Week 5 He Psalm 119:33-40
Welcome to Week 5 Sisters! Let's dig in :)
We live in a day of luke-warm commitments. People often quit things that do not bring them pleasure or results right way. I used to be the type of person that would start something and quickly get burnt out and quit. Or I would just get distracted or discouraged. I have to be careful that attitude does not leak into my Christian life and it has been something I have been working on for a while!
When it comes to our Christianity, we have to be so careful not to have a luke-warm commitment. When we obey the Gospel, it is an eternal commitment to obey and worship the Lord Jesus Christ and walk in the ways of God’s word. As the author of Hebrews stressed, “We have come to share in Christ, if we indeed hold our original conviction firmly to the very end” (Heb. 3:14). Christ Himself shows us this truth when He said, “the one who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Mark 13:13).
I believe the Psalmist demonstrates this type of commitment in this stanza. I love the way he demonstrates a two part relationship in the beginning verses. He asks the Lord to teach him, but then states that he will do his part to “keep the way to the end.” This is a good example for us as we ask for wisdom. When we get the wisdom, what will we do with it? Will we commit to obey and walk in it for life? Or just until something better comes along? Will we use it for selfish gain, or productivity in the kingdom? I also love that he approaches learning in a childlike way, always being teachable. As Christians it seems like the older we get, the less questions we ask about certain spiritual things. It is almost as if we are too embarrassed to express our doubts or questions. But if you think about children, they are always so inquisitive. They are always wanting to learn more! We really do damage in our Spiritual lives when we stop asking questions. In verse 34 it is clear he doesn’t just want understanding for the sake of having it. He doesn’t want to gain spiritual knowledge in order to be smarter than others or for selfish gain. He wants it so He will keep the law and observe it with his whole heart, not half-heartedly. Do you remember seeing the phrase, “whole heart” in verse two and ten? This repetition shows the importance of undivided love. I love the way Charles Spurgeon says this, “the heart is never whole or holy until it is whole and wholly united in the fear of the Lord.” Next the Psalmist writes: “Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it.” I wonder if the Psalmist prayed this because he felt led in other directions? If I am honest, I often feel pulled in many directions. Paul writes in Romans 7:18 “I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, my flesh. For I desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.” And oh how I relate to Paul in these words and to the Psalmist who wants to be led in the proper direction. I am so easily distracted. And truth be told, walking down the narrow path is hard. But it is not impossible with the Lord’s help and His Spirit leading us. Notice that the Psalmist does not ask the Lord to do for him what he should do for himself. He desires to walk in the ways of the Lord but he does not ask to be carried while he lays around and does nothing. Although we have been given grace, it does not excuse us to live however we want or do what we please. We have a duty to our Lord when we wear the name Christian. The Spirit is often willing to be led, but the flesh pulls us in a different direction. Let us be women who have the Word’s “Lead me in the path of your commandments,”written on and desired in our hearts. Moving on to verse 36, the Psalm writes, “incline my heart to your testimonies and not selfish gain.” I wanted to define “incline” here so when I looked it up it said “to have a tendency to do something.” My tendency is not always to do or lean towards godly things. It may even be towards selfish gain, covetousness, and idolatry at times. But what a blessing we have to be able to come to the Lord in prayer and repent and ask for our hearts to be inclined towards pure things, as this Psalmist did. I think the Psalmist and I share a lot in common here! In verse 37 the Psalmist is recognizing his temptation to be drawn towards looking at worthless things. I like that he made the contrast between “worthless” and “life.” It is clear that in this world there are worthless things and life giving things. If I am honest, I am often drawn to things like the news or endlessly scrolling on social media which are draining and do not produce life giving results in my life. Just as the Psalmist does, I too need help from God to turn my eyes away from those things and to give me an eternal focus. At the same time though, I have to take action and sometimes that means putting down my phone or turning off Netflix and opening up my Bible, even when I don’t feel like it. After declaring the goodness of God, the Psalmist asks the Lord to “turn away reproach, for your rules are good.” As Christians we will face reproach. Remember Paul faced it (1 Timothy 4:10). We are not promised a life free of troubles. But we do have the promise written in 1 Peter 4:14 “ If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” On the other hand, we may feel reproach from ourselves. Have you ever struggled with a guilty conscience or felt like you did not deserve God’s grace? Sometimes our eyes can lock in on our own failings and we need to remember to take a fresh hold of the Gospel. When we face reproach, it is tempting to throw in the towel, quit, and forget about God’s goodness. But just like the Psalmist here, we need to remind ourselves that His rules are good. Luke and I were studying this last night and he said, “The Psalmist shows us that sometimes we have to preach the Word to ourselves.” That is so true! When our emotions tempt us and drown us with doubts, the Word of God steps in and rescues us. But we have to be the ones to turn to it and take time to build it up in our mind so it impacts our hearts. It is in His Words where we are reminded of our need for a Savior and the victory that has come from the cross. And as our souls lean on what has been done for us, we can confidently say in prayer the same words this Psalmist says, “Turn away my reproach which I fear.” The Psalmist closes by saying “Behold I long for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life!” It is clear that there is life giving power found in the living Word of God. Let us be women who allow every longing to be fulfilled by our God. Let us be prayerful women longing for our hearts to be inclined towards God’s word and not towards selfish gain. Let our hearts always be teachable and our commitment to God and His word never seasonal, intermittent, or conditional. As we strive towards being committed, let us be women who remember to rest under the promise that the blood of His Son covers our every failing, as we have the blessing of repentance and the ability to try again (1 John 1:7-9). In our online group each week, we write out our verses on Monday's and work on reflection questions on Wednesday's. Since it is Wednesday, I thought I would include this weeks reflection questions!
1. The Psalmist prayed, “Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statues; and I will keep it to the end.” Reflect on your attitude and heart lately, are you teachable? Or are you hesitant to ask questions? 2. Look up these verses and write how they help motivate us to constantly grow and to keep the way to the end: 1 Corinthians 15:58 2 Peter 1:5-9 2 Timothy 2:12 Revelation 2:10 3. The Psalmist prayed, “Turn away my eyes from beholding vanity and cause me to live in thy way.” Make a list of potentially worthless things that have captured your attention lately: 4. Replace that list with eternally valuable things to focus on this week (Philippians 4:8 may be helpful):
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