Psalm 119:33-35 ESV
Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes;
and I will keep it to the end.
Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
and observe it with my whole heart.
Lead me in the path of your commandments,
for I delight in it.
We need the Lord to teach us the way of his statutes, for many people take his statutes (the Word of God) out of context to make them say what they want them to say. Some people do this to excuse away their own sins and rebellion against God. And, some folks do this to heap abuse on other people. And, so they will “cherry pick” scriptures to force compliance in others while they themselves are slaves to depravity.
For example, there is much talk these days within the government and within the gatherings of the church with regard to “unity.” And, within the church, many leaders and pastors will guilt-trip people toward this unity by reading them scriptures which talk about unity and disunity. Nonetheless, a lot of the unity they speak of is unity with the philosophies and business goals of men in their deceitful scheming, and it is not unity with God and with his holiness and righteousness.
And, then there are some husbands who will pick out the scriptures about wives being submissive in order to abuse their spouses, while they completely ignore the scriptures which teach how they must love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. So, they end up using the Word of God as a weapon to heap abuse on their spouses or on their children while they are grossly disobeying the scriptures themselves.
And, then, too, there are leaders within the church who will harp on their parishioners’ needs to submit to their authority while they are not in submission to the authority of God themselves, and while they are requiring of their people what is not of God and is not in accord with His Word. Thus, we need our Lord to teach us His Word in its fullness so that we are not led astray by those who would twist the scriptures to their advantage.
Yes, we are to obey those in authority over us. But, there are exceptions to that rule. If those in authority over us are requiring us to disobey God, or to sin against God, and to do what is illegal or immoral, or what would be denying our Lord, or what might lead us into sin, or what might cause us to participate with others in their sins, then we don’t have to obey men. For, we answer to a higher authority. We must obey God rather than men.
And, it isn’t just men who take advantage of others. But, men are usually the ones in authority over women in the church and in the home, for that is how God set it up. And, there is much abuse of authority which goes on, too, in the name of God, and in the name of the church, and by “cherry picking” scriptures to use them to inflict abuse on those weaker or who are naïve or who don’t know the scriptures. And, this brings many people back under a yoke of slavery when Jesus Christ died to set them free from all that.
So, we need to know the scriptures. We need to study the scriptures in context, and we need to compare scripture with scripture so that we get the whole big picture and not just parts of scriptures taken out of context or that are “cherry picked” to give one aspect of a truth while ignoring the bulk of teaching on the same subject. For, we don’t want to end up being led to follow men over God or to be led into sin thinking we are doing right.
Psalm 119:36-37 ESV
Incline my heart to your testimonies,
and not to selfish gain!
Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
and give me life in your ways.
We should never use (abuse) the Word of God for selfish gain, although many do. And, we should not have our hearts inclined toward selfish gain, either, while we ignore the commands of God. God and His Word are not to be used and abused and taken advantage of so that we can get what we want, which ends up being contrary to God and to His Word.
And, we should not have our hearts and minds focused on getting what this world has to offer us in the way of wealth, notoriety, and acceptance, or in the way of entertainment and worldly and fleshly pleasures, either. But, our hearts and minds should be focused on hearing the Word of God in its fullness (the whole counsel of God) and on doing what it says.
And, we should desire that our eyes, minds, hearts and ears are turned away from worthless things. And, “worthless things” may or may not be sinful in themselves, but if our hearts, minds, eyes and ears are focused towards them, and if we are ignoring the commands of God, and we are just doing what our selfish hearts desire, then we are dishonoring God.
Instead, we should desire God and His Word and to walk in His ways and in His truth. We should hunger and thirst for righteousness and not for the pleasures that this world has to offer us. For, Jesus died on that cross many years ago that we might die with him to sin and live with him to righteousness. He died, too, that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us (1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15, 21).
Psalm 119:38-40 ESV
Confirm to your servant your promise,
that you may be feared.
Turn away the reproach that I dread,
for your rules are good.
Behold, I long for your precepts;
in your righteousness give me life!
Not only are men and women guilty of abusing the Word of God to their advantage, but Satan, who knows the scriptures intellectually, will also use the Word of God as a weapon against us in order to censure us. He will pull scriptures out of context and he will “cherry pick” scriptures which he will use to try to guilt-trip us into following him instead of us following God.
So, we will need, at times, when the enemy is fiercely attacking us, to have God confirm his Word to us, his servants. And, that is why it is good to underline and date scriptures, or to journal, or to have a place where we record scriptures which have been meaningful to us. For, when Satan throws his fiery darts at us to accuse us falsely, then we can take up that armor of God and use that Sword of the Spirit to fight off his evil attacks.
For, Satan is the author of confusion and the father of lies. And, he loves to use scripture to cause confusion in our minds and to get us to doubt what God has previously taught us. So, we need to have the truth of God’s Word regularly and consistently reinforced in our minds and in our hearts so that we don’t lose sight of what God has for us, and then be led astray by the enemy of our souls in his deceitful scheming.
Psalm 119:41-42, 46 ESV
Let your steadfast love come to me, O Lord,
your salvation according to your promise;
then shall I have an answer for him who taunts me,
for I trust in your word.
I will also speak of your testimonies before kings
and shall not be put to shame.
When we are under attack by the enemy, Satan, or by those who are following him, who are under his control, we must look to God to be our help, our counselor and our support. We must let his steadfast love for us comfort our hearts and minds in our suffering. And, we must trust Him to give us the words that we need to say in response, and we must guard against responding quickly and in the flesh.
For, if we are following our Lord in obedience to his will, to the best of our understanding, he will give us the correct response to those who taunt us, or to those who are looking to trip us up and to trap us with our words. We just need to be careful not to be quick to speak and then end up speaking from our flesh rather than from the Spirit. We need to rely on the wisdom of God in these times, and let the Spirit speak through us, for our Lord will give us what we need to say, for he is our helper, and he is on our side.
God is With Us
An Original Work / June 11, 2019
Based off Psalm 46
God’s our refuge. He is our strength,
A present help to us when in pain.
Therefore, we will not be afraid,
Although the earth beneath us gives way.
Though the mountains be moved to the sea,
Roaring waters abound so free,
And the mountains now tremble so,
We will not fear, God is near, we know.
God is with us and He makes glad
The hearts of all who to Christ have fled.
Christ is in us, so we’ll not fall
When on our Savior our hearts do call.
God will help us, as mornings arise,
To be faithful to His design.
Nations raging, and tempers flare.
Our God is with us. We know He cares.
Come and see the works of the Lord.
He’s armed for battle with His great sword.
He’s the Word, and He is the Life.
He gives us strength in all of our strife.
Be still and know that He is our God.
He’s exalted where’er He trods.
The Lord Almighty, with us still;
The God of Jacob, our citadel.
Sunday, August 11, 2019