One of my assignments for this week is to contrast secular contentment with biblical contentment. I have to confess, I have little contentment and joy with this writing class. In fact, taking this class reminds me of how much I hated scholastic writing when I was younger!
The weather where I live is finally starting to feel like Spring. My Okame Cherry tree is starting to bud; yet, I am a malcontent. Everywhere I turn people (myself included) are trying to process how to deal with all the changes that are occurring in our world.
Contentment is truly a learned behavior. Patience is definitely not the first word (nor the top 50 words) that my family and friends would use to describe me. If they were also asked to rate my level of contentment, it would also be really, really low.
We all know the Apostle Paul learned to be content with little or with much (Phil 4:11-12). Contentment is the context of Philippians 4:13 where Paul can do all things through Christ who strengthens him. I will be honest, I keep preaching to myself, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things (Phil 4:8 ESV); yet my mind is still set on myself and not God.
I praise God there will be a day when all this discontentment, anger and strife will cease. I praise God for the fact that the Kingdom that is coming has NO room for invaders, usurpers, exploiters, oppressors and con artists. I praise God that even when I am a malcontent that the Holy Spirit continues to call me to Himself.
Please folks, do NOT think that I have it all together! The person that I am online, is the same in person. God hates falsity and I do not ever want to have to stand before the Lord and hear Him say that my walk, talk and presence were inconsistent.
There is much in this world to dislike. Each day I am reminded of how little control I have over anything. Areas like thoughts and emotions where God calls me to exercise self-control, I am failing. I know that God is good. I know that God is Sovereign and that God is in control. Even though I absolutely loathe this one class, I know that God will help me see me through.
The greatest indictment on my demeanor at this moment is that I am choosing to have a mindset of a person who has no hope. I tell myself all the time that Christ is enough for me. But if that were true, I would be content “both in [my] circumstances and with [my] circumstances” (S. Ferguson, emphasis original).
Dear reader, how present is contentment in your life?!
Lord God, thank You for Your grace and mercy! Thank You Lord that You are greater than our fears, anxieties and circumstances. Lord God, help Your people to look to You rather than our circumstances. Lord God, help us to trust You as this world spirals more and more out of control. Lord God, as geopolitical alliances change daily, help us to focus on Your Kingdom that is coming, and not on the kingdoms of the world. Lord God, I ask that You bring more people to Yourself through these events. Lord God, help those who are truly lost and hopeless to know they have a hope and home in Christ. Lord God, may we never forget that it is in Christ and for Christ that we live, breathe and have our being. Lord God, thank You for this reader. Lord God, help this reader to cling to You today. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.
My reading today was from Numbers 6 and the Nazirite vow (vv 1-21). When I think of the Nazirite vow, I think of Samson (Judges 13) and John the Baptist (Luke 1:15-17) who were Nazirites for life (Samuel was also under the vow in 1 Samuel 1). I also think of Paul being temporarily under the Nazirite vow in Acts (vv 18:18; 21:17-26). I have heard people try to connect Nazirite with Nazarene and in the Hebrew it is very clear that Nazirite is not at all affiliated with the Nazarenes or the place of Nazareth.
“And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When either a man or a woman makes a special vow, the vow of a Nazirite, to separate himself to the LORD…” (Num 6:1-2). “The term Nazirite describes the person who has marked out a specific period for personal separation or consecration, a special time for unusual devotion to God. This text speaks of a restricted period of time for the Nazirite vow, though some persons took the vow for a lifetime” (R. Allen, Numbers REBC, 2012, p. 138).
I have read Numbers 6 NUMEROUS times and NEVER noticed that women were included in making this extraordinaryvow to the Lord. “Though issues related to women are often subsumed under the heading of man (=humankind), the context explicitly emphasizes the potential of women entering into this consecration service to Yahweh. Women could not serve as priests in the Israelite cultus, but this manner of service was open to them and could fulfill their desire for holiness and special service to the Lord” (R.D. Cole, Numbers NAC, 2000, p. 121).
What were those under the Nazirite vow separating themselves from? “(1) absolute abstinence from all produce of the vine, (2) total forswearing of trimming of (and likely all caring for) the hair, and (3) utter separation from contamination by any contact with a dead body. Thus three areas of life were regulated for the Nazirite during the period of his vow: diet (ordinary pleasure), appearance (ordinary care), and associations (ordinary obligation). Every Israelite was under regulations in these general areas, but for the Nazirite each of these regulations was heightened” (Allen, pp. 138-139).
Numbers 30:1-16 does give fathers of young women and husbands permission to cancel/oppose a woman’s vow to the Lord. I am fascinated by the Bible resources that I have that do NOT mention that women are included in the Nazirite vow in Numbers 6; to not mention this is dishonest to the text.
This also has me wondering what would it look like for Israelite women to make a Nazirite vow?! Premenstral young women or postmenopausal women would be free to make this vow unless their fathers or husbands opposed it. Women of menstruating age would have to be VERY sensitive to the timing of this vow so as to not conflict with purity rituals, cleanness laws etc.
