reject all those who stray from Your statutes, For their deceit is falsehood. 119 You put away all the wicked of the earth like dross; Therefore I love Your testimonies.

  • Wickedness rejects God; God rejects the wicked.  They choose not to follow God & God confirms that choice.  Without getting into discussions of predestination & Calvinism vs. Arminianism, the Bible makes this much plain: there are some people who choose not to walk with God, and those people are likewise rejected by the Lord.
  • Our response to that truth?  Love the Lord!  Who wants to be rejected by God?  The psalmist is committed to follow the Lord, no matter what.

120 My flesh trembles for fear of You, And I am afraid of Your judgments.

  • Talking about righteous fear.  This isn’t the author being terrified of God & His word as if God is the cosmic bogey-man all bent on destroying mankind.  This is seeing God (and thus also God’s revealed word) for who He is: the Almighty Everlasting God.  Kind of like as we respect the amount of power that runs through a live electrical line, we respect God when we understand Him for who He is.  How could we have any other response than righteous fear?  This is the God who created the Universe – this is the God who is infinitely good & thus an infinite response to evil – this is the God of whom even the mighty angels tremble and sing – of course we would fear Him! 
  • Yet this is also the God who loves us personally & sent His Son to die for us.  That amazing act of grace cannot truly be appreciated until we see God in all of His holy righteousness.  Once we do that, then His grace cannot be taken for granted.  A proper fear of God will lead us to a greater love of God.

 

  • Ayin: Relationship through the Word

121 I have done justice and righteousness; Do not leave me to my oppressors. 122 Be surety for Your servant for good; Do not let the proud oppress me.

  • Appealing to God as his sovereign King & Master.  Basically praying, “Protect the one who is serving You.”  Just as any citizen could appeal to his/her king for protection, so does the author appeal to God.
  • More than protection, the author is asking for a guarantee. “Be surety for Your servant for good…”  Just as Judah was surety for Benjamin when they went back to Egypt to see their (still disguised) brother Joseph, the psalmist is asking God to intervene on his behalf to actually act as surety for his life. 
    • And that’s exactly what Jesus did when He went to the cross for us!  He took our place there & became surety for us.

123 My eyes fail from seeking Your salvation And Your righteous word.

  • How much is the author appealing to God?  So much that his eyes are starting to fail.  This is fervent seeking.  This isn’t a one-time prayer, easily forgotten about – this is an intense time of continual seeking the Lord, searching out the promises of God. … We seem to have forgotten how to pray like this.  May we be fervent in our prayers!

124 Deal with Your servant according to Your mercy, And teach me Your statutes. 125 I am Your servant; Give me understanding, That I may know Your testimonies.

  • What is the basis for God’s relationship to the author as King?  God’s “mercy” – His loyal love, based upon His covenant promises.  We need His loyal love & law…this is the only hope that the psalmist had.
  • We also need God to give us understanding of His lovingkindness & law.  We can ask God to teach us, and grant us understanding.

126 It is time for You to act, O LORD, For they have regarded Your law as void.

  • In the author’s mind, it was time for God to act in His judgment.  We may not know exactly when the “time” is, but we can be sure that God WILL act.  People may act as if God’s revealed word & commands are null & void – they may claim that God is dead and/or irrelevant – but God will most certainly answer those claims in His power and righteousness.  Simply because God has not yet judged the world doesn’t mean that He won’t or can’t do so; it simply means that God is acting in His mercy & granting people the opportunity to repent & come to faith.

127 Therefore I love Your commandments More than gold, yes, than fine gold!

  • The word of God is valuable!  It’s better than anything that could be offered to us by the world.
  • Especially if we condense the “word of God” down to the gospel, we can see that the value of the commandments of God is incalculable!  What good would it do to gain the whole world, yet still lose our soul?  It’s better than all!

