Devotional Word for Friday, June 19, 2020
Are you ready to do some gold mining? That’s what I promised you yesterday, that we would mine some gold from Psalm 119. If one is going to mine gold, then one has to have some hope of finding gold, right? Let’s begin our mining with a series of verses that will whet our appetite, that will cast a vision for the power, sweetness, delightfulness, and joy of God’s Word.
The first two verses that address God personally in this Psalm are verses 4 and 5. You have ordained Your precepts that we should keep them diligently. Oh, that my ways may be established to keep Your statutes. So, we’re looking for that which God has ordained we should seek for diligently. We want these teachings of His to be the foundation of our lives. Verse 16 shows how such comes to be the case. I shall delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your word. Yes, let us delight in God’s word. Why? Because of its value to us, as verse 72 says, The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces. True riches are found in the word of God, not in materials which thieves can steal, and decay can rot. Indeed, as verse 103 says, not only is God’s word valuable, it is sweet: How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth! We find that mining for gold in God’s word is not work, but joy, according to verse 111. I have inherited Your testimonies forever, for they are the joy of my heart. With all those images before us, our souls are like that described in verse 131. I opened my mouth wide and panted, for I longed for Your commandments. That’s why we go mining, we long for God’s word to delight and refresh and satisfy our souls. Finding those veins of gold causes us to declare the truth of verse 97. O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.
A great danger for us as Christians is for our love of God to grow cold, not by deliberate rejection of God, but by losing our focus. Our concern is rightly voiced in verse 10. With all my heart I have sought You; do not let me wander from Your commandments. This is not an idle concern. Wandering has severe consequences as verse 21 states. You rebuke the arrogant, the cursed, who wander from Your commandments. Verse 118 makes this even clearer: You have rejected all those who wander from Your statutes, for their deceitfulness is useless. Folk wander away because they are deceived. Often, it’s from the allurements of the world around us.
There’s a vein of gold in this Psalm that depicts what our attitude should be. Verse 158 states it thus: I behold the treacherous and loathe them, because they do not keep Your word. Here we see deceitful treachery linked with not keeping, not believing, not following the teaching of God. Such lifestyles, such teachings should not be attractive to us, should not entice us, but should be a cause for rejecting them. Verse 139 explains how this affects us. My zeal has consumed me, because my adversaries have forgotten Your words. Yes, we have reactions when folk ignore or reject God’s clear teaching. We see such rejection regularly in our day. The Supreme Court ruling recently that read the LGBTQ identities back into a 1964 law should have disturbed us. Verse 53 expresses the reaction of the godly person to flagrant immorality or heresy. Burning indignation has seized me because of the wicked, who forsake Your law,
Sometimes we can get pretty discouraged, whether by the success of the wicked or because of some affliction that besets us. There’s good gold here for times of affliction. Verse 92 states it like this: If Your law had not been my delight, then I would have perished in my affliction. So, afflictions are real, but so is God’s word. It gives us hope in the midst of affliction as verse 71 affirms. It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes. That’s what we say after coming through the affliction, just as Joseph can say about all his afflictions after they’re in his rearview mirror. But we need to know that such will be case even though we cannot see how it will come to pass. Our attitude is expressed in verse 75. I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are righteous, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me. That’s a verse to hold onto in the midst of trials of life. We need to know God has His reasons. We can trust Him.
When you think about it, the Christian life is pretty daunting, pretty challenging. We need to set our course, though, to follow the Lord Jesus. He promises to grow us in the faith. Here’s one final vein of gold from Psalm 119 about how we can and do grow.
Verse 32 is a good nugget to consider. I shall run the way of Your commandments, for You will enlarge my heart. That’s our determination. That is our confidence in God. We know that God is good and we anticipate He will teach us well, as verse 66 says. Teach me good discernment and knowledge, for I believe Your commandments. Verse 133 expresses our desire to Him. Establish my footsteps in Your word, and do not let any iniquity have dominion over me. Oh yes, that’s a prayer to pray all the time! God hears it. That’s why we have great confidence in His keeping power. He will hold us fast. Here’s how verse 165 states it: Those who love Your law have great peace, and nothing causes them to stumble.
Well, it took us a little longer than ordinary to do this mining – and we only scratched the surface. Psalm 119 is a wonderfully rich resource for the people of God. Read it. Ponder it. May it speak to you. May it speak for you. May the Holy Spirit enlarge our hearts to run the way of God’s commandments. May the Holy Spirit help us love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, You are the Word of God. You have come and declared the Father’s purpose to save us from our sins. You have spread abroad in our hearts the Holy Spirit to convince us of God’s love for us, and to inflame our hearts with love for God. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for being our Savior, and the Lord of all. We ask for You to continue being our Advocate before the throne of God. We rejoice in Your full and free salvation. Amen.