I need to do more research on this because, I am really curious to learn how often pregnant Israelite women would have made/put themselves under a Nazirite vow to the Lord?! Pregnant women would have months to devote themselves to the Lord without having to deal with their monthly period. Manoah’s wife (Samson’s mom) was put under the Nazirite vow by the angel of the Lord in which she was to be careful to not drink strong drink, to not eat anything unclean and to not eat anything that comes from the vine (see Judges 13:4, 7, 14).
I am so glad the Lord brought this to my attention today! I have often wondered about the vows Jewish women would have made in the Ancient Near East (ANE). While I am glad that women were able to partake in the Nazarite vow, I am SO glad and thankful that women TODAY have even more access to the Triune God by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.
Lord God, thank You that the path to salvation is made clear in Your Word. Thank You Lord that what You began in the Old Testament (Covenant) is now completed in the New! Lord God, thank You and praise You for women! Thank You for the unique giftings and experiences that You have given women to glorify You and serve Your people, leading the lost to Christ. Lord God, thank You and praise You there will be NO sex and gender disputes in Heaven! Lord God, thank You for ALL the godly men in the world who are doing their best to live for You in this darkening world. Lord God, help Your men to lead well. Lord God, may Your people, males and females help each other to make You known in this lost and dying world. Thank You Lord for this reader! Thank You for their grace and patience with me as I share what You have put on my heart. Lord, lead this reader today. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.
In less than 2.5 hours I will be heading to airport to begin my journey home (this time I will fly from LAX to Charlotte and from there fly to Harrisburg). This has been an incredible five days. I have experienced more love, hospitality and joy than I ever imagined! I came to love and serve and instead I was loved and served.
I am so thankful for the youth that I was able to meet on Sunday at church! That was an emotional moment! For the past year I have prayed for these young people and participated in online study with them and now I was able to give them a hug in the flesh! Thank you Jesus! This whole experience reminds me the church is so much more than we realize. There is our local church and then there is the worldwide church. Praise God there will be a day where believers are united in Heaven!
It was really fantastic to meet some of the guys who are in the Tuesday night Bible study. What a joy when God’s people are able to rejoice and worship together in person! I never want it to be far from my mind that this life is not about me, my wants and my desires, it is about Christ and loving others well.
What I have learned the most is how amazing Nancy is. I knew she had a heart of gold and served her family well, but wow, I want to be more like Nancy because Nancy exudes Christ and grace.
It was beautiful for me to see how much this family loves each other. And it wasn’t fake because there was a guest, it is a lifestyle for them. I know that God will help me reflect more on my time here throughout this week.
I am ready to see Nathan and PQ. God in His Sovereignty allowed me to have this experience as well as allowing me to have this week off before starting classes online at Westminster next Monday February 7, 2022.
It is my heartfelt prayer that we will all meditate this week on the fact that “faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor 13:13 ESV).
Lord God, thank You and praise You for this time. Thank You for the opportunity to love and be loved. Lord God, may Your people love You and others well this week. Lord God, help us to grow in extending forgiveness, grace, mercy and love. Help us to be a genuine light in this dark world. Help us to put You and others first. Lord God, prepare us to live for You even though it may be costly. Thank You Lord for this reader. Thank You Lord for Jimmy and his family! Bless Jimmy, Nancy and kiddos for the love and kindness they have shown me. In Jesus’s Name I pray.
29 When Reuben returned to the pit and saw that Joseph was not in the pit, he tore his clothes 30 and returned to his brothers and said, “The boy is gone, and I, where shall I go?” 31 Then they took Joseph’s robe and slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. 32 And they sent the robe of many colors and brought it to their father and said, “This we have found; please identify whether it is your son’s robe or not.” 33 And he identified it and said, “It is my son’s robe. A fierce animal has devoured him. Joseph is without doubt torn to pieces.” 34 Then Jacob tore his garments and put sackcloth on his loins and mourned for his son many days. 35 All his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted and said, “No, I shall go down to Sheol to my son, mourning.” Thus his father wept for him. 36 Meanwhile the Midianites had sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard.
Genesis 37:29-36 ESV
(Disclaimer: I love Jacob and I am in no way out to malign his character nor call into question his favored position with God by sharing this.) I am always amazed how Jacob responds to Joseph’s plight. While Jacob has been both the deceiver (Gen 27) and deceived (by Laban Gen 29 and in this passage), the deception that occurs in Genesis 37:29-36 is both tragic and prophetic.
Isaac, due to his failing eyesight questioned Jacob numerous times to hear and feel if he was really Esau (Gen 27). Jacob questioned Laban’s deceit in marrying Leah (Gen 29:25). Yet, no questions were asked in Genesis 37:29-36. Jacob’s sons commanded him to identify (hiphil, imperative, 2ms) if this was his’s sons robe or not (v 32). Jacob identifies it and automatically without doubt assumes that Joseph was devoured by a fierce animal and torn to pieces (v 33). Jacob does not ask one question. Jacob blindly accepts that what he sees is the truth. Jacob does not give any consideration to the fact that he is being deceived. Due to the sons hatred for Joseph they willfully deceive their father. The sons could have alleviated Jacob’s heartache by confessing “they sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver” (37:28) and that the blood on Joseph’s robe belongs to a goat (37:32).