128 Therefore all Your precepts concerning all things I consider to be right; I hate every false way.

  • Similar contrast as vs. 113.  He loves the right & hates the false.  If we’re going to love the truth of the word, then it’s only natural that we’re going to despise the things that lead us away from God.  After all, if we understand that the wages of sin is death, then why wouldn’t we abhor anything that can lead to that result?  Jesus died precisely to save us from that; how could we possibly engage in it any longer?

 

  • Pe: Understanding through the Word

129 Your testimonies are wonderful; Therefore my soul keeps them. 130 The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.

  • God’s word is worth obeying – they are wonderful!
  • God’s word gives light and understanding.  Want to know how to live for God?  Read the Bible! “It gives understanding to the simple.

131 I opened my mouth and panted, For I longed for Your commandments.

  • This is his longing & yearning – he has a true need for God’s commands.  It is our daily bread…  [Jesus in the wilderness, Mt 4:4]

132 Look upon me and be merciful to me, As Your custom is toward those who love Your name.

  • This is the way God acts towards His people.  His custom is that of kindness & mercy.  To those who love His name & worship Him as God, God is full of gracious lovingkindness & loyal love.  The mercies of God come to those who love the Lord Jesus Christ!

133 Direct my steps by Your word, And let no iniquity have dominion over me.

  • Notice the author could be directed in either way.  Sin could have dominion over him, or God could.  His desire is to be directed/guided/led by the word of God.  If we’re directed by the word, then we won’t be directed by sin & temptation.  Sometimes in our seasons of sin, we wonder why it is we fall into so much temptation.  Perhaps it’s because we haven’t wanted to be directed by the word of God.  It’s not like the Scriptures have changed, or that its promises aren’t true.  If we surrender ourselves to God’s direction, then we can trust that He’ll lead us away from temptation (just as Jesus taught us to pray).

134 Redeem me from the oppression of man, That I may keep Your precepts.

  • We need redemption.  The psalmist needed it from the oppression of man; we need it from the oppression of our sin.
  • Notice that his prayer of redemption has a purpose: “that I may keep Your precepts.”  He’s praying to be redeemed in order that he may be obedient.  Until we’re experience the redemption of the Lord Jesus Christ, there’s no way we can truly be obedient to God.  People can try, but there will always be a barrier of sin that gets in the way.  This is why people’s efforts to save themselves fail.  It’s impossible to save yourself, because there’s a fundamental issue of sin that you can do nothing about.  You might be able to change some of your actions, but you cannot change the status of your soul; that can only be changed by the Lord Jesus.  HE redeems us – HE gives us life – then we can live lives in honor of God and to His glory.

135 Make Your face shine upon Your servant, And teach me Your statutes. 136 Rivers of water run down from my eyes, Because men do not keep Your law.

  • He prays that God would look upon him & teach him, and understands that there are many who do not desire the same.  Many people do not keep the law of God, nor is that their desire.  They are content to live in their rebellion against God, though they do not understand the cost.  The psalmist does.  He knows what awaits those who remain in rebellion against God, and his heart is grieved as a result.

 

  • Tsadde: Steadfastness of the Word

137 Righteous are You, O LORD, And upright are Your judgments. 138 Your testimonies, which You have commanded, Are righteous and very faithful.

  • God’s testimonies reflect His Person: they are righteous.  God is good; His word is good.  God is just; His word showcases His justice.  God saves; God’s word shows us His salvation.  What we need to know about character & person of God can be found in the Bible.
  • The converse is also true.  If we’re told something about God that is NOT matched up by the Bible, then we can be sure that it’s not true of God.

139 My zeal has consumed me, Because my enemies have forgotten Your words. 140 Your word is very pure; Therefore Your servant loves it.

