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.