This perception of the truth results in Jacob tearing his own garment and putting sackcloth literally on his loins and mourned (v 34); refusing to be comforted (v 35). Mathews states, “Jacob performed the traditional acts of mourning the dead. Scruffy “sackcloth” was worn (here, lit., “on his loins”) by mourners to inflict on themselves biting discomfort…That Jacob refused his children’s consolation was uncommon, revealing the intensity of his grief (cf. Isa 22:4), for his rejection of comforters meant the most aggravated anguish (e.g., Ps 69:20)…Typically, a period of mourning would be appointed (e.g., 27:41; 50:4; Deut 34:8), but in Jacob’s mind no end to his sorrow is possible (e.g., Isa 51:19); therefore he believes he will die “in [the state of] mourning” (v. 35), finding relief only in meeting his deceased son “in Sheol” (K. Mathews, Genesis 11:27-50:26 NAC, 2005, p. 701).
For 22 years Jacob believed that Joseph was dead. But God, in His mercy allows Jacob to reunite with Joseph after 22 years! (For my thoughts on Jospeh and Potiphar click on the hyperlink.) “What happens to Joseph foreshadows all that will happen to the sons of Jacob. They will be carried into Egypt and will be put into slavery. In this sense, then, Jacob’s final words set the focus of the narratives to follow: “in mourning will I go down to the grave [Sheol] to my son” (v. 35). Ironically, the narratives about Joseph conclude with Jacob’s going down (46:3–4) to Egypt to see his son and then end with his own death (50:24–26)” (J. Sailhamer, “Genesis” REBC, 2008, p. 275).
What happened with Jacob is again, tragic and prophetic. It is equally tragic and prophetic that the sons (children) of God are being deceived today. There is no question that end time deception is upon us and Jesus’s words are coming to life in real time: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household” (Matt 10:34-36). Not all family members share in our joy of our faith in Christ. Not all family members accept that we hold the Bible as our standard of Truth. Not all family members have the same view of current events.
We are living in a time where it is easy to be manipulated. Dear reader, you do not need me to tell you that we have access to information at rates never before imagined. Not every act of deception is intentional and nefarious (some really are unintentional); however, now more than ever do believers need to ask questions about what they see, read and hear. We need to exercise wisdom, discernment and common sense when it comes to what we take in and what we share with others.
It is concerning to me how often believers share information without checking to see who wrote the article and if what they are sharing is valid. 22 years is a long time to wait before asking questions. The way this world is moving we may not have 22 years to wait to find out the truth like Jacob did and learning that Joseph was alive.
We need to start asking questions now. We need to be like the Bereans and examine if what we are hearing is in line with Scripture (Acts 17:11). Truth be told, it is always easier to see how someone else is being deceived rather than self-reflecting if our own beliefs/thoughts/perceptions are true. There is no longer any excuse, the time has come for each believer to “test the spirits to see if they are from God” (1 John 4:1).
Lord God, thank You for Your Word. Thank You Lord that in Your Word we learn who You are, who we are and what You require of Your people. Lord God, have mercy on believers. Lord God, fill those of us who are in Christ with wisdom, discernment and common sense. Lord God, for those whom You have called to be watchmen, help them to be vigilant in being on guard. For those who You have called to shepherd Your people, may they lead, feed and protect Your people well. Lord God, help us to what information to take in and what information to discard. Help us to investigate to the best we can if what we are reading, hearing and seeing is true.
Lord God, thank You for this reader. Lord God, for the reader who is in Christ may they set their hearts and minds on You and not the things of this world. Lord God, for the reader who does not know Christ, I ask with a heavy and burdened heart for today to be the day of their salvation. Lord God, You abhor sin. You abhor deceitful scales and lying tongues. Lord, help Your people to be Ambassadors of Christ today: pointing the lost to Jesus and building up Your Body. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.
Father God, radically change our minds, hearts and hands in 2022 from constant rebellion and disobedience to minds, hearts and hands that fully desire to love and obey You.
Lord God, thank You for this new year! Thank You for this new month! Lord God, may we learn more about Your glory and holiness this year! Lord God, Your glory is seen in salvation and in judgment. Lord, motivate us more in 2022 to warn people of Your coming judgment. Motivate us Lord to love You and worship You more in this new year!
Lord God, for those of us in cooler climates may we wrap ourselves in Your Warmth and for those who are in warmer climates may they know the cool breeze and refreshment of Your Word.