  • He has a passion for the word of God, like Jesus had a passion for the house of God.  He understood the purity of the promises of God & loved them, in contrast to those who so neglected God that they forgot all about His words.
  • Stop and think about the ludicrousness of it all.  Here is the Almighty God, who graciously gave life to humans, gave them His written instructions and promises, and personally interceded on their behalf by coming in the form of a Man, and paying the penalty for their sins when they least deserved it.  And yet men and women STILL willingly turn away from God in rebellion, have no appreciation at all for what He has done in Christ, and walk away in their attempt to forget about Him.  All heaven and earth has been moved in order that they might be eternally saved!  And yet, they turn their back without giving it a second thought.  It’s no wonder Jesus prayed from the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”  They didn’t know what they were doing when they sent Jesus to the cross, nor do they know what they do when they turn their back on the God of the Universe.  How important it is to understand what we have been given in the promises & word of God!  How important to understand the preciousness and purity of what it is that has been offered us!  Surely the only response to it is to love what we have been given in His word.

141 I am small and despised, Yet I do not forget Your precepts.

  • Whatever the circumstances, value the word.  The author felt small, despised (and most likely forgotten), but he continued to hold fast to the precepts of God.  Whatever the rest of the world thought about him didn’t matter; what mattered is what God thought about him (and that was only learned through the Bible).  Who are you in the eyes of God?  That’s what’s important.  To the rest of the world, you might be insignificant, but if you are in Jesus Christ, to God you are a beloved child.

142 Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, And Your law is truth.

  • What is the extent of God’s righteousness?  Everlasting – infinite.  We cannot come to the end of the righteousness of God.  It’s interesting that skeptics and atheists so often question God’s righteousness (as if they are somehow qualified to judge).  They see evil and suffering in the world, and wonder how a good God could allow such things to take place.  Yet it’s because of God’s righteousness that we are able to recognize right from wrong in the first place.  We bear the mark of our Creator, and because He is righteous, we have the ability to recognize righteousness.  And what does the Bible affirm about God’s holy righteousness?  It has no end.  He is infinitely good and holy and just.  It is because of His everlasting righteousness that He sent Jesus to die upon the cross.  Only an infinitely valuable sacrifice could satisfy the infinite righteousness of God.  Our sin is THAT vile, but our God is THAT good.
  • Not only is God ever righteous, His word/law is ever true.  Jesus affirmed this in His high priestly prayer. John 17:17, "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth." []  We’re changed by the word of God because it is His truth.
    • We don’t need to look what’s true for you, or what’s true for me…we need to look for truth.  Truth is truth, irrespective of who believes it & even if no one does.  God’s word IS the truth.

143 Trouble and anguish have overtaken me, Yet Your commandments are my delights. 144 The righteousness of Your testimonies is everlasting; Give me understanding, and I shall live.

  • Notice the parallels here.  Vs. 143 is a recapitulation of vs. 141, and vs. 144 reaffirms vs. 142.  We’re to delight in God’s word and commandments over us, no matter what our circumstances.  Trouble may overtake us, but God’s word is ever greater.  We also remember that the righteousness of God is everlasting, and His testimonies are the same way.  The righteousness of God’s word equals that of God Himself – underscoring the fact that the Bible is the very inspired expression of Almighty God.

 

  • Qoph: Help in the Word of Truth

145 I cry out with my whole heart; Hear me, O LORD! I will keep Your statutes. 146 I cry out to You; Save me, and I will keep Your testimonies.

  • This may seem unusual for some to read.  After all, the psalmist has repeatedly stated his trust in God, and his dependence upon Him and His promises.  How is it that he cries out so fervently in prayer here?  Did God not hear him?  Of course God hears His people; in fact, it’s because of the psalmist’s trust in God that he CAN cry out the way he does.  Those who trust the Lord implicitly can still cry out to God passionately.

147 I rise before the dawning of the morning, And cry for help; I hope in Your word. 148 My eyes are awake through the night watches, That I may meditate on Your word.

  • Appealing to God all day and night – this is constant prayer.
  • Where is his hope found as he prays?  The word of God.  Sometimes people wonder how it is that they will ever receive an answer to their prayer.  Yet God has given us a Book filled with answers!  We most certainly pray continually and fervently, and as we do so, we seek out the word that God has already given us.  Trust the Holy Spirit to teach you and guide you, taking you to the answers you need in the Bible.

