Scriptural Delight 07 - Psalm 119:33-40

Partakers Christian Podcasts

24-02-2022 • 7 minutos

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33 Teach me, O LORD, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end. 34 Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart. 35 Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. 36 Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. 37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word. 38 Fulfil your promise to your servant, so that you may be feared. 39 Take away the disgrace I dread, for your laws are good. 40 How I long for your precepts! Preserve my life in your righteousness.

Having being revived in the previous section, the Psalmist now seeks to be taught!  He continues using words for the Law such as decrees, commands, statutes and precepts!  His responses are equally clear: Teachable, kept, obedient, directed, turned and yearned!  His initial outburst from verse 1 is a heartfelt cry "Teach me to follow your decrees O Great God so that I will discover my reward!"  He then goes from teaching to understanding, because understanding is the practical application of what has been taught to his life as a believer.

Through applying and understanding what God has taught him, then obedience is the result. This obedience then is the catalyst for the next part - direction! If the Psalmist moves in obedience, then God Himself will direct him!  Something that is moving, and not standing still, can be easily steered!  When Almighty God using His decrees, directs the Psalmist, the Psalmist finds true ecstasy, joy and delight! True happiness comes from serving God and obeying Him by serving others!  The Psalmist does all this, not for a feel good factor or for his own pride and self-righteousness.

No! The Psalmist does this so his life is preserved, abandoning all that is worthless, in pursuit of that which is eternally worthwhile!  WOW! If his own work of selfishness is useless, what does the Psalmist say about the work of the Lord? The Lord's work is the fulfilment of His promise to the Psalmist - to preserve his life in the Lord's righteousness.  What is righteousness? Righteousness under the Mosaic covenant was active obedience to God and living according to God's ways.

How is the Psalmist declared righteous? By fearing the Lord (v38) and when the Lord is feared, then the utter disgrace is taken away! God fulfils His promises always!  There is a battle ensuing within him - the inner battle where the Psalmist can choose two ways to live. First is the choice to live in obedience to God, or secondly he can choose to disobey God and live life his own selfish way.  By choosing to obey God, the Psalmist is preserved.

What does this have to do with us as twenty-first century Christians?  The Christian life is to be an active one of dynamic contact with the Holy Spirit who lives with you.  Sometimes we like to think our own self-righteousness is what is going to save us. We all think that at some point even if we are not aware of it.  When we do that, we are no better than the Pharisees of Jesus' time. The Pharisees were righteous people, but they were looking to their own righteousness for salvation.  They adapted the Laws of God for their own ends.   Jesus said that unless righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees, then we can't be saved.

How is that possible?  It is possible, because true righteousness is not an external righteousness like that of the Pharisees, but an internal righteousness - a righteousness of the heart.  A righteousness which will see God the Holy Spirit living within those who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, and He writes the laws of God on their hearts. The Pharisees had a distorted view of the Law and saw it has only an external obedience.  But as the Psalmist here reminds us, the "obedience of the heart" (v34) shows it also to be internal matter as well.  So righteousness now, under the New Covenant, is not just an active external obedience to God but an internal declaration before God! How is this internal righteousness seen?

It is as the Apostle Paul would write a few years later in Philippians 2v12-13: "continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil his good purpose." When God the Father sees you, if you are a Christian, he sees the righteousness of Jesus Christ His Son.  When Jesus died on the cross, it was so that all who chose to follow Him could be declared righteous and wear the robe of righteousness.

As a Christian, you have the righteousness of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1v7; Acts 13v38-39) and  you have received the gift of righteousness (Romans 5v17) through faith in Jesus Christ (Philippians 3v9) If you need help in any are of your life, then ask God the Holy Spirit, who lives inside you, to help you.  He will, because God the Holy Spirit is in the transformation business.

What areas of your life do you need to hand control over to Him? We all have areas to work on, ceding control and handing them to God.  How are you doing at living as a Christian? Are you struggling in some area of life where that specific aspect of your life is in direct disobedience to God?  That is the pursuit of your own selfish gain, as the Psalmist would say.  Ask for help, and He will help!  Thank you.

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