The Way of Your Statutes
Psalms 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.”
The Lord’s statutes (his law, his commandments) are his word, the Scriptures. We who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior hold to the books in the Bible (Genesis to Revelation) as being the divinely inspired word of God without error in its original manuscript. This is called the canon.
Some who profess faith in Jesus Christ also accept as Scripture the apocrypha, an additional fourteen books in a section between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Those who accept the canon only as Scripture believe the Bible contains 66 books, 39 in the OT and 27 in the NT.
The Bible contains books of the law, books of history, books of poetry (or wisdom), books of prophecy, the gospels, and the epistles. But not everything written in the Scriptures applies specifically to our lives today. Some was written as specific instructions to specific people of a specific era or situation, but those instructions are not for us today.
What I mean by this is that we, as believers in Jesus, are not under the Old Covenant God had with his children of old. But that doesn’t mean that none of it applies to us. A general rule of thumb is that if it is repeated for us believers in Jesus in the New Testament, then it is for us today.
Another rule of thumb to follow is that we must interpret Scripture in its context. Many false religions and false doctrines have stemmed from Scriptures taught outside of their context and made to say something they do not say or made to apply where they do not apply.
For example, don’t build your doctrine of salvation on Romans 10:9-10. Read all of the book of Romans and you will get the complete picture. Don’t apply John 10:28-30 to your life without looking at who it applies to in verse 27 and apply that. Don’t build your doctrine of salvation around Ephesians 2:8-9 absent of verse 10 and other verses like verse 10. And don’t apply 1 John 1:9 to your life without reading verses 5-8 and apply them, too.
Turn My Eyes From
Psalms 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.”
The Scriptures, whether in the Old Testament or in the New Testament, teach us that we must leave our lives of sin to follow God/Jesus in obedience to his will and to his ways and that we must honor him as Lord of our lives. This is the essence of the message of the gospel (1 Pet 2:24; Rom 6:1-23).
But it isn’t just sins like lying, cheating, gossiping, adultery, lust, idolatry, and immorality that we must forsake. We are to turn our eyes from looking at worthless things, in the power of God’s Spirit living within us. We must not spend a lot of time wasted on what is worthless in the sight of God.
Now, I am not saying that we must all live in monasteries completely removed from this world. Although we are called to be holy, and to be separate (unlike, different) from the world, God has called us to go out into the world and to shine his light and to love people and minister to them.
But what I am saying is that Jesus called us to be his possession, to surrender our lives to him, to do his will, and to serve him wherever he sends us. Our lives are no longer our own to be lived however we desire, but we belong to Jesus now, so our lives are his to do what he wants.
Therefore, we should not be spending time we could be spending on what has worth in God’s sight on just watching junk. It doesn’t even have to be immoral, but just worthless, just a waste of time that could be spent on serving the Lord or ministering God’s love and grace to others.
Also, as servants of the Lord who are his possession, who are to now honor God with our lives, we are not to live for selfish gain. We certainly should not do things for others hoping for recognition or for some kind of recompense unless it is understood that our work is for money so we can pay bills.
We shouldn’t be selfish people who think only of ourselves and what we can get out of situations, but our thoughts should be for pleasing our Lord and for ministering God’s love and grace to others. When we deliberately sin against our Lord and against others, especially habitually, that is entirely selfish and thinks only of fulfilling one’s own lustful desires.
Confirm to Your Servant
Psalms 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!”
There are many promises made by God in Scripture, but we need to read them in their context, and then compare them with other like Scriptures, to make certain that we are not claiming promises from God wrongly or which are not specifically for us as followers of Jesus Christ.
This one particularly comes to mind: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
Many Christians today are quoting this promise from God to their lives today with the idea that God is going to prosper them financially and that no harm will ever befall them, and that only what will make them feel good is in their future. But is that the correct context?
The context was God’s people living in open rebellion against the Lord, living in idolatry and in immorality. Jeremiah was called of God to call them to repentance and to warn them of judgment if they did not repent. But the people continued in their rebellious ways.
So, God sent judgment on them, just as he had promised (not all promises are good news). And they were in captivity for 70 years. So, the promise was saying that after the 70 years of judgment, which God had promised and that he fulfilled, then he would release them from their captivity in Babylon and he would bring them home, for his intention was not for them to be in captivity forever but to give them a future and a hope.
So, if we are going to apply that promise to our lives today, we must see that God’s plans for us are that we leave our lives of sin behind us to follow him in obedience to his ways, and that we honor him as Lord of our lives. And our hope and our future are that we can now live in freedom from slavery to sin and we can walk in holiness and righteousness in God’s Spirit.
And if we walk (in conduct, in practice) not according to our sinful flesh, but according to the Spirit, then we have eternal life with God. But if we continue in deliberate and habitual sin against our Lord, that will end in death, with us dying in our sins because we did not die to our sins.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 3:4-10]
Seek the Lord
An Original Work / July 20, 2012
Based off Isaiah 55
“Come to Me all you who thirst; come to waters.
Listen to Me, and eat what’s good today,
And your soul will delight in richest of fare.
Give ear to Me, and you will live.
I have made an eternal covenant with you.
Wash in the blood of the Lamb.”
Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him.
Let the wicked forsake his way, in truth.
Let him turn to the Lord, and he will receive mercy.
Freely, God pardons him.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,”
declares the Lord, our God.
“My word that goes out of My mouth is truthful.
It will not return to Me unfulfilled.
My word will accomplish all that I desire,
And achieve the goal I intend.
You will go in joy and be led forth in peace.
The mountains will burst into song… before you,
And all of the trees clap their hands.”