Psalm 119:73-80

73. Your hands have made and fashioned me;
give me understanding that I may learn your commandments.
74. Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice,
because I have hoped in your word.
75. I know, O Lord, that your rules are righteous,
and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
76. Let your steadfast love comfort me
according to your promise to your servant.
77. Let your mercy come to me, that I may live;
for your law is my delight.
78. Let the insolent be put to shame,
because they have wronged me with falsehood;
as for me, I will meditate on your precepts.
79. Let those who fear you turn to me,
that they may know your testimonies.
80. May my heart be blameless in your statutes,
that I may not be put to shame!

73. God created me. He formed my mind. Only that of His Truth which He allows me to understand will I be able to comprehend. I have no ability outside of His enabling. I cannot wrap my mind around anything about Him and His Word except that which He communicates to me in a way that my frail heart can grasp. Rather than be discouraged by myself, I must fly to Jesus, seeking Him in His Word to make the words speak to me and to affect my understanding for His glory.

74. Hope belongs to believers. Without Jesus, you can have your best life now and put off unpleasantries till later. Face up to God’s wrath against you now, and you may enjoy His pleasure eternally. Only children of God have hope of good things while they are afflicted here on earth.

For the non-christian, this life is the best things will get.

For the Christian, this life is the worst things will get.

No light matter is here connoted.

75. God’s ways are all good. Even His chastening is good. God will be faithful to afflict me with my sin until He calls me home. What a comfort!

76. As long as I am chastised by God for my sin and continually brought back to Him from my straying ways, I can rest in knowing that I belong to Him. Falling from the hands of my God would be the greatest tragedy. Therefore, knowing that I am held securely by Him is the greatest joy.

“For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.” Hebrews 12:6

77. God’s grace in my life is my life. I have no life outside of His life. What He has given me and continually gives me is true life, not some semblance of a happy existence.

78. I must not try to right all wrongs. First, I would never be able to do so. Second, God alone is Judge. He will right all wrongs in His perfect timing, so I can rest in His goodness.

Here, is an example of what to do when we are falsely accused. Rather than mull over our hurt and ways of revenge, we should meditate on God’s Word. It alone is Truth. It is bad to encounter falsehood, but it is a hundred times worse to stoop into falsehood ourselves. Stooping to false thoughts shows a deeper false belief that our thoughts, words, and actions will not be judged.

To war against falsehood in our own lives, we must give ourselves to reading and meditating on what is true—God’s Word.

79. Are we so filled with God’s Word that we have a ready answer for all who question us? Are we able to confidently say that we can communicate God’s Word to others?

Ministry is not the goal. Knowing God is the goal.

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” -2 Timothy 2:15 (emphasis mine)

Nevertheless, we should all be equipped to articulate our hope and minister to others in due time.

“Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.” 1 Peter 3:13-17

We cannot articulate our hope unless we know what it is and know it well. We cannot have any counsel to minister to others if we have not plunged the depths of God’s counsel ourselves.

80. The psalmist did not here state that he desired his appearance or the way others perceived him to be blameless. He asked for his heart to be blameless. You cannot get any deeper than that. The heart in Scripture denotes the whole inner person, including the mind and attitudes. The heart, too, is the seat of emotion. Rather than wanting to promote an upright image, the psalmist desired Truth in the inmost parts. He wanted to be spotlessly clean on the inside. Why? If we Christians already have the promise of eternal salvation, why expend much energy on purifying ourselves? Why give ourselves to housekeeping of our earthly temples? (1 Corinthians 6:19)

Scripture states that each person will receive what is due him at the final judgment.

“For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

“So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” 2 Corinthians 5:1-10

I want to be worthy of receiving a large reward, don’t you? Now what should be my reason for desiring a large reward? I cannot think of a better reason than that I may be able to give a large reward back to my King. Whatever I may receive will rightly be cast back at my Savior’s feet. How big of a reward do I want to cast back? How much glory do I want to ascribe to His Name?

Now, here is a reason to pursue uprightness with a passion—to glorify my God as much as I can as long as He gives me breath.

