…Lingering on the Sunday Message… 10/25/09

October 27, 2009

General

Psalm 119

1 ALEPH. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.
2 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.
3 They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.
4 Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.
5 O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!
6 Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.
7 I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.
8 I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.

 

“Because God has made us for Himself, our hearts are restless until they rest in Him.”
— Augustine of Hippo

Continuing on in Psalm 119: 1-8, we considered in more depth the four essential elements that mark a Christian life.  Touched upon briefly in the prior message, we notice in verse pairs the traits of Happiness, Holiness, Humility, and Honor.  Let’s just look at a few notes that give a basic framework for the study.

  • Happiness – Starting with Augustine’s quote from above, the Psalmist declares that our restlessness is satisfied and that our ideal for enjoyment in life is to live in conformity to God’s ways.  Isaiah 55:2, “Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.”  A note on the term “Undefiled” from verse one; it is not a synonym for sinless perfection.  Undefiled in the way refers to a lifestyle; the way God would have us to go.
  • Holiness – John 17:17, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”  “Diligently” from verse four implies constant, painstaking effort; to keep God’s precepts with the purpose of transforming our life.  Just a thought on this.  First, the holiness we seek is not the same as His.  But, the holiness described in the Psalm goes hand in hand with happiness and marks a person’s living and learning; as a person follows God’s ways, sin decreases.  Second, we cannot sanctify ourselves; that is wholly a work of the Spirit.  God has ordained the means of keeping his precepts, though.  He works solely through His means.
  • Humility – The Psalmist clearly knows his past ways; he knows himself.  The crux of the matter is that we cannot of ourselves keep His commands.  We ARE commanded to keep them, YET we do not have the ability.  Observe the story of Lazerus; he certainly needed help.  Galatians 2:20 – I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.  Philippians 2:12-13; 12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
  • Honor – Our praise is provoked by what He has done.  Clearly, our theology will fuel our doxology, in that, if we have a right understanding of who we are (lost, dead, depraved) and who He is (Holy, gracious, etc.), then we have no recourse but sing and shout His praise!  Below is a quote from a work that describes Spurgeon’s love and praise for his Saviour.  We can see these four traits in this illustration.  Remember, the deeper we go in God’s Word, the more that is revealed.

We cannot hope to understand Spurgeon’s sufferings unless we glimpse the experiential intimacy of his relationship with his Savior. On June 7, 1891, in extreme physical pain from his illnesses, Spurgeon preached what, unknown to him, proved to be his last sermon. His concluding words in the pulpit were, as usual, about his Lord: “He is the most magnanimous of captains. There never was his like among the choicest of princes. He is always to be found in the thickest part of the battle. When the wind blows cold he always takes the bleak side of the hill. The heaviest end of the cross lies ever on his shoulders. If he bids us carry a burden, he carries it also. If there is anything that is gracious, generous, kind, and tender, yea lavish and superabundant in love, you always find it in him. These forty years and more have I served him, blessed be his name! and I have had nothing but love from him. I would be glad to continue yet another forty years in the same dear service here below if so it pleased him. His service is life, peace, joy. Oh, that you would enter on it at once! God help you to enlist under the banner of Jesus even this day! Amen.”

Taken from: “The Anguish and Agonies of Charles Spurgeon,”  By Darrel W. Amundsen

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