149 Hear my voice according to Your lovingkindness; O LORD, revive me according to Your justice.

  • As he prays in urgent continual appeal, he does so on the basis of God’s loyal covenant promises and justice.  “According to…”  Again, we come to God based upon the covenant relationship He has already established with us through Jesus Christ.  It’s not according to our worth that God hears us; it’s according to God’s lovingkindness.  There’s no reason we have to ask for justice in a situation beyond the justice that God has already promised in His word.

150 They draw near who follow after wickedness; They are far from Your law. 151 You are near, O LORD, And all Your commandments are truth.

  • Following sin leads us away from God.  God is near to those who value His commands and recognizes them as truth.

152 Concerning Your testimonies, I have known of old that You have founded them forever.

  • God gave/founded His word.  The Bible is HIS word; not man’s.

 

  • Resh: Justice in the Word

153 Consider my affliction and deliver me, For I do not forget Your law. 154 Plead my cause and redeem me; Revive me according to Your word.

  • Notice the actions of God here…what it is the author is pleading with God to do: Consider… Deliver… Plead… Redeem… Revive…

155 Salvation is far from the wicked, For they do not seek Your statutes.

  • Why is salvation “far from the wicked?”  Because someone cannot be saved by God if he/she is insistent on running away from God.  The wicked doesn’t see God’s “statutes,” thus they are not seeking God at all.  To be sure, there is none that does good & no one seeks God in & of themselves (Rom 3).  But when we’re awakened to our need of salvation & begin to seek God in faith, God will not withhold Himself from us.  Jesus told us that to him who knocks, the door will be opened & he who seeks, finds.  The author of Hebrews says much the same thing: Hebrews 11:6, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." []  The person who truly seeks God in faith, believing upon Jesus Christ WILL experience God’s revelation of Himself…but that can’t happen when someone has turned away from God’s word.  If he/she is not seeking God’s statutes, they can be assured of having salvation remaining far away.

156 Great are Your tender mercies, O LORD; Revive me according to Your judgments.

  • Notice how God’s mercies & judgments are tied together.  Typically, we would think these are opposite concepts – not so!  “Judgments” here could be thought of as decrees.  What a judge decrees from the bench is the order that is to be followed.  The psalmist is acknowledging the greatness of God’s tender kindness & mercies & knows that if God so decrees for him to be revived, he will be revived.
  • This is the basic idea behind justification.  Because of Jesus’ work at the cross & rising from the grave, when we believe upon Jesus as our Lord & Savior, we are justified – made right in the sight of God.  How is that done?  By fiat – declaration.  God declares us to be righteous, and thus we are.  Obviously we have not gone through a physical change when we put our faith in Christ.  It’s not as if anyone could look at a person one moment, and know the exact instant that they were saved. (“That was it!  The angel came down upon them & instantly transformed their body!”)  It’s not an external change that takes place; it’s an internal change (which will have external ramifications through our actions).  The only way that happens is by the will, declaration, and decree of God.  God has declared us to be a new creation & that’s exactly what we are.  God decrees that we are to be reborn of the Holy Spirit, and thus we are.  Praise God that we are revived according to the judgments of God!

157 Many are my persecutors and my enemies, Yet I do not turn from Your testimonies. 158 I see the treacherous, and am disgusted, Because they do not keep Your word.

  • There’s a clear distinction between the wicked & the righteous.  The wicked turns away from the word; the righteous does not turn from God’s testimonies.  The righteous person holds fast to what God has revealed.
  • Certainly this will play out in our lives as we strive to walk in a way that is honoring God, but be careful not to turn this into a message of legalism.  The psalmist just affirmed that the only way he could be revived was by the decree of God & according to His tender mercies.  The psalmist certainly does not put any legalistic trust in his own ability to try to keep the law & earn his salvation.  Absolutely not!  Instead, he’s affirming the need to keep holding fast to God’s word – to persevere by continually hanging on to what God has said.
    • Even beyond that, we can see how this applies to the basic word of God as revealed in the gospel.  We don’t abandon the gospel of Jesus Christ; it’s central to every bit of our relationship with God.  Yet the wicked (the enemies of God) don’t keep that word.  They don’t believe the good news of the gospel, and they turn aside.  The clear distinction between the wicked & righteous is found in which one holds fast to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

