January 29, 2010

Scriptural Delight 05

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Gimel

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G’day and welcome to Partake! Welcome back to Scriptural Delights, our series going through the wonder that is Psalm 119! Here is our fifth podcast. Today we look at the third of its twenty-two letters – Gimel, verses 17 to 24.

17 Do good to your servant, and I will live;

I will obey your word.

18 Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.

19 I am a stranger on earth;

do not hide your commands from me.

20 My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times.

21 You rebuke the arrogant,

who are cursed and who stray from your commands.

22 Remove from me scorn and contempt,

for I keep your statutes.

23 Though rulers sit together and slander me,

your servant will meditate on your decrees.

24 Your statutes are my delight;

they are my counselors.

The Psalmist plea in verse 17 is not an uncommon one in the Old Testament. The Psalmist is turning his eyes away from his own situation, and onto God and what God wants for him – total obedience! Now it could be that the Psalmist’s life was in danger of physical death from one of his enemies. It is equally true that the Psalmist is also speaking of his spiritual life, which is only in fellowship with God. Salvation, is not through keep the rules of the Law but rather the Law was there to show the futility of man’s efforts to save himself. Salvation could only come from God alone, which it would do through the Messiah who was to come. It was due to God’s mercy that the Psalmist had fellowship with him, which the Psalmist wants to offer himself in total obedience to God.

Verse 18 shows this, because when the Psalmist sees the beauty of the Law, he sees God doing wondrous things! Its as if scales or cataracts fall from his eyes so that he can see clearly. Once he was blind, but now he can see! It’s a WOW factor! The Psalmist earnestly seeks to serve God, because it is due to God alone that he has spiritual life, indeed any life at all!

The Psalmist continues to build up metaphors about his relationship with God through His commands, laws, statutes and decrees! Truly the Psalmist sees obedience to God as paramount as a worthy response to God’s grace and mercy towards him. For if obedience is worship, the Psalmist is keen to make his life a life of total worship to God! The Psalmist recognizes that life on earth is only temporary, that’s why he calls himself a stranger on earth (v19)! There is a better place for him and only God can provide the way there, through His grace and mercy. It’s a relief from the worries and strains the Psalmist is enduring.

Despite all that’s going on around him, such as in v23 where other rulers plot against him, he puts his hope in God alone. In keeping God’s laws and obeying Him, the Psalmist is careful against become proud that he is in fellowship with God. It is in humility that the Psalmist maintains his fellowship with God. This is seen in asking forgiveness for times of disobedience, where he was full of scorn and contempt.

With the possibility of other things to distract him, the Psalmist occupies himself with the reading of the Law and being in communion with God alone. By seeking the counsel of God through Scripture, the Psalmist’s worries disappear because his eyes turn towards God instead of on the problems. God is the solution to problems, following God, obeying God and walking with God are the Psalmist priorities. The promises of God are a sweet healing ointment to a troubled soul and a fragrantly pleasing aroma to the senses. The Psalmist knows that reading Scripture and obeying God through it, provides a stable relationship between himself and God.

When Jesus says in Matthew 6v25-34, “Do not worry…” he stipulates that we are to seek God’s righteousness and be dependent upon God to supply all needs. Let tomorrow worry about itself, Jesus said, and seek God at all opportunity. Remember who you are, he says! You are of infinite worth to God, much more than plants and animals! Allow God to permeate every aspect of your life and let God be seen in every aspect of your life!

Part of seeking God’s righteousness, is in reading the Bible and seeing how He guides and speaks into our individual situations. For the Psalmist, God’s words were his counsel.

What worries and concerns are you going through today? Ask God to help you and ask others to ask God on your behalf. By asking, you show humility and dependence upon God. As humans, we are born dependent on God and others and as we grow through life, we are also dependent upon God for all things and dependent upon other people as well. By showing our need to be helped by other people and dependence upon them, we show our need and dependence upon God.

Jesus Christ was the greatest example of that. As a baby he was dependent on milk from his mother and to have his bottom wiped, yet maintained his divine dignity. In dying, he was dependent on others to offer him a drink as he hung on a cross (Matthew 27v48). In his death he was dependent upon God the Father to raise him to life again, just as He had promised to do. Three days later, Jesus rose from the tomb of death to new life.

