G’day! Welcome to Partake and our continuing series “Scriptural Delights!” Here is our twenty second podcast going through the wonder that is Psalm 119! Today we look at the twentieth of its twenty-two letters, Resh, and its verses 153 to 160. Sharona reads it for us!
153 Look upon my suffering and deliver me,
for I have not forgotten your law.
154 Defend my cause and redeem me;
preserve my life according to your promise.
155 Salvation is far from the wicked,
for they do not seek out your decrees.
156 Your compassion is great, O LORD;
preserve my life according to your laws.
157 Many are the foes who persecute me,
but I have not turned from your statutes.
158 I look on the faithless with loathing,
for they do not obey your word.
159 See how I love your precepts;
preserve my life, O LORD, according to your love.
160 All your words are true;
all your righteous laws are eternal.
Thanks Sharona, that was great! Once again the Psalmist is in danger of losing his life! He is seeking to be delivered from his pains and rescued! He is one of God’s servants and seeks to show that by remembering God’s law, God’s words and behaving as one of God’s servants, devoted in fear, reverence and love of Almighty God! And because he hasn’t forgotten God’s law, he pleads for God to consider and remember him. He is not so distracted by his own problems, that he has forgotten the beauty of God and God’s Law! He is faithful to God, because he knows that God is faithful to him!
His persecutors are surrounding him, circling with menace so the Psalmist asks for his God to be his advocate, his redeemer! The Psalmists enemies are spouting lies, ensnaring, oppressing and committing perjury against him, so he calls for his advocate and defender! He also asks that his Almighty God preserve him according to God’s own promise. He knows that God always fulfils his promises to those who follow him. The promises of God are as a soft healing balm to the frustrations and wounds of the Psalmist.
And while the Psalmist has a hope in his God, those who persecute, oppress and endanger him are bound for destruction! These wicked oppressors can never find salvation because they are removed from God, ignore God’s decrees and commit blasphemous acts in defiance of God’s decrees! The Psalmists persecutors are only interested in their own wisdom instead of seeking the wisdom of God.
In contrast to these wicked people, the Psalmist has not strayed from God’s righteous statutes! He knows Almighty God is compassionate, a great help in times of trouble and preserver of life – nothing can happen to the Psalmist unless God allows it, and God wont do that because of His tremendous promises found in His Law. The mercies of the Lord endure forever and ever – they are innumerable, immeasurable, immense, tender and true.
When he sees the wicked persecuting oppressors disavowing God, actively being wicked in disobedience, the Psalmist is full of righteous indignation and loathing! In contrast to the unrighteous who are against him, is the Psalmist who loves God’s precepts, commands and Law. He knows that the Lord’s anger is slow to burn and that the Lord is quick to love those who actively follow him. All of God’s words are true, all of God’s laws are righteous, exclaims the Psalmist! All of them from beginning to end and from top to bottom! This was a man willing to stand up for God with zeal, passion and righteous indignation – even if it cost him his very life!
How are you doing in your appreciation for what God has done for you? How are you doing when the world around through the media or people you know, seek to discredit your Christian belief in Almighty God? Are you sometimes filled with zealous indignation when Christians and Christianity are perjured against in the media or your workplace? Who is your advocate before God that defends you, wants to redeem you, deliver you from your enemies and those who would seek to bring you down and cause you to lose heart? As Christians, Jesus Christ is our advocate before God the Father. Do you know the promises of God, which can be found in the Bible? Read the Bible and when praying, have your Bible open and tell God what you are reading! All of Scripture, the Old Testament and the New Testament, is reliable and true- from beginning to end – just as the Psalmist exclaims for the portion that he had at the time.
In doing so, you develop an intimacy with God the Father, through God the Son in the power of God the Holy Spirit who lives inside you! This engenders a love for all of the Bible and not just your favourite parts! Be prepared to worship God in all manner of styles and not just your favourite style. Yet sometimes we have those in the church who like to discourage, perjure and hyper-criticize. No need to go far to find other Christians perjuring and espousing misleading words against us – particularly in the area of worship! Too many Christians today are perjuring others, being one-dimensional in their acts of church worship, short in their bible reading and are living stunted Christian lives because of it.
Just because another person experiences the Holy Spirit in a way different to you, doesn’t invalidate that way, but rather reflects the unique way God the Holy Spirit is working in the life of that person! Rejoice when that other person is worshipping Almighty God, even if the style of worship is not your own particular choice! Don’t restrict the Holy Spirit’s activity in your own life and do not grieve Him by trying to restrict and criticise His activity in another Christian’s life – to do is blasphemous and to call unclean that which is clean! Go and rejoice in the freedom of the Gospel for all people to worship in Spirit and truth and in many different styles – reflecting the manifold mercies of an ever-gracious God! A God who is gracious to save and merciful to be worshipped and adored! A jealous God worthy of zealous followers!