I read Psalm 119:17-24 ESV
Do you ever feel an overwhelming sadness in your heart which you just can’t quite put into words? You have the heart of God, and you feel deeply what he feels, but these feelings also come from your own experiences in life, the things God has taken you through, and the lessons you have learned through them. So, it was for your good that you went through them, or that you are still going through these trials, and yet the circumstances are sad in and of themselves, and thus they burden your heart, and they bring tears to your eyes.
You know God has it all worked out for good, so you know good is going to come from it, but, in the meanwhile, it makes you sad to see what you see and to feel what you feel, especially if, sometimes, you feel you are all alone, with no other human beside you, though you know God is with you.
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 believe the psalmist here is heavy of heart over some things he is seeing, feeling or experiencing. And, so he is asking God to be gracious to him, God’s servant.
Although it is good to feel what God feels, and to be burdened over the things he is burdened over, it is not good if we remain in that state of sadness, for it can overwhelm us. And, it can bring us down to the point to where we lose hope, and that is not the place we want to be. So, when we are in this state of sadness, we need to look up to God, call on him in our sadness, and ask for his favor (his grace) to meet us in our time of need. And, he knows exactly what we need even before we ask.
The psalmist asked for God’s favor, for God’s grace to help him in his time of need, in order that he might live and keep (obey) God’s Word.
We can get so sad, at times, that we may even despair of life, and that is not good! Or, it may be that we just get depressed, and we lose all interest in the things which use to bring us joy and fulfillment. Or, maybe we just give up on our dreams and our hopes altogether, because we decide they are not going to happen anyway. Do you identify?
So, in essence, if this is where we are, we are not really living, not in the way God intended, with the fullness of God’s Spirit living the life of Christ out through us. So, we need the Lord to refresh our spirits, to open our eyes to his truths, to fill us with hope, and to assure us of his promises, so that we can live in the power of God’s Spirit within us, despite our circumstances, and so that we continue to walk in faithful obedience to his commands.
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.
Part of this sadness, I believe, is based in the reality that we are sojourners on this earth, i.e. that we are aliens, strangers and outsiders. We don’t fit in. Yet, we are not supposed to fit in with the world. We are to come out from among them and be separate, and not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. So, why should this make us sad? It is because many of us don’t fit in with the church, either. So, we don’t fit anywhere. We are like outsiders even among other believers (or professing believers) in Jesus Christ, and that is really sad! So, why is this happening, do you think?
I believe it is because so much of today’s church has adopted the ways, customs, values, philosophies, attitudes, teachings and behaviors of the world, so that it is indistinguishable between the church and the world, for the most part, at least here in America. Much of the church of today has turned the church into a man-made business, and is running it just like a business, with man as its head, instead of Christ. And, so their goal is often to please their customer base, rather than to please the Lord.
So, if our souls are consumed with longing for God’s precepts, i.e. for his Word, i.e. for his instructions, encouragements, and warnings, and for his righteousness and holiness, then we won’t fit in with today’s modern church, and they will be all too glad, sometimes, to point this out to us, and to help us find someplace where we will be a “better fit,” they say. So, what about the fact that we are not supposed to say to another part of the body, “I have no need of you”? They don’t care. They want us out, because they don’t want people with “strong convictions,” although biblical convictions, at that.
You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones,
who wander from your commandments.
Take away from me scorn and contempt,
for I have kept your testimonies.
In my experience, it is not just the unsaved who are insolent and who wander from God’s commands, but it is some of those who say they are saved, and it is some of those who are saved, and who believe in Jesus Christ, who are insulting God’s grace by their attitudes, words and behaviors. I’ve been there, done that, so I know from experience. We can show disrespect to God’s commandments when we choose to ignore them and to go our own way, especially if we then make excuses for our sin, claiming God’s grace covers it all, so it doesn’t matter what we do.
So, if you are presently wandering from his commandments (his teachings; his instructions), God wants to bring you back. Thus, if you are truly his, he will discipline (rebuke, chastise) you in order that you may share in his holiness, and so that, when you have been trained by his disciplines, you will bear fruit in keeping with his righteousness (See: Heb. 12:1-13).
And, if this is where you are, then I pray today that you will yield control of your life over to God – to Jesus Christ – and that you will submit to his will for your life, and that you will walk in obedience to his Word from this moment on. This is not to say that you will never sin again (1 Jn. 2:1-2), but that sin should no longer have mastery over your life. Jesus Christ should be your ONLY Lord (master-owner).
Even though princes sit plotting against me,
your servant will meditate on your statutes.
Your testimonies are my delight;
they are my counselors.
Yet, it isn’t just inside the modern man-driven church that we will face rejection, if we are truly consumed with longing for God’s Word. World leaders are against many of us, too, because we hold to the truths of God’s Word, and we don’t compromise with the world. And, they are definitely plotting evil against us, because they want to bring the whole world together as one, under one totalitarian regime and a one-world religion.
So, they are making a strong case against what they term as “religious extremism,” which includes those of us who teach the full gospel message, i.e. the whole counsel of God, and who hold on to Christ’s righteousness and holiness to guide what we do, think, say and are. They are, thus, calling us “extremists, bigoted, hateful, and intolerant” because we don’t bow to their humanistic philosophies, and because we hold that God’s Word is truth, and that it is the rule of life by which we should pattern our lives.
I am not saying, nonetheless, that we should have to obey all the Old Testament laws, but that we should follow the teachings of Christ and of his NT apostles, which are summarized for us in two laws: 1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind, and 2. Love your neighbor as yourself. This love, though, is not human love, but it is divine love, which prefers what God prefers, which is what is upright, moral, pure, honest, decent, faithful, honorable and righteous, etc. So, if we love God, we will do what he says, and if we love others, we will do them no harm, but good.
My Jesus, My Savior / Michael W. Smith
My Jesus, My Savior,
Lord there is no one like you,
All of my days, I want to praise
The wonders of Your mighty love.
My comfort, my shelter,
Tower of refuge and strength
Let every breath, all that I am
Never cease to worship You…
Thursday, November 16, 2017, 7:03 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for these words which you have spoken to my heart today, and for bringing this song to my mind as I awoke this morning. I praise you, and I thank you!