Lord God, thank You for this reader. Lord, help this reader to make spiritual goals rather than New Years resolutions. Lord God, help us to grow in You more this year and in this new month. Thank You and praise You Lord that Your mercies are new each morning. Lord God, as Jesus Christ in His Humanity grew physically, spiritually, emotionally may the same be said of Your people this year. Thank You Jesus that You are God and we are not! Thank You Jesus that You are perfect! Lord, help us to embrace that while You do NOT call us to be perfect You do call us to be holy and wise!
Lord God, help us to be holy this year. Sanctify us and unite us in Your Word and Truth. Lord God, may there be peace among the Body of Christ this year rather than spears, swords and division. Lord God, teach us to set our minds on You and the things above rather than on the things of this life. Praise You Lord that You are Sovereign and that Your will and way will NEVER be stopped!
Lord God, fill this reader with confidence in 2022. Fill this reader with courage and boldness to live for You in this changing world. May we seek to live in Your Kingdom rather than in the metaverse. Lord God, help this reader to cling to You more this year. Help us to put away childish things so that we may love, grow and serve You more faithfully.
Lord God, thank You for this reader. Thank You Lord that for the reader who is in Christ that I will one day see them face to face in Your Kingdom! Lord God, for this reader who does not know Christ as Lord and Savior I ask boldly Lord that today will be their day of salvation. Lord God, thank You that You are still stirring, convicting and bringing individuals to Yourself by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Lord God, thank You that salvation is Your Work from start to finish. Lord God, may we never think that You will give us tomorrow. May we live in a manner each day where we complete the tasks that You have set before us. Not to merit our salvation or for greater reward but because we love You and want to please, honor and glorify You.
Lord God, thank You for this new year and month. Thank You Lord for new beginnings. Thank You Lord that in Christ we are new creations. Thank You Lord that while we still contend with us, when we call on You in repentance You are Faithful and Just to forgive and cleanse us for our sins. Lord, help us live in a manner that honors and glorifies You. May this reader allow You to transform them, sanctify them and use them for Your glory. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.
2021 has been full of personal failures, struggles, joys and growth. I will freely and humbly admit that this past year was the worst year that I can remember in terms of my daily Bible reading. While many people are encouraged and strengthened by reading from different portions of the Bible daily, that is not for me. I have learned that I am a person who needs a chronological or book by book reading plan! My reading plan for 2022 will follow the order of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) and the canonical order of the New Testament.
The last few weeks of 2021 I have really resonated with the Apostle Paul’s statement, “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing” (Rom 7:19 ESV). I hate and despise how much time I spend looking at newsfeed headlines. I am not nor will I ever be a gambler/slot machine player; however, I have allowed my brain to be rewired to crave updated news headlines. I realize how ridiculous and pathetic this sounds but it is absolutely true. I absolutely hate how much time and effort I give to reading things that have very little earthly value. I despise how I allow myself to tune out Nathan, my mom and others because I am on my electronic device.
There are times when PQ (my cavapoo puppy) wants to play and I do not want to be bothered because I am scrolling through newsfeeds (praise God I have my notifications turned off or it would be even worse!). This grieves my heart more than you will know! I know what the right thing to do is but the minute I have down time, if I am not on guard, my rewired brain literally searches random stuff online. I am thankful and grateful that the Holy Spirit is working on me in this area. I welcome accountability from y’all so never hesitate to ask me how I am doing in this area. I cannot stress this enough: if anyone ever thinks that I have it all together, I assure you that is a lie from the pit of hell!
2021 has been a year with a lot of firsts. On January 2, 2022 Nathan and I will be married four years and this was the first full year where we were not moving. Praise God! I can honestly say having an established residence did not prevent Nathan and I from having some serious disagreements. In all my relationships I need to be quicker to listen, slower to speak and MUCH slower to anger and frustration. I pray that in 2022 I will learn to be a more godly wife, daughter, aunt, niece, friend, mentor, blogger, teacher etc.
I am thankful and grateful to God for the church family that He has given us at Faith Bible Fellowship Church. I am so thankful that God has provided us with a church that teaches sound doctrine! It has been a massive joy to share with the youth at TCAC as well as being a part of their Tuesday night Bible Study. I am so thankful and grateful for sound churches who are rightly teaching the Word of God!
While my personal reading was not as great as previous years, I am thankful for the community God has given me with likeminded believers! I am thankful for Alan, Jimmy and Michael for allowing me to guest blog for them. I am thankful and grateful for the opportunity to connect with many bloggers outside of WordPress (whether through email, Skype, text, zoom). I love each one of you and I cannot thank you enough for your love, prayer and care toward me and my family!
After I wrote “Authority of Scripture” it seemed fitting that the Lord would lead me to write on Psalm 119. I am humbled and awed by the love and support y’all showed me through this endeavor. I am so thankful and grateful for all the love and responses y’all had to my variety of posts this year from Bible posts, prayer posts, life application fishing posts etc. Thank you so much for traveling with me!
