Written by: Brittany Jude
Good morning my sisters, I’m excited for these verses this week because I get to try to encourage you with a reminder of the steadfast love of God & His salvation! Let’s begin 🙂 ☕️ ☀️
Living in a fallen world where sin and evil exist can cause us a lot of heartache and pain as we seek to walk according not to the ways of the world but rather in the ways of The Lord. So far, we as Americans have had it pretty good but we still face scoffers who mock us, critics who are waiting for us to fail so they can point a finger and call us hypocrites; meanwhile, in other parts of the world, believers are still being murdered, tortured, jailed, and beheaded for the faith. We ache when we see the innocent suffering at the hands of evil. We ache when evil seems to prosper and right living is scoffed at. We even fall into temptation to sin ourselves because we are human and our flesh is weak—all these things cause us to long for heaven, and for God to restore us, help us, teach us and make us understand the right ways (like the psalmist in Daleth& He).
Our own failures, especially, can cause us to cry out as the psalmist did “O Lord, let your mercies/steadfast love come to me, your salvation according to your promise!”(vs41) We don’t have to look far to see why our hearts can become discouraged by living in this world. We could easily become like those without hope if we focused on the troubles we face or on our own imperfections & shortcomings. In fact, I was just there yesterday. In my sickness & exhaustion I struggled and stumbled in my role as a mother and a wife, but the mercy of God met me when I prayed: “Lord help me overcome this so I can do Your Will today for my family. I love Your ways and I delight to do them, help me overcome the weakness of this flesh !” And do you know that He did!? He met me there. When I fell short, His grace covered me as I confessed my slothfulness and selfishness (this is what 1 John 1:7-9 is all about and this is what the psalmist, seeing his inability to keep the Ways of the Lord perfectly,desires. It is the mercy of God, His steadfast love & promise of salvation that will pick us back up again so we can keep on going with a clean conscience able to proclaim with our mouths the good ways of The Lord—>vs43!). It’s so easy to let our failures take the word out of our mouths. We feel ashamed, or like there’s no use to even try but let us not think our refinement depends solely on us. We are as clay in the Potter’s hands if we choose to submit ourselves and bring all these things to Him, trusting in His Word, trusting that He loves us still and wants the best for us. I’m reminded of what Jeremiah wrote in the midst of his own lament, ”this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: the steadfast love of The Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning;great is His faithfulness..” This is the evidence we see in scripture (I’m reminded of psalm 106 and Deuteronomy 10 also) that God has a relentless love for us and a great desire for our ultimate good.
Vs 42 “..then shall I have an answer for him who taunts me,for I trust in your word.” That word taunts means to mock, ridicule, insult or scoff in order to anger, wound or provoke someone. I’m reminded of 1 Peter 3:15-16 when I read this verse. It states, “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.” Sometimes when we mess up and sin publicly (someone else who knows we are a Christian sees or hears) this causes us to feel ashamed & worthless, so we cry out for God’s forgiveness and mercy. Why? Because we TRUST in His word and we have this hope as an anchor to our souls: forgiveness of sins & resurrection to eternal life (heb 6:19). We are imperfect people, and without the steadfast love/mercies of God and salvation in Christ we would have no way to answer those who mock us and tease us when we fall short. (thus if God did not extend His steadfast love & salvation, it would cause us to stop proclaiming the goodness of His Word (or as the psalmist says in vs 43, it would “take the word of truth utterly out of my mouth”.)) In our shortcomings & public failures we couldn’t dare proclaim His Ways as true, good, and a guard that when stored in the heart can keep your way pure. However, because His steadfast love endures forever, His mercies are new each morning, and His forgiveness & grace to help us is available 24/7 for those of who come to Him in Jesus’ name confessing their faults, repenting of them, we have an answer for our mockers & those who would taunt us! (1 John 1:7-9) We are able to testify of the steadfast love of God because He has been faithful to forgive us and cleanse us from our sins, restore our consciences from our shame and thus we rejoice & proclaim the good news even more!
-vs 43 continued “...for my hope is in your rules.” As parents, we give our children rules & precepts, not to chain them and restrict them but so they can live a good life and have life abundantly—we give them “rules” for their good! Unfortunately, when they are little, they do not understand this. They obey out of fear of the consequences only (they don’t see the wisdom in them). But later, as they come to learn that mom&dad really love me and they just want the best for me, they learn (hopefully, eventually) to see that the rules are not burdensome or restrictive, rather they are guides to help me live a good & full life! They learn to trust the rules and love them because they lead to life!