159 Consider how I love Your precepts; Revive me, O LORD, according to Your lovingkindness.

  • Vs. 159 forms the other end of prayer that began in vs. 156.  Like a sandwich, he began with appealing to God to revive him according to His mercy & decree – he showed that he was one who held to the word of God – and then he reiterates that he needs God to revive him.
  • Before, the psalmist was revived according to the judgment/decree of God.  Here, he’s revived according to the faithful lovingkindness of God.  This is God’s “chesed,” His loyal love shown to His people because of His covenant.  The first showcases God’s judicial act; the 2nd showcases God’s faithful love and mercy.  Both are absolutely essential in our salvation through Christ.

160 The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.

  • Which part of the Bible is truth?  All of it!  Which part of God’s word endures forever?  All of it!  This is the value of the entire word of God.  From Genesis to Revelation, all of it was given to us by God to reveal His Son, His glory, and His plan of salvation to us.  2 Timothy 3:16–17, "(16) All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, (17) that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." []
  • Sin: Peace through the Word

161 Princes persecute me without a cause, But my heart stands in awe of Your word.

  • The author has hinted at the injustice he’s faced at various times.  How do we react to injustice?  By keeping our eyes upon God.  Obviously the author did not ignore the various wrongs he faced – he was not being naïve, and knew that he was persecuted without reason.  At the same time, he wasn’t going to allow those injustices to sway him from his faith in God.  He wasn’t going to impugn the character of God simply because he personally suffered.  So many people cry out, “God, why did You allow this to happen to me?!  How could You do such a thing?!  This is wrong & injust!”  Simply because people are being evil towards us does not mean that God is evil; it just underscores the fact that God is our only hope.  This world IS unjust, which ought to make us ever grateful for the perfect just word of God.
  • When our eyes are upon our Savior, the slings & arrows of the world have a far less effect upon our lives.  Don’t allow yourself to be pulled aside from the one Person that will never leave you nor forsake you.

162 I rejoice at Your word As one who finds great treasure. 163 I hate and abhor lying, But I love Your law.

  • How can he rejoice in the middle of his persecution?  Because he’s got “great treasure!”  He still has the word – he still has the revealed promises of God.  Whatever it is he faced, that could never be taken away from him.
    • Even Christians who are kept prisoner away from the pages of a physical Bible still can’t have the promises of God taken from them.  When the Scripture is hidden deep in our hearts, those promises will remain, no matter what it is we experience!
  • Why does he hate lying?  Because he loves the truth & God’s word is truth.  (Again, we see the contrast.)

164 Seven times a day I praise You, Because of Your righteous judgments. 165 Great peace have those who love Your law, And nothing causes them to stumble.

  • Continual praise of God…again, in the midst of persecution.  Why?  Because God’s judgments remain righteous.  Nothing the world throws at him is going to cause him to stumble in his faith because he has great confidence and love for the word of God, and as a result he will experience great peace.

166 LORD, I hope for Your salvation, And I do Your commandments. 167 My soul keeps Your testimonies, And I love them exceedingly. 168 I keep Your precepts and Your testimonies, For all my ways are before You.

  • Trust/faith is demonstrated through obedience. What’s the proof that the author hopes in God’s salvation/deliverance?  Because he does God’s commandments.  Again, this is not legalism; this is simply the evidence of a changed life.  His life is so changed that it doesn’t matter what persecution and suffering he faces, he’s going to continue to trust in the word of God.  He’s going to continue to obey the commandments, and walk in the precepts of God.  This is where the rubber meets the road, and his relationship with God is borne out through his actions towards God.

 

  • Tau: Final Prayer – Understanding.

