Learning from Psalm 119
119:1-24 - The way of blessing is the way of obedience (1,9,11,17). Many will choose the way of disobedience - ‘influential people sit together and slander me’. We must choose the way of obedience - ‘Your servant will meditate on Your teachings’ (23). Following Jesus Christ will not be easy. We see many people turning back from following Him. We are tempted to join them. We feel the pull of the world. We must not take our eyes off Jesus. We must not return to the world’s way of living. We must remember all that Jesus has done for us - ‘He loved us and gave Himself for us’ (Galatians 2:20) - and recommit ourselves to following Him: ‘I have decided to follow Jesus... The world behind me, the Cross before me... Though none go with me, I still will follow... No turning back, no turning back’ (Mission Praise, 272).
119:25-48 - ‘Revive me according to Your Word’ (25). How does God revive us according to His Word? He gives us His salvation: ‘Let Your unfailing love come to me, O Lord - Your salvation according to Your Word’ (41). He gives us His strength: ‘My soul is weary with sorrow. Strengthen me according to Your Word’ (28). He gives us a change of heart: ‘I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on Your laws... I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free... Give me understanding, and I will keep Your law and obey it with my whole heart... Turn my heart to Your testimonies...’ (30,32,34,36). He gives us ‘new life’: ‘When someone becomes a Christian he becomes a brand new person inside. He is not the same anymore. A new life has begun!’ (40; 2 Corinthians 5:17).
119:49-72 - God’s Word makes such a difference! When everything seems so hopeless, we turn to God’s Word and we find that there is ‘hope’ (49). When we are going through a time of terrible ‘suffering’, we turn to God’s Word and we find ‘comfort’ (50,52). When everything seems to be going so badly, we must keep on reading the Word of the Lord: ‘The wicked have laid a trap for me, but I do not forget Your law’ (61). Through His Word, God is teaching us to see His purpose in our sufferings: ‘The punishment You gave me was the best thing that could have happened to me, for it taught me to pay attention to Your laws’ (71). God is showing us what is really important: ‘The law that You gave means more to me than all the money in the world’ (72). He is teaching us to see His ‘love’ in every part of our life (64).
119:73-96 - We rejoice in God’s ‘constant love’. This is our ‘comfort’ - God keeps on loving us no matter what’s going on in our lives. We may be going through really hard times - ‘Men persecute me with lies... They have almost succeeded in killing me’. There’s one thing that never changes - God’s ‘constant love’. He loves us in the hard times as well as in the happy times. His love inspires us to keep on loving Him when we feel like giving up in despair (76,86-88). We see many changes taking place in our world. Sometimes, we wonder, ‘Where is God in all of this? Has He abandoned us? Can we keep on trusting Him and rejoicing in His Word?’. When our minds are full of negative thoughts, we must remember God’s Word - ‘Your Word, O Lord, will last for ever... Your faithfulness endures through all the ages’ (89-90).
119:97-120 - Throughout life, we have to make choices. Some choices are relatively straightforward. Others are very much more difficult. Some choices don’t affect the rest of our life very much. There are, however, choices which affect the whole of our life. There is one choice which is more important than any other - Choosing the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour. Those who refuse to choose are ‘double-minded’(113). They can’t make up their mind. They know that they should be following Christ - but they are still ‘in love with the world’. They are ‘lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God’ (I John 2:15; 2 Timothy 3:4). Make your choice. Say to the world, ‘Away from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commands of my God’. Say to God, ‘I have decided to obey Your laws until the day I die’ (115,112).
119:121-144 - ‘The entrance of Your words gives light’ (130). The Word of God brings light into our lives. Sadly, many people ‘love darkness rather than light’. They refuse to ‘come to the light’. They prefer to remain in the darkness. They refuse to listen to what God is saying to them through His Word. Then, when things are not going so well for them, they blame God. They say, ‘It’s all Your fault’! Things could have been so different. They could have learned to spend time with God. They could have learned the lessons of faith which are found in God’s Word. They could have learned to cope with life’s difficulties. They could have been filled with the strength of the Lord. They would not be complaining against Him. They would be rejoicing in Him: He has ‘called us out of darkness into His marvellous light’ (1 Peter 2:10).
119:145-176 - ‘With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O Lord!’ (145). God is calling us to pray. There is nothing more important than this. If other things have become more important in our lives, we need to think about the way we are living. God wants to send His blessing into our lives: ‘Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you’ (Matthew 7:7). His blessing will come to those who seek him with their whole heart: ‘You will seek Me and find Me when you seek me with all your heart’ (Jeremiah 29:13). If we do not ask, we will not receive: ‘You do not have, because you do not ask’ (James 4:2). God’s blessing is not given to those who are half-hearted. God is calling us to love Him with our whole heart: ‘I long for Your salvation, O Lord, and Your law is my delight’ (174).