Welcome to His Encouragement Thursday!
This week I am going to begin a series on Psalm 119.
For those who may not know, Psalm 119 is broken down into 22 stanzas and each stanza begins with one letter from the Hebrew Alphabet. Each stanza is broken up into 8 verses for a total of 176 verses. It is the longest Psalm in the Psaltry. And, Psalm 119 is an example of an acrostic, which is a poem where the first letter of each verse spells out a word, message, or follows the alphabet. In this case, Psalm 119 follows the Hebrew Alphabet.
My goal with this series is not lofty. I am not an expert on Psalm 119. I just love its symmetry and message, and I want to share that with you over the next 22 weeks. Perhaps I will be able to share some insight, some interesting tidbits and facts, or just some thoughts on how the verses strike me. My true goal is that this series is an extra encouragement to you, and helps you end your week strong in God’s love and purpose for you. I hope you enjoy and are blessed!
Psalm 119: 9-16
Beth (the letter B; you say this word like the word bait)
How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to Your Word.
With my whole heart I seek You; let me not wander from Your commandments!
I have stored up Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.
Blessed are You, O Lord; teach me Your statutes!
With my lips I declare all the rules of Your mouth.
In the way of Your testimonies I delight as much in all riches.
I will meditate on Your precepts and fix my eyes on Your ways.
I will delight in Your statutes; I will not forget Your Word.
Psalm 119 is all about hearing and doing the Scriptures.
God’s commandments are still important today.
Do they save us? Of course not. Jesus is the only way to salvation. BUT, God’s commandments still serve a great purpose, and that purpose is to help guide our walk with the Lord.
Rules are guidelines and principles that govern our conduct in a particular sphere or environment. One set of rules in a church may not be appropriate for a school setting during recess. But both places adhere to a set of rules. Otherwise, chaos arises, especially at school during recess. LOL!
The purpose of a rule is to be an established line of conduct. When we go over that line, when we disobey, the rule becomes a metaphorical mirror showing us the error of our ways. Once we know we’ve missed the mark, we then know we need to ask for forgiveness so we can get back on track — on the right track God wants us to walk.
God’s commandments are not meant to be a heavy burden. They are markers we can use to help fix our eyes on God as best we can here on earth.
Let’s look at one of God’s rules for us. One of the Ten Commandments is “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Deuteronomy 5:7 ESV). Me is obviously God. So, in layman’s terms, God is saying to us to make Him first in our lives. Nothing should come before Him. Yes, we should love our husbands and wives and children and best friends and grandmas and grandpas and sisters and brothers. Yes, we should appreciate our jobs, homes, cars, etc. And, yes, it is fun to have things: books, TVs, coffee makers, the latest computers and other electronic gadgets. BUT, none of these people or things should ever come before God. God should be first. That is His rule.
If we take a moment to reflect on ourselves in just this past week, how many times have we put others and other things before God? Have we felt the niggle in our heart to take a moment with God, but chose to ignore that niggle saying, “I’ll do it later”? If you are like me, and your recent weeks have been filled with the chaos that is working from home, having to play teacher to an 8-year old, having to make food for your family ALL day long and then clean up after those food-making sessions, and taking care of things around the house now that you are there 24/7, then perhaps, like me, you are guilty of having put off time with God. If you are like me, then we have to admit to ourselves and to God that we have missed the mark. We have broken Deuteronomy 5:7.
Does this mean we’ve lost salvation and now we are going to Hell? Absolutely not. It just means that we need to go to God, admit to Him our sin, apologize with our whole heart, and make a better effort to make God first in our lives from now on. God is a forgiving God. He is merciful. He looks at our hearts. As soon as we say a heartfelt sorry that sin is GONE. The rule is there in order for us to adequately gauge where we stand in relationship to God. When we are in good standing, we keep walking in righteousness. When we are not-so-good in our standing with Him, we go to God and ask for forgiveness, and then we get back on His track. The rule really is meant to be as simple as that. It’s us humans that complicate matters with guilt and anger and pride and selfishness.
According to this section of Psalm 119, we can keep our ways pure by being in God’s Word every day. By making God our first and foremost. By having a relationship with Him. When we do consistently, our walks are right. We do not wander away.
Today, God has put it upon my heart to beg you to look within and ask yourself, “Have you put others or things before God this week?” If your answer is, “Yes,” don’t be ashamed. Just go to God. He’s waiting with open arms! If your answer is, “No,” keep being you, keep walking that good path with Jesus!
NOW, IT’S YOUR TURN!
WHAT BIBLICAL VERSE IS ENCOURAGING YOU TODAY?
Check out more Thursday Encouragement from my fellow blogger friends:
Trisha @ Joy of Reading
Jacquelyn @ A Heavenly Home
Jessica @ A Baker’s Perspective
Becca @ The Becca Files
Gina @ Stories by Gina
Rebecca @ Rev. Rebecca Writes
Andi @ Radiant Light
Leslie @ Words of Hope
Claudia @ Claudia Moser