169 Let my cry come before You, O LORD; Give me understanding according to Your word. 170 Let my supplication come before You; Deliver me according to Your word.

  • Prayer request #1: Wisdom/understanding…  Prayer request #2: Deliverance/salvation…
  • How will either of these things come? “According to Your word.”  These are God’s promises!  God promises to give wisdom to those who ask in faith, and salvation to those who believe upon Jesus Christ.  How do we know we will receive these things?  Because it’s according to the word of God, and God NEVER goes against His word.

171 My lips shall utter praise, For You teach me Your statutes.

  • In response to his prayer, to the deliverance & understanding given the psalmist will utter praise.
  • Do you thank God for the fact that He’s not only saved you through Christ, but that He continually teaches you through the Holy Spirit?

172 My tongue shall speak of Your word, For all Your commandments are righteousness.

  • Not only has he learned the word, he’s going to pass it on to others.  He’s going to speak of what God has proclaimed, and the message of God to the world.  This is the essence of the Great Commission…  Speak of God’s good news of the gospel to others!  It’s the righteousness of God, and the only way that they can be saved.

173 Let Your hand become my help, For I have chosen Your precepts. 174 I long for Your salvation, O LORD, And Your law is my delight.

  • He longs for the salvation & word of God, and he has chosen the precepts of God over everything else.  We choose to obey.  Sometimes we think that obedience just comes about like happenstance – sometimes we obey, sometimes not.  It all depends on the circumstances that day, etc.  It doesn’t have to be that way!  If you are in Christ, you always have the choice whether or not you will walk in obedience to the Lord.  (And that’s where the problem is.  Sometimes we just don’t WANT to obey.  But we can’t blame it on a lack of choice; we always have a choice.)
  • Specifically when it comes to the promise of salvation through Christ, we also have a choice here.  We can choose to respond to Jesus, or we can choose to turn away.  Choose Christ!  Choose the path that leads to life, and receive Jesus as your Lord & Savior.

175 Let my soul live, and it shall praise You; And let Your judgments help me. 176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; Seek Your servant, For I do not forget Your commandments.

  • Did you notice why he needed deliverance?  Because of his own sin.  Reading through the psalm, it may have been easy to get the idea that the author claimed never to have sinned & to always have walked perfectly with God.  But that wasn’t the case, and the psalmist knew it.  He was just as much in need from deliverance from his own sin, as any of us are.  Yet his resolve upon his deliverance was to turn around and live for the Lord.  God would save (according to His everlasting righteous promises), and the psalmist would live & praise God.  He wouldn’t forget God’s commandments, and his resolve was to walk in obedience to the Lord.
  • Question: is this just an OT concept?  Not in the slightest!  This could be taken straight from the pages of the NT.  Romans 12:1–2, "(1) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. (2) And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." []  Paul’s whole argument is that since God has acted in such a marvelous & gracious way by providing salvation through Jesus Christ to all who respond to Him in belief/faith, what’s the only response?  To live for God – to be transformed from the inside-out by the word of God.  It almost sounds like a few verses lifted from Psalm 119. J

Conclusion:
How grateful we are for the word of God!  Be it the entire Scripture (from “in” to “amen”), or the simple gospel message itself, we are truly grateful for the word that God has given us.  Through it, He has revealed His righteousness & eternality – He has made demonstrated His grace and love – He proclaims His salvation & His Son.  This truly is something to be valued more than gold, yes more than fine gold! J  It’s the most valuable material gift ever given to mankind because it shows us the Living God.

So how do you respond to this?  Many people hear the message & they turn away.  They miss out on the love of God that is available to them, and thus remain in sin against God.  Others hear the gospel & respond to Christ’s offer of salvation, but they’re not quite sure what to do after that.  They know they have trusted Christ, but they’re not sure what that entails.  That’s where the rest of the Book comes in!  God tells us how to live for Him, and now we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds & give our lives back to Him as a sacrifice.  THAT’s what the psalmist has written of for 176 verses: love God & obey Him by keeping His word.  May we heed the call!

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