He who loved the Word (Part 5)
We have so far focused on the first 4 verses of this section of the Hebrew alphabet, namely of the fourth letter, Dalet. First we had vs. 25 which I called “Level with the ground”, Secondly, vs. 26, “A look into the Past”. Thirdly, vs. 27, “Ask for understanding and wisdom” and then fourthly, vs. 26, “God’s strength is our Strength”. Today we look at the other four verses:
29. DELIVER ME FROM TEMPTATION (verse 29)
“Keep me from deceitful ways; be gracious to me through your law” As usual, and in line with the other verses in this Psalm , this verse has two parts to it. Let’s look at the first thought, which is “Deliver me from temptation.” In Matth 6:13 Jesus gave this section of what is popularly known as The Lord’s Prayer, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Or as some translations say “from evil”.
This verse can be quite a puzzle to many people as they ask how can God, who is Love, lead people into temptation? Before we go into this question let me read to you what Gen. 22:1 in the KJV says, “And it came to pass that after these things, that God did tempt Abraham.” What is interesting is that all the other translations that I have do not have the word tempt but have used the word test instead. I looked up the Hebrew and it reads as follows: VE-ELOKIM NISAH ET-AVRAHAM which translates as “And God tempted Abraham.” The word for tempt is NISAH while the Hebrew for test is either EACHAN OR EADAK, although NISAH could also be translated as test.
Only the KJV has the correct translation as far as I am concerned and I will explain why. In Exod. we also have another occasion where the Hebrew root word NISAH is used, MA-T’NISOON ET-YEHOVAH? “Wherefore do ye tempt the Lord?” Where in many cases English has only a single word for a particular meaning, both Hebrew and Greek often have more than one word for it. Both Hebrew and Greek have different shades of meanings. So it is with the words tempt and test. They have been taken as the same in most translations yet they are not the same. Before I get you too confused let me explain the differences and then you will see how we are to behave as Christians.
Let us take the word TEST first. To test means that we are putting to trial something to find out what its quality is or to prove the quality of that article or person. To test, in the true sense of the word, is not a vindictive act, but rather a method of quality control or proving the worthiness of the product or person. When the Lord put us to the test He is in fact testing us to see if we have the qualities He would like to see us have.
In Milachi 3:10 God said, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. TEST me in this, says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have enough room for it.” You see here that God is not tempting the believer, but rather asking the believer to try and test Him to see if indeed He is worthy to keep His promise
The word TEMPT, on the other hand, is an act that is not done in a loving way. In the act of tempting is also an act of enticement. To entice is to try to turn one away from a certain path. Satan does not test us, he tempts us, that is why we are told not to fall into temptation. That is why we are not to tempt God. That is why we are not to put to God the accusation that He is not doing what we ask of Him. Did you know that we tempt God when we disobey His commands and yet at the same time claim to be faithful to His Word and His Son? Gideon , when he put out the fleece, was not tempting God, he was rather testing God to see if what he had heard was truly from God, and also to overcome his own doubt and also to calm his own scared heart . Listener, do not make a habit of testing God, but certainly do not ever try to temp Him.
30 OUR GREATEST POINT OF DECISION (verse 30)
“I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your law.” I think that one of the most dramatic episodes in the Scripture about decision was in the Old Testament in the Book of Joshua. The Nation of Israel was serving both idols and God at the same time. This has been the situation with individuals all through the ages right up to this very day. We all have to examine our own lives very carefully in this respect.
In the light of what I have just said let us read Joshua 24:14-15 and then verses 19-20, “Now fear the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshipped beyond the river of Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living, BUT FOR ME AND MY HOUSEHOLD, WE WILL SERVE THE LORD.”
Now to verse 19, “Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the Lord. He is a holy God; he is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after he has been good to you.” We see from this that forgiveness is not ours if we do not turn to Him and serve Him and ask His forgiveness.
I want to point out a major spiritual law to you. Every act a person makes, whether to good or bad, is an act of the will. Every act of the will is in fact a decision that had been made. I make the decision to get up in the morning; I make the decision to get into a cold shower in the morning; I make the decision to serve Jesus; I make the decision not to use foul language. So we can go on for every single thing we do. Every movement of the body and the tongue and the eyes and the ears is a decision. You cannot excuse yourself for not knowing what you do.
If you hit a man while you were drunk and you genuinely did not remember it, do not forget that in the first place YOU made a decision to let yourself get into that situation by the fact of the decision you made to have a drink in the first place. If you were full of the Holy Spirit in the first instance you would not have been full of the spirit of the world and the bottle, as Paul said to the Ephesians in 5:18, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” Obviously the greatest decision a person can ever make is the decision to hand his or her life over to the Saviour Jesus Christ.
You may feel that we are saying this in excess, but Jesus kept on saying. “You must be born again!” On this channel we will never stop saying that you MUST be born-again, that you MUST receive Jesus as Saviour before you can enter the kingdom of God and heaven. May I ask you what your decision is this morning? Jesus or the world? You cannot serve both!
31. HANG ON FOR DEAR LIFE! (verse 31)
“I hold fast to your statutes, O Lord; do not let me be put to shame.” Job, in spite of all his trials said this in Job 27:6, “I will maintain my righteousness and never let go of it; my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live.” Study these two verses and you will see that they mean exactly the same thing. Job and the Psalmist are one in the Spirit. Are you one in the Spirit with Jesus and your other brothers in the Lord? If you are, hang on to it for dear life! Paul, in 1 Thess. 5:19-22 had this to say, “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. HOLD ON to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.”
Unfortunately many treat the Holy Spirit and His working and gifts with contempt. If YOU have the fullness of the Holy Spirit, hang on to that fullness for dear life! Jesus said to the Church in Thyritira in Rev. 2:25-26, “Only hold on to what you have until I come. To him who overcomes and does my will (which also means “Jesus” ) to the END, I will give authority over the nations,”
Listener, if you have gained the victory and overcome the world, through Jesus, then hang on for dear life! Your everlasting life depends upon it. If you have, then hang on for dear life, even if, at times by only a couple of fingers, then rejoice, for you will not have to be ashamed of yourself before Jesus, let alone before the world! If Jesus is not ashamed of you then He will certainly not be ashamed of you before the Father in heaven.
32. THE FREEDOM OF THE HEART (verse 32)
“I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.” I would that you, beloved Listener, take this verse and hide it in your heart and cherish it with all your heart for the Psalmist is showing here just how sincere and how joyful he is in the presence of the Lord. He does not just stand still and stagnate, (and I mentioned on Monday what spiritual mosquitoes can do) he does not walk; he RUNS. He is expending lots of energy, he is MOVING.
Praise the Lord for those Christians who move with the Spirit of the Lord! If you do not move with the Spirit it means that you are not free, you are still tied to the traditions of the past, the traditions of men. Don’t go with the traditions of men, go with the Word of God! Let the Holy Spirit speak to you through the Word. Ask for release and openness of the spiritual ear and eyes and HEAR what the Spirit says to the churches, today! I end with a verse out of the Book of John – John 8:32, “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
That freedom is available to you in Jesus Christ. Won’t you set yourself free this morning by letting Jesus into your heart?