My Soul Keeps Them
Psalms 119:129-131 ESV
“Your testimonies are wonderful;
therefore my soul keeps them.
The unfolding of your words gives light;
it imparts understanding to the simple.
I open my mouth and pant,
because I long for your commandments.”
Some people have this idea that under the New Covenant we don’t have to obey the commandments of our Lord. But anything from the Old Covenant that is repeated for us under the New Covenant we must still obey. God’s moral laws never went away. Honoring God as holy, loving him, and loving others never went away, either.
But is that the right attitude to have to think that under the New Covenant that we don’t have to obey our Lord? Shouldn’t the Lord’s commands to us, his people, under the New Covenant, be our delight? Shouldn’t we love his commands? Shouldn’t we see that they are based in love for us, for God, and for others? So, they are for our good?
Yes, we don’t have to obey all the Old Covenant liturgical, ceremonial, and purification laws the Jews had to obey. And that includes the keeping of the Sabbath. For Jesus and our salvation from sin are now our Sabbath rest, for we rest in our Lord and in what he did for us on that cross, and in our deliverance from sin, and in our new lives of righteousness in him.
But that doesn’t mean that, as followers of Jesus, we no longer have to obey our Lord. We do! But we shouldn’t do so begrudgingly, murmuring under our breath, wishing that we didn’t have to obey. We should view our Lord’s commands to us as wonderful, and as light to show us the right way to go, and as wisdom and understanding, so we should desire to obey him.
In fact, we should long for his commandments. We should hunger and thirst after righteousness and after the word of our Lord. We should look forward to time spent with our Lord in his word, studying his teachings, and then in walks of faith and obedience to him because we love him, and because we love his word, and because we want to do what pleases him.
Be Gracious to Me
Psalms 119:132-134 ESV
“Turn to me and be gracious to me,
as is your way with those who love your name.
Keep steady my steps according to your promise,
and let no iniquity get dominion over me.
Redeem me from man’s oppression,
that I may keep your precepts.”
Even though we have trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we have been cleansed of our sins, and we have been given new lives in Christ Jesus our Lord to be lived for him and for his righteousness, we still live in flesh bodies. We still have a propensity to sin against God. So, we must pray the Lord will keep steady our steps.
Now, this doesn’t mean that Jesus does it all and that we do nothing. The Bible doesn’t teach that. Yes, we are not saved from sin via our own fleshly works which we decide to do for our Lord. We cannot earn our salvation via good deeds. But our salvation from sin isn’t absent of good deeds, but they are the works of God which he prepared for us to walk in them.
But since we are still flesh and blood, we need the Lord to give us the wisdom and strength and power of God’s Spirit which we need to resist Satan and to flee temptation and to draw near to God. For, God’s grace trains us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s return.
So, when we are asking the Lord to be gracious to us, we are asking for his help and guidance, and we are asking him to intervene for us in circumstances beyond our control, and we are asking for strength and wisdom and determination to obey him and to not stray from him and from his ways. For, he is our helper.
We also need help in knowing how to respond to those who oppress us so that we do not fail to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord. And oppression isn’t always people being antagonistic towards us, although we will face that, too. For, they can oppress us via manipulation, persuasion, trickery and deception, so we need our Lord’s help in not giving in to that, either.
My Eyes Shed Tears
Psalms 119:135-136 ESV
“Make your face shine upon your servant,
and teach me your statutes.
My eyes shed streams of tears,
because people do not keep your law.”
When we are in genuine relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, and we are following in his ways, in doing what he says, in practice, as a matter of life course, we are going to grow in love with him and we are going to be united with him in mind and purpose, and we are going to love what he loves and hate what he hates, and we are going to have his heart and passion, too.
Therefore, our eyes will shed streams of tears because people do not follow the Lord in obedience to his ways, but they continue living in sin, in sinning against others, in doing what is harming them and their relationships. Our hearts will weep just watching them live for sin and self without regard for God or for who they hurt in the process.
We will weep over the sins of others which do damage to marriages and families and to their own lives and to other relationships, and which keep them from submitting to the Lord with their lives. Just looking into the eyes of those steeped in sin should sadden our hearts to see how much the enemy of our souls has captivated their minds and hearts.
It is especially grievous when it is someone who claims to be a brother or a sister in Christ, who puts on a show of righteousness for an audience, while they are secretly sinning against God and against their spouses, and against their families and their church family, and while they are hurting themselves because they refuse to deny self and to die with Christ daily to sin.
If we are not grieving over sin, then there is something wrong with us. If it does not break our hearts to watch our fellow Christians living in sin, ignoring God’s commands, excusing away their sinful lifestyles, and ruining their lives and their relationships with others, then something is wrong. We need to be those who weep over such sin as this.
Living by Faith
Lyrics by James Wells, 1918
v. 4 by Robert E. Winsett, 1918
Music by J. L. Heath, 1918
I care not today what the morrow may bring,
If shadow or sunshine or rain,
The Lord I know ruleth o’er everything,
And all of my worries are vain.
Living by faith in Jesus above,
Trusting, confiding in His great love;
From all harm safe in His sheltering arm,
I’m living by faith and feel no alarm.
Though tempests may blow and the storm clouds arise,
Obscuring the brightness of life,
I’m never alarmed at the overcast skies—
The Master looks on at the strife.
I know that He safely will carry me through,
No matter what evils betide;
Why should I then care though the tempest may blow,
If Jesus walks close to my side.
Our Lord will return for His loved ones someday,
Our troubles will then all be o’er;
The Master so gently will lead us away,
Beyond that blest heavenly shore.
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