Do me a favor and please read Psalm 119:113-120
As I read this psalm what strikes me is that throughout the 8 verses the psalmist recognizes, and speaks of, the fact that one cannot claim they love God and abide by his Law and not actually abide in them. Verse 113 speaks of people who say one thing and do another; verse 114 speaks of how the psalmist not only hears the word of God but puts their hope completely in it (all-or-nothing); verses 116-117 continues on with 114 and shares that they have completely gone into the hope of God’s word, and finally verses 118-119 recognizes that God commands his followers to abide by them and if they don’t then he rejects them from his presence. Again, all of these verses recognize that God’s Law isn’t here to just be read and not ingested. God commands his children to live into his Law.
One of the biggest complaints non-believers have of believers is that we tend to live differently than what we preach and speak. That we speak of the Law, and the Word of God and its impact/truth in our lives and yet as soon as we step away from the church, as soon as we get into the “real” world we don’t practice what we preach. I know I’m guilty of that as I have fallen flat on my face too many times to count. I have fallen prey to other people’s ways of living and began marching in step with them. I have gone “toe-to-toe” with people in how they lacked love and care and I matched their “lack of love” in an awful way – all the while knowing that THIS was not how God called me to live and love. In the psalmist’s eyes, I am just as guilty as the “double-minded” people they speak of. And outside of that? Many of us, yours truly included, have ALSO put “hope in the world” instead of our hope in God as we seek to impress, and respond to, people instead of Him. We may declare God’s restoration and our reconciliation with him by HIS work but we seem to put a lot of stake, and hope, in worldly actions, lives, and living.
So where do we go from here? Verse 117 gives us a beautiful clue: “Uphold me, and I will be delivered.”
The psalmist is declaring that they need God’s “upholding” to keep them close to him – but I think we can go deeper than this. To be “upheld” means that we cannot be let go. To be “upheld” means to be supported, encouraged, HELD, and kept. And it’s a being held not for the sake of comfort but the psalmist declares that it’s so that they could be delivered. Delivered from their foes, delivered from the naysayers, delivered from the double-talkers. And I would argue that they too need to be “upheld” and “kept” from their own sins because no matter how much they speak of the double-minded people around them THEY TOO are part of that group. Sin runs deep in all of us so let us not forget that we are not better than them for we ARE them too.
In the end, I am fully comforted in the hope the psalmist has here in God’s “upholding them” because they finish off verse 117 with an anticipatory and already-completed deliverance. Because of who God is, because of the truth of his Law and word, and because of his covenant (this is just a fancy word for “un-binding promise”) God, in his grace, has already held, kept, saved, and delivered. It’s what we need, hope for, and declare in our Father in heaven. The CHALLENGE we have is to recognize our double-minded actions and the fact that we CAN easily fall prey to the ways of this world. And when we see where we are stepping we must repent, turn the other direction, and seek our Lord and Savior.
3 QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CHEW-ON:
- What in this psalm speaks to you? Where are you drawn? Why?
- Have you ever fallen prey to the ways and actions of this world? How did you move past it? I had to humbly go before God and the person and ask for forgiveness – which wasn’t fun but it helped me process my actions and move forward. What about you?
- What are some things you can do to safeguard yourself from the worldly “calling” for you to walk away from God’s Word and enter into this world?