2021 was the first time in five years where I was not in Seminary. After taking the last year off and really praying about where God wants me, in October 2021 I applied to Westminster Theological Seminary. Praise the Lord I was accepted! February 7, 2022 I will begin their Master of Arts in Religion degree. I am really excited about this. God has used 2021 to refresh and revive my love for Academic studies.
At the end of the day (or year), even with everything that is happening around us, I am thankful and I am grateful. I am thankful for all the people the Lord has placed in my life. I am so thankful and grateful for all the time I was able to spend with Nathan, my mom, dad, brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew. I am thankful for the time I was able to spend with friends this year. I am thankful and grateful to all those who love, support, encourage and believe in me. I am thankful and grateful that I am a sinner saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I am thankful and grateful for each person who reads this blog. I am thankful, humbled and grateful for each person who takes the time to comment. I am always thanking God for each person who reads this blog. I know first hand how much stuff is online and competing for our attention. Thank you for taking the time to do life with me in 2021 and I look forward to what God has for us in 2022! Lots of love and blessings!
Father God, thank You and praise You that You are Sovereign over each and every moment. Lord God, thank You for each reader and each unique experience You allowed them to have this year. Lord God, 2021 has been a year unlike any other. Prepare us Lord for 2022. Help us to take the time to reflect on 2021 and to learn from our mistakes. Help us to continue to grow in our love for You and Your Word. Lord God, thank You and praise You for this reader! Lord God, thank You for all that You are doing in the lives of Your people all over the world. Lord God, help us to endure and persevere. Help us to reflect on Your Goodness, Kindness, Grace, Forgiveness and Mercy to us over the past year. Thank You Lord for this reader and prepare all of us for what we will face in 2022. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.
Psalm 119 encourages believers to love the Word of God and to walk in obedience according to the Word of God. Psalm 119 encourages us to be the Lord’s students and servants. Wise is the person who takes the Lord’s Word to heart, walking in its ways.
Lord God, thank You for this study on Psalm 119. Lord God, may this study be an encouragement to believers and conviction to those who are not. Lord God, thank You for this reader. May this reader grow closer to You through Your Word. Thank You and praise You Holy Trinity to live in such a time to share Your Word online. Thank You again Lord for this reader. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.
Taw 169 Let my cry come before you, O Lord; give me understanding according to your word! 170 Let my plea come before you; deliver me according to your word. 171 My lips will pour forth praise, for you teach me your statutes. 172 My tongue will sing of your word, for all your commandments are right. 173 Let your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts. 174 I long for your salvation, O Lord, and your law is my delight. 175 Let my soul live and praise you, and let your rules help me. 176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments.
The psalmist ends this last stanza with his cry coming before the Lord (v 169a). He petitions the Lord to cause him to have understanding according to His Word (v 169b). This is an intensely deep and passionate cry for the Lord’s help. The psalmist asks for his plea to come before God alone and that again God would deliver him according to His Word (v 170). “Here the provision of deliverance from outward circumstances would give him freedom to learn and apply God’s word; and accordingly, provision of understanding would enable him to discover God’s promise and provision of deliverance in the word” (A. Ross, A Commentary on the Psalms 90-150 KEL, 2016, p. 592).
In verses 171-172 the psalmist’s lips and tongue will praise and sing of the Lord’s Word. “For the final time in Psalm 119, the psalmist in v. 171 presents himself as God’s student. He wants his lips that are now full of petitions to be repurposed for praise, as his inner enjoyment of the Lord’s instruction fills his heart and bubbles up into verbal public praise for him. He wants others to appreciate what he has learned from the Lord, that his commands are righteous, just as the Lord in his character is righteous” (D. Estes, Psalms 73-150 NAC, 2019, p. 439).
The psalmist uses anthropomorphism to refer to God’s Hand as power. The psalmist is requesting the Lord’s power to help him because he has chosen His precepts (v 173). “In v. 73 the hands of the Lord created and formed the psalmist, and how he wants the Lord to offer his hand to help him, implying that he cannot manage his adversity on his own…As he asks for the Lord’s help, he reaffirms that he genuinely values what the Lord has prescribed in his precepts” (Estes, p. 439).
The psalmist both longs for the Lord’s salvation and loves His Law (v 174). The psalmist’s “delight in God’s instruction is a constant that is not conditioned by his circumstances. His joy comes from doing what God has said, not from enjoying a life full of pleasant experiences apart from obeying the Lord” (Estes, p. 439). Oh that the people of God would have joy from doing what God has said today! As this world grows darker and more chaotic may believers in the Lord Jesus Christ long for His salvation and love His Word.
It is only fitting with an attitude of longing and love for the Lord that in his penultimate verse the psalmist states to let his life source (soul) live and praise the Lord (v 175). “In the OT, praise for the Lord is limited to one’s lifetime, so the psalmist’s petition, “Let me live, and I will praise you,” may well imply that he feels threatened and at the verge of death. If the Lord intervenes so that he can continue to live, then he will be able to keep praising the Lord, as is his practice (cf. v. 164). As he has called on the Lord’s hand to help him (v. 173), so he longs for the Lord’s word to help him as well” (Estes, p. 439).