Psalm 119:65-72

65. You have dealt well with your servant,
O Lord, according to your word.
66. Teach me good judgment and knowledge,
for I believe in your commandments.
67. Before I was afflicted I went astray,
but now I keep your word.
68. You are good and do good;
teach me your statutes.
69. The insolent smear me with lies,
but with my whole heart I keep your precepts;
70. their heart is unfeeling like fat,
but I delight in your law.
71. It is good for me that I was afflicted,
that I might learn your statutes.
72. The law of your mouth is better to me
than thousands of gold and silver pieces.

65. God deals well with His children. All His ways are good and good for us. His goodness was, is, and will be. He will never stop being good and doing good. His Word is good and He is good. This does not only imply sweetness, but Truth. There is nothing that is more true and right than Him and His Word. And this is the One we can call “Master.”

66. Because God is the only good One, He is the best teacher of good. All the excellent books of solid Biblical teaching cannot substitute for God’s Word’s interpretation of itself. Unlike books written by men, the Bible stands on it’s own as a complete curriculum on God, His relationship to us, and our responsibility toward Him. It is worthy of diligent all-consuming study.

67. This is an amazing paradox. When I was comfortable with my sin, I strayed far from the path. But, now that I am bothered by sin, I keep to the path. When it went “well” with me, I erred greatly. When I became afflicted, I pursued rightness. This is not to say that God’s people don’t sin anymore. This is an illustration of life before and after conversion. Surely, it is good that God calls His people not to a path of ease but to one that is often ridden with stones.

68. God is completely good. Diligently remind yourself of this—one among most basic truths.

69. Though I am attacked by unbelievers, I must not allow any part of my heart to become anxious. I must diligently keep my whole heart focused on Truth and God’s Word—my greatest and unfailing treasure. I must not become distracted by lies.

70. Though their hearts are cold, and they don’t care about me, I must not be offended because I do not live for their approval anyway. I must continually delight in God and His Word. Therein lies true joy.

71. Affliction is good for the soul.

We can stand affliction better than we can prosperity, for in prosperity we forget God. -D.L. Moody

72. God’s Word is better for me than any earthly riches. I must remember this when I am choosing activities and investments (particularly of time).

Are you minding sin more than the Savior?

“The first device that Satan has to keep souls in a sad, doubting, and questioning condition, and so making their life a hell, is by causing them to be still poring and musing upon sin, to mind their sins more than their Savior; yes, so to mind their sins as to forget, yes, to neglect their Savior, that, as the Psalmist speaks, ‘The Lord is not in all their thoughts’ (Psalm 10:4). Their eyes are so fixed upon their disease, that they cannot see the remedy, though it be near; and they do so muse upon their debts, that they have neither mind nor heart to think of their Surety. A Christian should wear Christ in his bosom as a flower of delight, for he is a whole paradise of delight. He who minds not Christ more than his sin, can never be thankful and fruitful as he should.”

– Thomas Brooks, Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices

I am a prodigal

I had not thought of myself as a prodigal. But, truly, I am. Daily I choose my own way and not God’s. And God still claims me as His. What mercy! Though I beg for His chastisement daily, He holds out His grace still.

“We are all* prodigal sons, and not disinherited; we have received our portion, and misspent it, not been denied it. We are God’s tenants here, and yet here, he, our landlord, pays us rents; not yearly, nor quarterly, but hourly and quarterly; every minute he renews his mercy.”
– John Donne

*The context of the quote leads me to believe that this “all” refers to the body of believers in Jesus Christ, and indeed, there is no other group this particular “all” could indicate.

Addition: Here is a song that speaks of the mystery of God’s mercy. If you would prefer to not hear it, you can turn off your computer speakers and just read the words as they appear on the screen.

You want God to be fair?

The second greatest unfairness is God attributing a sinner’s sin to Christ.

The greatest unfairness is God attributing Christ’s righteousness to a sinner.

Do you really want God to be fair?

-notes from tonight’s church meeting