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    • By 1Timothy115 in Devotionals
         11
      Psalms 119:1-8                                         Sep. 5 - Oct. 2, 2019
      1 ALEPH. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.
      2 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.
      3 They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.
      4 Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.
      5 O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!
      6 Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.
      7 I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.
      8 I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.
      The following verse stood out to me...
      5 O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!
      At first glance it seemed to me this person’s soul is poured out with intense desire to have God’s direction in keeping His Word.
      I made a small wood fire in our backyard for my granddaughter, Julia, since she would be staying overnight with us. My wife and Julia stayed outside at the fire for about half an hour. Then, I found myself alone to watch the fire die out on a particularly lovely evening. So I took my verse from above and began to repeat it for memorization. As I repeated the verse, I tried to contemplate the words and apply them to what I was seeing around me. 
      The moon and stars were out now peering through the scattered clouds above.
      [Genesis 1:16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. Genesis 1:17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, Genesis 1:18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.]
      Thought 1         
      The moon has stayed his course since the day God created him, also the stars, obeying the statutes directed by God from the first day they were created. Can you imagine God’s direction to the Moon and stars, “moon you will have a path through the sky above the earth, stars you will occupy the firmament above the moon and be clearly visible in the cloudless night sky.”
      Then, the trees, grass, even the air we breathe obey the statues God gave them from the beginning. None of these creations have souls, none have hearts, none have intelligence, but they all observe God’s statutes, His instructions for their limited time on earth.
      Thought 2
      What if we were like the moon, stars, trees, grass, or the other creations which have no soul? We would be directed to keep God’s statutes without choosing to keep them. This is not the image of God, there would be no dominion over other creatures, or over the earth. We would not be capable of experiencing the joy and peace of learning the love of God
      Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
      Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
      Thought 3 (October 2, 2019)
      Is the psalmist pleading God to force God’s statutes to become the man’s ways? No, he is speaking of his own failure in keeping God’s statutes and his desire to keep them, very much like Paul in Romans 7:14-25.
      God doesn’t work through force to turn men from their ways that they would desire His statutes or desire God Himself. Men must reject (repent) put aside his own ways and voluntarily seek God and His statutes.

Psalm 119 NUN

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I was working on my Bible study lesson, and saw a lot in it today. I first go through the passage, this week it is Psalm 119:105-112 with the heading NUN, and define words, then I read the corresponding chapter from Spurgeon's The Golden Alphabet. After that I work through the workbook lesson. All three usually bring things to mind that I can interconnect.

 

In relation to verse 105, which states, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." Spurgeon explains, "Having no fixed lamps in eastern towns, in old time each passenger carried a lantern with him, that he might not fall into the open sewer, or stumble over the heaps of ordure which defiled the road." I found it interesting, and more relatable, knowing that individuals had to possess their own light sources in order to get around. This is exactly where we are at. Each person on earth needs their own light source to survive and make their way in the world. Some choose inferior sources (nature, humanist philosophy, etc.) which leaves them stumbling and lost. The Christian has the Word of God. But how well it lights our way and keeps us from stumbling is directly related to how much of it we hide in our heart and turn to for guidance. Just having it is enough to light the way to keep from stumbling, the more we know, though, the brighter the path gets and the more detail we can see.  This also reminded me of the parable of the Ten Virgins and their lamps in Matthew 25. Five had tended their lamps and kept them ready, five had not. The wise virgins had light to draw upon when they needed it, and the other five were left in the dark. Staying in the Word keeps the oil level in our heart where it needs to be, so it can be used at a moment's notice.

 

In verse 106 David says, "I have sworn...." The Hebrew word for sworn is 'shaba' and means seven. When making a legally binding oath, the person swore, or stated, his declaration seven times to indicate his sincerity and obligation to abide by what he was stating. So this is a serious promise, basically a covenant, that he is entering into with the Lord, that he will keep God's righteous judgments. 

 

Verse 107 says, "I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O Lord, according to thy word." The Hebrew word is 'chayah' and means to live or revive. For the unsaved it would mean to be made alive, and for the Christian is means to be stirred up or brought back to life. I immediately thought of Psalm 51:12, "Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit." Spurgeon made an interesting comment, "Frequently the affliction is made the means of the quickening, even as the stirring of a fire promotes the heat of the flame."