The psalmist ends this psalm with a picture of him being a lost sheep who has gone astray (v 176). Thankfully, the psalmist knows the Good Shepherd whom he cries out to “seek His servant” on the basis that he does not forget the Lord’s commandments. It must be stated, “The last note of the psalm is a cry from a broken spirit rather than a confession of apostasy” (W. VanGemeren, Psalms REBC, 2008, p. 890). The psalmist has stated in previous verses that he is prone to wander from the Lord which causes him to be lost (vv 10, 21, 67, 110, 118); however, he ends this psalm with the commitment to not forget the Lord’s Commandments. May the people of God make that same commitment today!
Lord God, may our cries come before You and You alone. Lord God, cause us to have understanding according to Your Word. Lord, give us wisdom and discernment as we practice common sense and reason. Lord God, we offer our pleas and petitions to You. Lord God help us wait in confident expectation for Your deliverance. May our lips pour out praises to You and may our tongues sing of Your Word even in the midst of the darkness and chaos that surrounds us today. Lord God, teach us Your statutes because all Your commandments are right. Thank You that You are a Holy and Just God and that none of us are above Your discipline and correction.
Lord God, may Your Hand be ready to help us in our time of need. Lord God, come near to this reader who is hurting and struggling and is wandering like a lost sheep. May we long for Your Salvation, delighting in Your Law. Your Instruction is wise Lord and wise people keep it. Lord God, teach us to be wise. Teach us to love You, letting our souls live so that we may praise You. Lord God, may we live to praise You and not satisfy our flesh! Lord God, Your rules help us to obey and when we obey You we know that we are doing Your Will. Lord God, we are all prone to wander, leaving the God we love, bind our hearts Lord, seek and seal Your servants, may we commit ourselves like this psalmist to not forget Your Commandments.
Lord God, thank You and praise You for this reader! Thank You for bringing this reader alongside me on this journey through Psalm 119, whether it was from the Introduction to now or just this stanza, thank You Lord for the grace and time this reader has shown me. Lord God, may this reader love You and Your Word more today. Lord, for the reader who does not know Christ may they know today they are never too far for You to reach them. For the reader who does not know Christ may today be their day for salvation. Lord God, thank You and praise You for the opportunity to share Your Word online. Lord, thank You again for this reader. May the Peace of Your Presence lead them by still waters. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.
Sin and Shin 161 Princes persecute me without cause, but my heart stands in awe of your words. 162 I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil. 163 I hate and abhor falsehood, but I love your law. 164 Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules. 165 Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble. 166 I hope for your salvation, O Lord, and I do your commandments. 167 My soul keeps your testimonies; I love them exceedingly. 168 I keep your precepts and testimonies, for all my ways are before you.
The psalmist begins his penultimate stanza stating princes or civil authorities are persecuting him without cause (v 161a). The Israelite elites cannot keep the psalmist’s heart (mind, will and emotions) from standing in awe of God’s Words (v 161b). The psalmist continually rejoices at His Word like a person who finds great spoil (v 162). The psalmist “values God’s word as others would value the spoils of war, for it is like discovered treasure to one who loves it (D. Estes, Psalms 73-150 NAC, 2019, p. 437). Goldingay is correct when he states, “Finding plunder results from winning a great victory; it is quite something that the psalm can speak of such exulting when threatened with devastating defeat (v. 161)” (Psalms 90-150 BCOT, 2006, p. 439).
The psalmist goes on to contrast how he hates and abhors falsehoodbut loves His torah (v 163). God’s Word is truthful (see also vv 143, 151, 160) which is the opposite of falsehood. Seven times a day the psalmist praises the Lord for His righteous rules (v 164). “A person of faith gives praise to Yhwh morning and evening, the times of the offerings. A person of great faith might pray a third time, presumably in the middle of the day, like Daniel (Dan. 6; cf. Ps. 55:17), or even in the middle of the night (cf. v. 62). Hyperbolically, the psalmist claims to have given praise seven times a day for Yhwh’s faithful decisions, which again both give direction for life and promise that blessing will issue from following them” (Goldingay, p. 439). The psalmist’s way of living is in worship and verbal praise to the Lord (see v 175). “As he prays during the day and night (vv. 147–148), so his praise for the Lord punctuates his entire day” (Estes, p. 437).
For those who continually love God’s torah they have great and abundant peace, nothing can make them fall (v 165). “Loving God’s instruction yields the reward of great shalom, a rich Hebrew term encompassing well-being, prosperity, and satisfaction in life, for true life comes from loving and living God’s word” (Estes, p. 437). The ESV translates mikšôl as stumble; however, the wording here “does not suggest losing one’s footing in a way that might be momentary, but falling so as not to be able to recover. The psalm again presupposes the image of the way that we walk. For all the hazards of the path, we will be able to walk it” (Goldingay, p. 440). Praise God that Shalom is a Person and His Name is Jesus. Praise God His Word is a lamp to His peoples feet and a light to their path (v 105). Praise God that for those who are in Christ, though they stumble, they do not fall.