God is totally reliable and will help you when you ask. Maybe not in the way you expect, but due to His mercy and grace, He who is the wisest of all, will help you in the best way possible. God has promised and He always keeps his promises.

Thank you.

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January 28, 2010

POD - Psalm 119v17-24

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Psalm 119v17-24 (g Gimel)

(as read by Jessica)

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17 Do good to your servant, and I will live;

I will obey your word.

18 Open my eyes that I may see

wonderful things in your law.

19 I am a stranger on earth;

do not hide your commands from me.

20 My soul is consumed with longing

for your laws at all times.

21 You rebuke the arrogant, who are cursed

and who stray from your commands.

22 Remove from me scorn and contempt,

for I keep your statutes.

23 Though rulers sit together and slander me,

your servant will meditate on your decrees.

24 Your statutes are my delight;

they are my counselors.

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January 26, 2010

Scriptural Delight 04

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Beth - Psalm 119v9-16

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9 How can a young man keep his way pure?

By living according to your word.

10 I seek you with all my heart;

do not let me stray from your commands.

11 I have hidden your word in my heart

that I might not sin against you.

12 Praise be to you, O LORD;

teach me your decrees.

13 With my lips I recount

all the laws that come from your mouth.

14 I rejoice in following your statutes

as one rejoices in great riches.

15 I meditate on your precepts

and consider your ways.

16 I delight in your decrees;

I will not neglect your word.

Welcome back to Scriptural Delights, our series going through the wonder that is Psalm 119! Here is our fourth podcast.  Today we look briefly at the second of its twenty-two letters - Beth

From verse 9, it would seem that the young man is the writer himself.  He is seeking wholeheartedly a way to keep himself pure and upright before God. He is pleading most earnestly not to stray from obeying God and God's commands!  The commands are so embedded with him that they form his very being, such is this young man's desire not to sin against the Lord.

He then goes on to complete this section, celebrating with great joy the virtues of Gods Word, commands and laws!  He is full of praise because God teaches him!  He rejoices at the depth of following God and being obedient to Him!  He meditates, reflects, contemplates God's ways and promises not neglect God and God's promises.  Where in verse 11, he says "word" that is better translated as "promise", number 8 in our list of meanings in the second of this series.  He will keep God's promises within himself as a reminder of God's goodness and holiness.

It is a reminder to us all that when we are struggling with some aspect of faith, to remember God's promise to us.  When the evil one comes knocking and says that God has abandoned you, remember that God has not abandoned you, will not abandon you and has a grip on you!

The Psalmist describes the benefits of reading and meditating upon the Bible. God's words become a delight as he follows God's decrees. A sense of wonder is instilled as God's word is meditated upon. Strength overcomes tiredness as he listens to God speaking through the Bible. These are also true for the Christian disciple!

The promises of God are valid and they are trustworthy!  God is both capable of both trusting and being capable of being trusted. The young man writing this would be familiar with the Covenant God had made with Moses.  He would have known that the commandments were given so they would know how to relate socially to God.  He would know that the judgments were given in order that people could relate socially to each other.  Finally, he would remember that the decrees dictated their religious life so that God could be approached by humanity on His terms.  And for all that, the Psalmist knew that salvation was from God's grace and not through blind obedience to a list of rules.

In Jesus Christ, you have His promises written on your heart if you are a follower of Him.  As a follower of Jesus Christ, you have God the Holy Spirit within you! When you are struggling, ask Him for help!  Read your Bible faithfully and consistently, all of it - not just the favourite parts!  God the Holy Spirit will remind you of things contained within it, just when you need it or need to give it to another person!  Remember key Bible verses and use them to be obedient to Him and to lovingly direct others to be obedient to Him! We are to feed our minds with that which is pure, and then it will be easier to control your thought life.. There is an old saying, that if you put garbage in, you will get garbage out. Thoughts come from the outside, its what you do with the thought that matters! Sinful desires often start out as thoughts and are easily inflamed, played upon or enlarged quickly.

Do you have an area of your life where you are particularly vulnerable to disobey God? Then learn what God has to say in the Bible about that area of life, and memorise some verses about it! Jesus Christ, the only person ever to live a fully obedient life to God, used the Scriptures constantly! We can do likewise, because if we are followers of Jesus Christ, we have God the Holy Spirit inside us to help us recall what we have read and endeavoured to memorise!

Thank you

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