“I will keep your law continually, forever and ever, and I shall walk in a wide place, for I have sought your precepts.” -v44-45. I thought about this “wide place” and it seemed contradictory to the “narrow gate & the narrow way” mentioned in Matthew 7:13-14. But it’s not at all. Jesus is the only way to the Father, He is the narrow way. But, by walking in the way of the Lord, the psalmist has found freedom or “walks in a wide place”. This is the point we must come to when we look into the Lord’s “law/precepts”. Do you feel chained, burdened & weighed down by the “rules” of God’s Ways? This should not be so. I want to invite you to shift your perspective. Like the psalmist, we need to see God as our loving Father as well as our Holy God, because He is. Like a good Father, He has given us directions to live a good life; and in His Mercy He has provided the way for forgiveness through His Grace toward us in Christ Jesus! If you are feeling burdened or weighed down, it is surely not the nature of the truth to do that to you! As Jesus said “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”-John 8:31-32. We abide in His Word joyfully because we know He loves us and He is for us. We rest as we make every effort knowing His grace will cover our failures and His love will refine them out of us as we walk with Him (Malachi 3:3). Yes, the way is narrow but so much freedom, joy and enduring peace resides in it! I can testify of this as my soul “walks in the wide place” of God’s steadfast love today! My soul frolics in the fields of God’s commands, because I know it is not my perfection that He desires, it is my heart, my whole heart; not just my body in obedience to His “rules”. Why? Because He loves me! He loves you! He wants us to choose to love Him back, and that’s why we have free will. He wants us to see His love for us and then turn from living for this evil world and live for Him instead. He wants this because He desires to bless us with that spiritual fruit of righteousness now & eternal life after this! What good parent doesn’t want the best things for their children? Like any good parent does, The Lord wants us to see that He has given us His Word to direct, guide, comfort, teach and encourage us in this life—for our ultimate good & His Glory! He has given us the route to get home and In Christ, He has given us the grace and mercy to get there, If we will trust Him for it. His principles (rules/precepts) are the way to true freedom, let us seek to continue in them, being anchored in the hope of His grace, steadfast love & salvation in Christ as we go!! “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.”-1 John 5:3. Jesus calls us out of bondage into the rest of His Grace “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”-Matthew 11:28-29
“46 I will also speak of your testimonies before kings and shall not be put to shame, 47 for I find my delight in your commandments, which I love. 48 I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes.” The result of a heart that has found her freedom & hope in the Lord’s salvation is boldness to proclaim the good news that saved her and does so unashamedly (vs46)! She delights in the ways of The Lord because she knows she is being led on the right path and if she fails, the love & mercy of her Father is there waiting for her to come to Him, and He will clean her up every time she returns to Him in true repentance(v47). A redeemed heart can only praise the Word of The Lord for delivering her from the emptiness of a life in obedience to fickle emotions, fleshly desires & worldly principles that always left her feeling empty & looking for more. She has found the One who her soul loves and she desires to think of Him & His ways, always!(be 48) Today, if you are like the psalmist and you're feeling the mockery of your critics (or maybe you’re your own worst critic and you are beating yourself up for falling short..again) as a child of God, my sisters, I encourage you to cry out for the Lord’s mercies, confessing your failures and shortcomings to Him in prayer and receive His continual cleansing as you get up and keep “walking in the light” of His ways (1 John1:7-9). Then, give yourself grace; knowing & trusting that The Lord has forgiven you and He will help you as you lift these things to Him in prayer. The psalmist desired the mercy & salvation of God, because he knew and saw his own imperfection and inability to keep the Word of the Lord perfectly; we are like the psalmist. We are so incapable of keeping God’s principles perfectly, and we know it. I think of my son. As he is learning to walk, he stumbles & falls from time to time and gets hurt, but he reaches his little arms back up to me, because he trusts me to save him and I’m always right there, ready to pick him up, and continue teaching him & leading him. God does this for us. We are His little children, and this morning God’s steadfast love remains by our side. His mercy is new this morning and His faithfulness is great. Let us walk forward today as women who trust in the Word of The Lord, who hope in His Promise and boldly proclaim the gospel that has redeemed us, being unafraid, unashamed, and full of delight, with all the praise to God for it!
Thank you for your time with me in the Word this morning. I look forward to seeing your written verses & marked up verses in the comments! 💜