The psalmist hopes (looks for) the Lord’s salvation and acts on His commands (v 166). The psalmist is not hoping in vain! He is actively looking and is actively doing the Lord’s commands. “His faith in the Lord prompts his faithfulness to his word, so he practices consistent obedience as he keeps trusting the Lord to rescue him” (Estes, p. 438). The Hebrew literally reads myinner being keeps Your testimonies (v 167a). This is not a shallow commitment and observance, but reaches to the psalmist’s inner most parts of him. Why? Because he loves God’s testimonies and so he obeys and keeps them. “This is what it looks like to love the Lord “with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deut 6:5)” (Estes, p. 438).
The psalmist ends this stanza with keeping/observing the Lord’s precepts and testimonies, for all his ways are before Him (v 168). This verse reminds this author of the children’s song “O be careful little eyes what you see.” How often do the people today, believers and unbelievers meditate upon the fact that all our ways are indeed before Holy God; that what we see, hear, say and do are all before Him? “The psalmist lives under the authority of the Lord and his word (cf. v. 4), as his pattern of life aligns with God’s precepts and decrees. He also lives before God, in constant awareness that the Lord sees and knows all that he does. How the Lord evaluates his life is all-important to him, and it prompts him to a life of obedience to the Lord” (Estes, p. 438).
Lord God, times of persecution are increasing all over the world by those who are hostile to You. Lord God give strength and mercy to those who are experiencing persecution; having done nothing wrong, they are persecuted for identify themselves with You. Lord, help those who are in the midst of fiery trails and those who are not to stand in awe of Your Word. Help us to stand in awe of who Jesus is: our Victorious and Overcoming Savior, Soon Returning King and what He has done for us.
Lord, I rejoice along with my brothers and sisters at Your Word. For those of us who are in Christ we know that when we read and meditate on Your Word it is like finding great treasure. Lord, help us to hold, hide and treasure Your Word in our hearts and souls so that it will strengthen us on the day of persecution. Lord God, thank You that Your Word breaks strongholds; gives victory to those who obey, practice and apply Your Word.
Lord God, I absolutely hate and abhor falsehood. Lord God, convict us where we are fake, false and phony. Lord God, You know the last thing this world needs is another fake believer. Lord God, search us and test us, reveal to us where we are on the stray path, where there is deception in us and where we are following lies rather than Your Truth. Lord, may we love Your Word more than the lies and falsehoods of this world. Lord, help us to cultivate a lifestyle of worship and praise to You. May we praise You personally and publicly. Lord, may we praise You in the morning, afternoon, evening, night. May we praise You because we love Your rules. Lord, may we never forget that Your ways bring life and not death. May we be reminded that Your yoke is easy and burden is light. Your Word is not drudgery unlike the colorful sin and deception that this world heaps on its people.
Praise You Holy Trinity that Peace is a Person and His Name is Jesus! Praise You Jesus that for those who are in Christ they know Peace with You, themselves and others. Lord God, for the reader who is not in Christ, Lord may they understand that no matter how good life may be for them or how good they think they are, they have no peace without Christ. Lord God, “Your Law is Love and Your Gospel is Peace” are beautiful and truthful song lyrics. May You use Christmas Carols to encourage Your people and lead others to You. Thank You that You do not let Your people fall and that when we stumble, You are there to dust us off and set us on the narrow path.
Lord God, help us to actively do and apply Your Word. Looking out in hopeful exception for Your Salvation! Lord God, may our souls, our inner beings love Your Word. May our hearts: mind, will and emotions love and seek Your Word. Lord God, may we NEVER forget that we are under Your authority. You know everything that happens to us before it even occurs. Lord God, may we NEVER think that You will dismiss the sin in our own lives while convicting and judging the sin in others. Lord God, may we never forget there is NOWHERE we can go to escape You. This is true for the believer and the unbeliever. Lord God, help us to live our lives as a pleasing aroma to You. Lord God, thank You for this reader. Lead this reader Lord in the way everlasting today and everyday for Your Glory. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.
Resh 153 Look on my affliction and deliver me, for I do not forget your law. 154 Plead my cause and redeem me; give me life according to your promise! 155 Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek your statutes. 156 Great is your mercy, O Lord; give me life according to your rules. 157 Many are my persecutors and my adversaries, but I do not swerve from your testimonies. 158 I look at the faithless with disgust, because they do not keep your commands. 159 Consider how I love your precepts! Give me life according to your steadfast love. 160 The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.
There are eight imperatives the psalmist makes in this stanza (only the He stanza (vv 33-40 has more with nine). The psalmist opens this stanza calling on the Lord to look on his affliction and deliver him (v 153a). The psalmist is becoming desperate and needs the Lord’s help. He makes these petitions on the basis that he does not forget God’s torah (v 153b), “even though obeying the Lord did not give him a pass on pain and problems. He wants the Lord not to forget him, just as he has not forgotten what the Lord has taught him” (D. Estes, Psalms 73-150 NAC, 2019, p. 435).
