This teaching by Pastor Barry was recorded at our family service on Sunday 25th September 2016. This is the 7th session in our verse-by-verse study of Psalm 119.
The first four verses of this Psalm outline God’s perfect standard for any who would truly follow Him, with a whole heart. The next four verses recall the hope we have that one day we will be conformed, transformed and renewed outwardly as well as inwardly. We will awake in the likeness of Christ (Psalm 17:15), and all the troubles, trials and temptations of this life will be past (1 Cor 15:53). But until that time we are to “walk by faith, not by sight”(2 Cor 5:7). We are to “walk in the Spirit, and not gratify the desires of the sinful nature”(Gal 5:16). We are to “walk worthy of the calling wherein we are called” (Eph 4:1).
But how? How are we to do this when we are continually wrestling against the world, the flesh and the devil?
The remainder of this Psalm is your guidebook to walking a life of victory! That may sound quite a claim, but this Psalm is the voice of experience. It has walked this path before and has been given to us by the Holy Spirit to be a companion on our journey, an instructor with Godly counsel.
In this study we look at the next two blocks of 8 verses, starting with the Hebrew letter Vau (verses 41-48) and then Zain (verses 49-56).
Regarding 41-48 Spurgeon comments: In these verses holy fear is apparent and prominent. The man of God trembles lest in any way or degree the Lord should remove his favour from him. The eight verses are one continued pleading for the abiding of grace in his soul, and it is supported by such holy arguments as would only suggest themselves to a spirit burning with love to God. CHS
There is a tangible growing in grace in these verses, as we see the Psalmist “forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead” (Phil 3:13)
There are two simple requests, “Let Your mercies come to me” and “Don’t take Your word from my mouth”. These pleas are supported with an appeal to God’s Word and His faithfulness. It is good to make promises God has already given the basis of our prayers, as He is unchanging and delights in keeping His covenants. “what He has promised He is able to perform” (Romans 4:21).
Note the progression and growing as the Psalmist goes on to state the result if God were to answer him: “so shall I…” (verse 42 & 44). “And I will walk…”(v45), “I will speak…”(v46), “And I will delight…”(v47), “and I will meditate…”(v48). If God acts we can follow, for we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!
Regarding verses 49-56, Spurgeon says the following: This octrain deals with the comfort of the word. It begins by seeking the main consolation, namely, the Lord’s fulfilment of his promise, and then it shows how the word sustains us under affliction, and makes us so impervious to ridicule that we are moved by the harsh conduct of the wicked rather to horror of their sin than to any submission to their temptations. We are then shown how the Scripture furnishes songs for pilgrims, and memories for night watchers; and the psalm concludes by the general statement that the whole of this happiness and comfort arises out of keeping the statutes of the Lord. CHS
Imagine climbing a rock face. Every movement of your hands and feet is precarious and you know you could easily slip and fall if you, even for a moment, take your eye off the rock. That has been our journey so far. Progress has been made in our spiritual walk because of keeping our eye firmly fixed on the Rock. But now, in this section, relief comes. It’s as if we’ve reached a plateau, a place of safety where we can stop and reflect for a moment, take a breath and ready ourselves to continue our climb.
Some years ago I had the opportunity to climb Snowdon in Wales. I still remember that burning sensation in my legs after an hour or two of climbing finding a long steep rocky path. I had my iPod with me and was listening to worship songs, which somehow made the climb easier.
At the top of the path everything levelled out and I stopped to wait for my climbing companions. I looked around and remember being amazed at all I could now see from this altitude.
I looked down on mountain lakes I had not been able to see from the ground; cars on the roads were barely visible, being just dots. There was a sense of achievement and I knew no one could ever take away from me what had already been accomplished. But there was also anticipation, as I looked up I could easily see that I had as far to go to reach the summit as I’d already travelled. But I’d come too far to turn back now, I might never get another chance.
In this section the Psalmist pauses to consider what has thus far been accomplished in his climb. He speaks three times of remembering; of the comfort he now has; of not slipping back; of the horror as he considers the valley he had come from; the comfort he’d found in songs of worship that had eased his way; and then concludes by stating ‘This is all now mine! This is my personal experience and no one and take it away from me. Whatever else may come, this I now have!’
May God bless you as you study His Word.