Wednesday, November 2, 2016, 8:57 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Blessed Are You.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 119:1-24 (ESV).
Aleph (vv. 1-8)
Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the Lord!
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with their whole heart,
who also do no wrong,
but walk in his ways!
You have commanded your precepts
to be kept diligently.
Oh that my ways may be steadfast
in keeping your statutes!
Then I shall not be put to shame,
having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
I will praise you with an upright heart,
when I learn your righteous rules.
I will keep your statutes;
do not utterly forsake me!
We are joyful and at peace when we are walking in the ways of the Lord, doing what he says, and not willfully ignoring his instructions to us. There is no better place to be on this earth than in the center of God’s will for our lives, being who he has made us to be, and doing what he has called us to do. Even in the midst of the storms of this life, with its trials and tribulations, there is no greater satisfaction than in fulfilling the purpose for which we were created, and doing what we know is pleasing to our Lord. And, there is no greater unrest (anxiety) in our lives than when we consciously choose to stray from our Lord and to live a life contrary to his Word and to his will.
There is also no greater joy and peace than when we are fully committed to our Lord, in full surrender to his will, and he is truly Lord (owner-master) of our lives. If we have one foot in the world and one in God’s Word, they are always at conflict with each other, and so there is tumult and disquiet, not peace. If we are wanting our own way and claiming to want God’s way, too, it doesn’t work. Flesh and Spirit don’t mix. We can’t have it both ways, though many people surely do try to make it work that way. Yet, we are happy and at rest when we keep His Word, and we seek after him with our whole (undivided) hearts, and we walk in his ways day by day.
Beth (vv. 9-16)
How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
Blessed are you, O Lord;
teach me your statutes!
With my lips I declare
all the rules of your mouth.
In the way of your testimonies I delight
as much as in all riches.
I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways.
I will delight in your statutes;
I will not forget your word.
How can a man (or woman) keep his (or her) way pure? I have often pondered this question as I walk through the mall and I see all the sexually seductive posters and mannequins in the store windows, and when I stand in a line at the grocery store, and on the magazine racks I see the sensual and tempting magazine covers, or when I am on the internet on just about any so-called “safe” site, including some Christian sites, and there are alluring pictures off to the side or at the bottom of the screen.
I, as well, ponder that question when I see so many young people, especially, given free and private internet access via smart phones and tablets (I Pads), with little to no parental control. My heart weeps, in fact, that so many parents use these devices as baby sitters for their children, not realizing or not caring that young children are very quick to pick up on how to use these devices and to go to forbidden places which will permanently damage their minds and hearts, but for the grace of God.
So, how can we keep our ways pure in a generation where the impure is so readily available in the privacy of our own homes, without accountability? We have to be guarded against the impure entering into our minds. We have to be deliberate about this, and we have to be proactive, too. We must set our faces like a flint (Is. 50:7), i.e. we have to be determined and diligent in this matter of purity or we might easily fall into carefully laid traps for us.
We can’t be morally pure if we are playing with temptation, though. If we watch TV shows, movies, skits, etc. or listen to music or play video games with sexually suggestive material contained within, we are just asking to be tempted into sexual impurity. Or, if we read romance novels or other types of novels containing sexually suggestive material or containing sex scenes, and we entertain these things in our minds, we can’t expect to keep our way pure, can we? And, if we go to internet sites where we have been tempted before, and especially if they are places where we gave in to that temptation, and we are naïve enough to think it won’t happen again, and we do nothing to be proactive in our internet use, then we can’t be morally pure. We have to have a plan to be pure, and to stick to that plan.
So, first of all, we need to do an evaluation (examination) of our lives, and of the places in which we have been tempted in the past, and where we think we might face temptation in the future, and we have to not go those places, and some people need to not have private internet access at all, because that, alone, is a temptation to be sexually impure. And, we need to stop watching, listening to or reading anything which is immoral, impure and which has the potential to lead us into sin. We can memorize tons of scripture, but if we are not willing to rid our lives of what leads us into sin, or what is clearly on God’s list of sins, then the scriptures won’t do us much good, because we are doing what is contrary to God’s Word already.
So, we need to put off what is impure, immoral, alluring, tempting, and anything which may lead us down the path of sin. And, then we must seek God with our whole hearts, and hide his word, not just in our minds, but in our hearts through daily practice of obeying what it teaches us. We can pray all we want for God to help us not to stray, and to help us to not sin, and to teach us his ways, so we may walk in them, but if we don’t give God more than lip service, our prayers are in vain. If we don’t keep his Word, then there is no point in him teaching us what it says. We have to be willing to go the distance with God, to cut out of our lives what tempts or leads us to sin, and then we have to immerse ourselves in his Word and obey what it says.
Gimel (vv. 17-24)
Deal bountifully with your servant,
that I may live and keep your word.
Open my eyes, that I may behold
wondrous things out of your law.
I am a sojourner on the earth;
hide not your commandments from me!
My soul is consumed with longing
for your rules at all times.
You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones,
who wander from your commandments.
Take away from me scorn and contempt,
for I have kept your testimonies.
Even though princes sit plotting against me,
your servant will meditate on your statutes.
Your testimonies are my delight;
they are my counselors.
We must know, though, that when we take these steps, as outlined in the section above, and we do set our faces like flint, and we get really serious about God and his Word, and about ridding our lives of what displeases our Lord, that the enemy is going to attack, and friends will abandon us, and we will face much rejection and persecution. Especially now, with our world leaders coming against evangelical Christianity, and making us out to be the enemy, we should be prepared for global persecution on a large scale.
Yet, we must not back down just so we will be liked and accepted. We must no longer try to live in both the world of sin and the world of Christianity. We have to choose whom we will serve – flesh or God? We can’t serve both. We must get radical about God, and about walking in his precepts, and no longer live to please our sinful flesh. We must desire God above all else, and want nothing more than to walk in his righteousness and holiness. We have to hate sin, and what sin does to us and to those we love and/or who love us. If we don’t set our faces like flint, and we play with temptation, we will not gain the victory, and we will not be at peace, but will continually live in unrest for we know we are living out of the will of God.
So, what do you choose? I choose to walk in the ways of the Lord, and to not fulfill the desires of the flesh. I choose to continue to set my face like flint, and to remain pure in heart and mind. And, I choose to do what his Word says, even in the face of much persecution. Will you join me?
Blessed Are You / An Original Work / August 29, 2012
Based off Luke 6:20-49 NIV 1984
“Blessed are you; blessed are you
Who are poor for God’s kingdom is yours.
Blessed are you; blessed are you
Who are hungry, you’ll be satisfied.
Blessed are you; blessed are you
Who weep now, for you will laugh with joy.
Blessed are you; blessed are you
when men hate and reject you because of Christ.”
“Rejoice in that; rejoice in that day
And leap for joy; great your reward.
But I tell you; but I tell you
To love those who hate you; do them good.
Pray for those who; pray for those who
Treat you wrong and say kind things of them.
Do to others; do to others as you would
Have them do; have them do to you.”
“If you love those; if you love those
Who love you, what praise is there for you?
Because Christ is; because Christ is kind,
Be merciful, just like He is.
Forgive others; forgive others
Their offense against you; be ye kind.
Hear My words and; hear My words and
Put them into practice, then you’ll be fulfilled.”