 

My husband has been doing an informal study on worship. People talk about worship, but from what we have seen what they call a 'worship service' is actually just a 'feel-good' service' because the focus is on them and not God. Hubby asked a group of preachers what worship was. One gave a definition he liked, I don't remember it exactly, but basically it was when someone is suddenly so moved by the truth and reality of God and his presence that you are moved to praise.  In verse 108 is says, "Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings or my mouth...." The Hebrew word for 'freewill offerings' is 'nedabah' and means 'spontaneity.'  Spurgeon says, "He pleads that the homage of his mouth was cheerfully and spontaneously rendered: all is utterances were freewill offerings." This all is sounding a lot like what the one preacher told hubby. So is a freewill offering worship? He will be looking into that.  Spurgeon goes on to say, "There can be no value in extorted confessions, God's revenues are not derived from forced taxation, but from freewill donations."  It struck me that 'forced taxation' would equate with the sacrifices under the Law, and that 'freewill offerings' would equate to the cheerful giving of those who are now under Grace. I particularly liked this quote from Spurgeon, "there is no work of free grace where there is no fruit of freewill."

 

Verse 110 says, "The wicked have laid a snare for me: yet I erred not from thy precepts."

 

The enemy is cunning, crafty and deceitful.  There is always an element of truth in what he presents us, and that is what captures our attention, but then he subtily and cunningly twists it slowly but surely until it is no where close to the truth and we have been drawn away. My husband was a trapper as a teenager. In order to be successful at trapping he had to understand the animals he was trying to catch. He had to know what their food sources were, where those food sources could be found, what the animal did when it was hunting and stalking it's food, the movement habits of the animal when it was moving from area to area looking for food. He had to basically get inside the mind of the animal, know how it would react to new things in it's environment, etc. Spurgeon says, "Hunters set their traps in the animals' usual runs, and our worst snares are laid in our own ways." A person who abhors drunkenness will not be led to a bar or a party in an attempt to ensnare him. No, the enemy will take something that you like, something you are already inclined to, and will put it right in the paths you are always on. For the Christian, this will involve, most frequently, family or even church. Not every good thing is the right thing. This is why we need to weigh carefully what is presented to us and above all seek God's leading in all matters. 

 

Spurgeon also said, "From this verse let us learn to be on our guard, for we, too, have enemies both crafty and wicked." It reminded me of the verse in 1 Peter 5:8, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." My husband was at a field training exercise one year, and they were working on convoying and recognizing improvised explosive devices, or booby traps. The commander had set up some booby traps along the route they had to take. Hubby was the only one to spot every one, including the one the commander was very proud of and sure no one would see. But hubby was on alert and he knew what subtle clues to look for. Because of this trapping experience he was familiar with what forest terrain would like like, what was natural and what was man made. Because he had spend years placing and camouflaging traps for animals he knew how to apply this to the situation he was now in -- the hunted. He even spotted a potential ambush point, and alerted the others in the vehicle and urged them to treat it as such, but was chastised and ignored because they were not told that an ambush would be part of the exercise. They continued along the route and ran right into an ambush. We are being hunted by someone who wants to take us down. Being familiar with God's word and living according to his precepts will help us be alert and identify the traps that have been laid for us in our path.

 

A couple weeks ago I posted what I had learned about "for ever." The word comes up again in verse 111. This word will "for ever" stand out to me, lol.

 

In the second half of verse 111 it speaks of the rejoicing of the heart. Spurgeon says, "It is not the head knowledge but the heart experience which brings joy." There are a good many Christians that know a lot about the Bible, they may have a lot of the Bible committed to memory, but it hasn't touched their hearts, they haven't truly experienced the truth of God's Word, and they live joyless lives.

 

"That which rejoices the heart is sure to be chosen and treasured." -- Spurgeon. This brought to mind these verses:


Matthew 5.8
Matthew 6.12
Matthew 12.35
Matthew 22.37
Matthew 12.33
Mark 12.33

 

Verse 112, "I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes alway, even unto the end."

The word 'have' is an action word, David has done it to himself. This implies proactive, determined and disciplined action in his life to achieve this state. What came to my mind was a bonsai tree or fancy topiaries in gardens. These things must be trained, wires and guides are used to lock limbs in place to grow the direction that is desired. The person doing this work has to inspect it regularly and make adjustments. It takes time, diligence and dedication. The same is required of us if we want to make the Word such a part of our lives that we live according to God's statutes.

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