In verse 154 the psalmist uses legal language for God to plead his case and redeem him. “[T]he appeal to God to plead his cause is a call for vindication; the language used is that of a lawsuit, for God will champion his cause…This word for “redeem” is well-known for its use in kinsman-redeemer passages; but it essentially refers to setting someone free from bondage and adversity, here caused by the wicked” (A. Ross, Psalms 90-150 KEL, 2016, pp. 581-582).
The psalmist joins these previous petitions with a petition for God to give him life according to His Promises (v 154b). This can also be translated restore my life or preserve my life. The psalmist is stating “he wants deliverance from the oppression of the wicked so that he can live his life fully in the service of the LORD. This appeal is not based on his faithfulness to the Law, but on the LORD’s fulfilling the promises in his oracles. The law declared that the LORD would protect and defend his covenant people if they lived faithfully—and since he is a faithful covenant member, his prayer appeals to the promises of God to be carried out” (Ross, p. 582).
The psalmist knows that for the wicked who reject God and His Word salvation is far from them (v 155). The psalmist makes a stark contrast: in verse 151 the psalmist stated that the Lord is near to Him; yet for those who do wicked, they are far from His delivery and redemption. “The wicked have no interest in seeking out what the Lord has said. They do not want God’s word in their lives, so the Lord is not there for them in their time of need. They are willfully ignorant of God’s statutes, and they suffer because of their neglect” (Estes, p. 435).
Because the Lord is great in mercy, the psalmist petitions the Lord again to give him life (v 156). Mercy would be better translated compassion in this verse. The psalmist knows that God has compassion on His people. Instead of asking God to give him life according to his promise (v 154) he is asking according to his rules. “As the compassions of the Lord are many (v. 156), so the psalmist’s persecutors and foes are many” (Estes, p. 436). The psalmist does not swerve from the Lord’s Word even though he is being targeted by many persecutors and adversaries (v 157). “In the face of intense pressure, he perseveres in his commitment to God’s word, listening to the direction of the Lord rather than to the threats of his enemies” (Estes, p. 436). The people of God be would be wise to live in such a manner today.
As David hated those who hated God (Ps 139:21-22) the psalmist here looks at the faithless with disgust because they do not keep the Lord’s Commands (v 158). The psalmist again contrasts himself as being the antithesis of the wicked because he loves the Lord’s precepts (v 159). For the third time the psalmist petitions the Lord to give him life; however, here it is according to His Covenant Faithfulness (hesed v 159). God’s people can call upon His Covenant Faithfulness to give them life, to redeem and revive them. Why? Because the sum of the Lord’s Word is truth and each one of His Righteous Rules endures forever (v 160). “The word translated “sum” is literally “head”; here it means the chief characteristic of God’s word is truth. Everything God has said is reliable, because he himself is the truth (see John 14:6). This is not simply a reality for the writer’s current predicament—the word of God is eternal, and therefore eternally true” (Ross, p. 584).
Lord God, thank You that You and Your Word are True forever and ever. Thank You Lord that You do not look away from Your People in their affliction. Lord God, thank You that for those of us who are in Christ we have been redeemed and given life. Thank You that we can have confidence in our salvation according to Your Word.
Lord God, universalism is a lie. There are many people claiming to be “Christians” who think that in the end You will save all people. Lord this is fake news. This is a lie from the pit of hell that keeps people from hearing and receiving the Gospel. For those who reject Christ, salvation is far from them. Lord, lead unbelievers to read Your Word for themselves to see what You have to say about the eternal state of the wicked rather than listening to the world and its feel good message. Lord God, You have wired all of us for eternity; may today be the day for salvation for the reader that is far from Christ.
Lord God, Your compassion and mercies are many. Thank You Lord that Your mercies are new each morning. Lord God, You are Great in mercy and Greatly to be Praised! Lord, give us life according to Your Rules! Lord, Your people are surrounded by persecutors and adversaries, help us to remain faithful to You and Your Word. Lord, may we hate those who hate You with a righteous hatred; yet, sharing Jesus in authenticity and transparency. Lord, convict us where we care more about ourselves than Your Glory. Lord God, You will more than consider how we love Your precepts. You will judge believers when You are ready for their obedience and service to You. Lord God, thank You for giving us life according to Your covenant faithfulness.
Thank You Jesus that You have come to give us life and life abundantly. Thank You Holy Trinity that Truth is a Person and His Name is Jesus. Thank You Jesus that You are Faithful and True. Thank You Lord that Your Word is True and is absolutely sufficient and without error for us today! Lord God, thank You that Jesus came to fulfill the Law and not to abolish it. As such, teach us what that means and how to live in the light of Your Truth. Thank You Lord God for this reader! Lord God, give this reader life so they may love You and love others. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.