Wednesday, September 16, 2015

One more devotional in Psalm 119

We usually study the Bible at Providence Church. Right now we're studying about the Bible. While doing so on Sundays, on the weekdays we're devotionally studying the longest chapter of the Bible, Psalm 119. It, too, is about the Bible

Today’s stanza, perhaps more than any other in this longest of the Psalms, shows the great stress the psalmist is feeling. Reading the first half of the first six verses makes this clear. 

145With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O Lord!
146I call to you; save me,
147I rise before dawn and cry for help;
148My eyes are awake before the watches of the night,
149Hear my voice according to your steadfast love;
150They draw near who persecute me with evil purpose;

The psalmist sounds desperate! He is being hounded by people who want to hurt him. He is pleading with God to hear his cries and save him. He can’t sleep at night. His is a vivid description of situations that many of us have faced. 

Have you ever had people at your workplace try to ruin you? Have you ever been falsely accused? Have you had a boss who made you the scapegoat? Have you been the subject of a frivolous lawsuit, or a malicious rumor, or a cruel joke? Then you, no doubt, can relate to the psalmist. I can definitely relate. 

His response? 

145…I will keep your statutes.
146…that I may observe your testimonies.
147…I hope in your words.
148…that I may meditate on your promise.

He’s determined to hold firmly to God’s word, no matter what. And he is convinced that this trial is only going to give him an opportunity to know God through his word even more.

149…O Lord, according to your justice give me life.

Because he knows God’s word, he knows God’s character. God is just. He will have the final say.

But there is one more thing he knows. And it is something that we all learn when we face trials while clinging to God’s word. He is close. Listen to how the psalmist ends this otherwise intense stanza:

151But you are near, O Lord,
    and all your commandments are true.
152Long have I known from your testimonies
    that you have founded them forever.

Wow! That is a great truth. No matter how hard life gets—no matter how unfairly or cruelly we might be treated—God is near. We sense his nearness most when we hear his voice. We hear his voice when we read his word.

For Christians, hardships and injustice do not make us victims. They bring us closer to to our God who loves us. They make us better.

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