Scripture Text – Psalm 119
The emphasis in this the longest psalm, and the basic theme, is on the vital ministry and practical use of the Word of God in the inner spiritual life of God’s children. It describes how the Word enables us to grow in holiness and handle the persecutions and pressures that always accompany an obedient walk of faith.
The Word of God performs many wonderful ministries in the life of the devoted believer. If we delight in His Word, learn it, treasure it within, and obey what it says, the Lord will work in us and through us to accomplish great things for His glory! Circumstances may change, but God and His Word remain the same.
Lamedh (Lamed) – Change and the Changeless
Please read Psalm 119:89-96 for the background to this section.
The familiar hymn “Abide with Me” says, “Change and decay in all around I see.” If that was true in 1847 when Henry Lyte wrote those words, how much truer it is today! To younger people, change is a treat, but to older folks, change is a threat. We like to relax in our comfort zone and resist the dramatic changes going on around us and within us. But if we do, we fail to grow spiritually and we miss the opportunities God gives us to reach others with the Gospel. The psalmist made some wonderful affirmations, which if heeded, will anchor us to the eternal and enable us to be used of God during these turbulent times.
God’s Word is settled. Ever since Satan asked Eve, “Has God indeed said . . . ?” (Genesis 3:1), the enemy has been attacking the Word of God. Atheists, agnostics, philosophers, scientists, and garden-variety sinners of all kinds have ignored the Bible, laughed at it, and tried to do away with it, but it still stands. Though born in eternity, God’s Word is rooted in history and speaks to every generation that will listen. The Word is “founded forever” and will endure forever (see Matthew 24:34–35). Build your life on the Word of God and you will weather all the changes of life!
God is faithful. Pause and read Psalm 90 and see what Moses had to say about the eternal God and the changes of life. From generation to generation, He is God, and we can commit ourselves, our children, our grandchildren, and our great-grandchildren to His care. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were three decidedly different kinds of men, but God was the “God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob.”
God’s creation is established. Until that last day when God’s fire purifies all things and He ushers in a new heaven and earth (2 Peter 3; Revelation 21–22), this present creation will stand. The laws that He built into creation will also stand, whether scientists understand them or not. People may abuse and waste the earth and its resources, but God’s creation will continue to serve the Creator. Everything in creation serves the Lord except human beings made in the image of God. What a tragedy! This is still our Father’s world and we can trust Him to manage it wisely.
God’s peace is available. We do not go to the Bible to escape the realities of life but to be strengthened to face life and serve God effectively. We may not be able to delight in what is going on in the world, but we can delight in what God says in His Word. The Word equips us to deal with the changes of life and the crises that come. The verb “sought” in verse 94 means “to consult, to inquire, to beat a path, to read repeatedly.” Here is a believer who beat a path to the Bible, read it over and over, studied it, and when he had to make a decision, consulted it carefully. Philosophies change, political expedients fail, promises and contracts are broken, but the Word of God still stands.
God wants us to get out of our rut. So much truth is buried in this verse, you could meditate on it for hours. Whatever mankind does will never reach perfection, because our human work comes from our limited mind, strength, and ability. Perhaps the psalmist was reading the book of Ecclesiastes, for the limitations of human achievement is one of the themes of that book. “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!” (Ecclesiastes 1:2). In contrast to the limits of mankind, God’s Word and works have no limits. His commandment (singular—it is one united Book)—is limitless, boundless, immeasurable. Though Jesus lived, taught, and died in the little land of Palestine, His life and ministry have reached a whole world. Mary gave her sacrificial offering to Jesus in a home in Bethany, but what she did has blessed generations of people around the world (Mark 14:1–9).
Why should God’s people stay in a rut when the Word of God is so boundless and there are no limits to what He can do! We may not like all the changes going on in the world, but we need not be frustrated and afraid. Although the news coverage was not as good, the situation was not much different in the days of the apostles, and they turned the world upside down! God is on the throne; He holds the world in His hands; His promises can never fail; so, let’s get moving!
To Be Continued