Tuesday, November 7, 2017, 4:44 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “I’ll Walk with God.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 119:65-72 (NASB).
Teach Me (vv. 65-66)
You have dealt well with Your servant,
O Lord, according to Your word.
Teach me good discernment and knowledge,
For I believe in Your commandments.
When I think of God as having dealt well with me, or having done good to me, I can’t help but think of his grace. God, who is rich in mercy, sent his Only Begotten Son into the world to die on a cross for our sins. When Jesus Christ, God the Son, was crucified on that cross, he who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. When we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, we die with him to sin, and we are resurrected with him to new lives, in Christ Jesus. The old has gone; the new has come. Thus, he set me free from sin, he delivered me out of darkness, and he brought me into his wonderful light. He removed the sackcloth, and he clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to him and not be silent.
But, his grace did not end there. His grace and mercies are new to me each day. He not only saved me from my sins, but he set me free from slavery to sin so that I might walk in his righteousness, in his truth, and in his ways. And, there is no better way to live than walking in the ways of the Lord. Each new day he has something he wants to teach me. He shows me places in my life where I need maturing or strengthening, or where I need to let go of something and trust him in those circumstances. The Christian life is a process, in other words, of daily communion with our Lord, listening to him speak to our hearts, and then walking in obedience to what he shows us – all in his power, wisdom and strength, which he bestows upon us.
Before and After (vv. 67-68, 71-72)
Before I was afflicted I went astray,
But now I keep Your word.
You are good and do good;
Teach me Your statutes.
It is good for me that I was afflicted,
That I may learn Your statutes.
The law of Your mouth is better to me
Than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
Although, when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we die with him to sin, and we are given new lives in him, to be lived to his glory, we still live in flesh bodies. We still have a propensity to sin. Yet, sin should no longer have dominion in our lives. We should not be ruled by it. We should not have sin addictions. We should not walk in its ways. But, that is not to say that we will never sin (See: 1 Jn. 2:1-2). But, when we do sin, we have an advocate to the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous. But, this does not mean that God now looks the other way when we sin, or that he doesn’t notice, or that our sin no longer matters to him. It does!
So, the Bible teaches us that God disciplines those he loves. He chastises, rebukes, and scourges us. He allows us to go through tough stuff in order to make us holy, to conform us to his likeness, and to mature us in Christ and in our walks of faith. Through trials and tribulations, we learn to rely upon God and not on ourselves. God is pruning us. He is purifying us. He is also teaching us compassion so that we can encourage others with the encouragement we received from Him when we are going through life’s difficulties. We, as well, learn patience and perseverance, and we grow in the character of Christ. And, for those of us who have been trained by his discipline, it produces in us the fruit of his righteousness. So, this is for our good, that we may learn his ways, and that we may walk in them.
The Arrogant (vv. 69-70)
The arrogant have forged a lie against me;
With all my heart I will observe Your precepts.
Their heart is covered with fat,
But I delight in Your law.
Nonetheless, walking in the ways of the Lord is not accepted by everyone as a good thing. There will be those, even within the church, who will be jealous of us, and who will resent us, hate us, reject us, speak evil against us and will persecute us, and all because we follow in the ways of God and we walk in his truth. This is not to say, though, that people won’t reject us because of things we have done in the flesh that were not good, or because they just don’t like something about us that has nothing to do with our faith. That will most certainly happen, too, as we are all human. But, as followers of Christ, if we are doing what He says, we will be hated and persecuted.
The sad reality in all of this, though, is that often much of this persecution and rejection comes from people within the church who are supposed to also be walking in the ways of the Lord. But, many are not. Many people who call themselves Christians are not much different from those who make no claims to faith in Christ, at all. Much of today’s modern church here in America has gone the way of the world, and thus they have incorporated worldly practices into the gatherings of the church and into church administration, and many of our church pastors/elders are even discouraging repentance, obedience and submission to Christ. They would rather keep things light and fluffy so that church is fun for everyone, because they want to draw in large crowds of people, their customer base.
Yet, we should not let this discourage or dishearten us. This is not to say we will not be hurt by these rejections and persecutions, but that our God will heal our hurts, if we will let him. He is our comforter, our encourager and our strength in such troubled times as this. And, having gone through these times of rejection, we should become even stronger in our faith and in our determination and commitments to keep hearing God’s voice, and to keep following in his ways, even if an army is raised up against us, and even if we feel as though, sometimes, that we are all alone, and that no one is walking with us. It is then we must know that our Lord will never leave us or forsake us, for if we are walking with him, we are not walking alone, ever!
I’ll Walk with God
Nikolaus Brodszky / Paul Francis Webster
I’ll walk with God
From this day on
His helping hand I’ll lean upon…
And I’ll never walk alone
While I walk with God