The Man who loved the Word (Part 6)

Psalm 119:33-40

We have completed the first four of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet, namely, Alef, Beit, Gimel, and Dalet. The fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is pronounced as Heh, although it is spelt as He in the NIV, and is the one we will be considering this morning.

33. THAT WORD “TEACH” AGAIN (verse 33)

Without education the world would not have the knowledge it has right now. Knowledge begets further knowledge. To get to the top is no easy matter. There is only one way and that is rung by rung up the ladder. Moses made God angry when, at the burning bush, he kept on making excuses for not going to Egypt to help get the nation out from the hand of the Pharoah.

Moses pleaded to God to send someone else, and we take up the story further in Exod. 4:14-15, “Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and his heart will be glad when he sees you. You shall speak to him and put words into his mouth: I will help both of you speak and will TEACH you what to do.” We see that right from the beginning God has been a teacher to those who followed Him in faith. Not only that, God is able to use anybody, no matter what his or her disability is. All that is needed is trust and obedience in and to God.

God Teaches, but he also does something else. Let’s look what it is, by reading Exodus 35:34. This is at the time of the building of the Tabernacle and Moses said to the Israelites, “And he (God) has given both him (Bezalel) and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to TEACH others. He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work, etc.”
God, as Master Teacher, delegates His skills to those who belong to Him. God does not just deal out willy nilly, He is very selective. What is interesting here is that God did not teach them personally, but FILLED them with the necessary skills – truly a God-given gift!

God gives the ability to us: we have to appropriate that ability and do our part from there on. If you do not know your gift, then ask the Holy Spirit to reveal it to you.

34. GAIN WISDOM, AND THEN UNDERSTANDING WILL FOLLOW (verse 34)

“Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart.” Not only in this Psalm, but in many of the other Psalms we will find the same theme over and over again; the theme of understanding, keeping the law, obedience to God and then, whatever you do, it must be done with all of the heart. Although the believer is given spiritual understanding when it asked for, a greater factor in understanding God’s Word is faith.

This may sound strange, but when we realize that when we put complete faith in God and His instructions, and DO them, He puts the necessary wisdom in our minds, and remember, I said the other morning that when we have been given the wisdom of God we have the understanding for that special occasion as well.

35. THE DIRECTIVE FROM ABOVE (Verse 35)

“Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.” Just as Jesus said that we have to be born-again, so we have to be ever aware of the law of God. We are not bound by the law but we are under grace. Nevertheless, we have the law in our hearts and it is the Holy Spirit that convicts us of sin. It is the Holy spirit that guides us in all the truth. It is the Holy Spirit that leads us in the paths of righteousness. There are three ways one can move along that path:

1. BY BEING CARRIED
This is the easiest way. One simply relaxes and others do all the hard work. The only problem with this way is that one tends to fall asleep and one does not remember what happened along the way. In the Christian walk the Christian is never carried; he has to be a worker in the kingdom of God. In fact we are told in Romans 13:11, “The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now then when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here.”

2. BY BEING LEAD
Here one is lead by the hand and the one simply follows the Leader until the destination is reached. Jesus once said that unless we have faith similar to that of a little child, we will not be able enter the kingdom of God. If we do not allow the Holy Spirit to lead us then we have the same problem. Jesus should also be our Leader. Rev 7:17, “For the Lamb at the centre of the throne will be the shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

3. BY BEING DIRECTED
To be directed means that we are being shown the way or being told the way. This is what is being done on the channel here in the mornings. God is the Director; we are the signposts. Prov 3:5-6 gives us good advice: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths.” In all things we are to ask God fordirection.

36. THE TURN IN THE ROAD (vs 36)

“Turn my heart towards your statutes and not towards selfish gain.” For every true believer there has to be a turn in the road; a turning away from the world into God’s kingdom. This is called conversion, a converting from one thing into another, from the wickedness of the world into the holiness and righteousness of God (Afr.- Bekering is die omkering van een manier van lewe tot ‘n nuwe lewe in Christus).

It means a 180 degree turn-around from the way we WERE going, to a New direction given by Jesus through the Holy Spirit. This turn is from the standards of the world towards the standards of God, and the standards of God will always lead us to unselfishness, to the love of the brethren and to our neighbours.

37. THE SECOND TURNING IN THE ROAD (vs 37)

This second turning takes place only after the first turning has been negotiated, namely, the NEW LIFE with Jesus as Saviour. It is at this stage that a new set of standards is given us. Indeed it is a complete new way of living; a divine way of living. Paul, in Rom 6:2 told the believers that they had died to sin and should no longer be living in sin. Listener, have you freed yourself completely from sin? Do you knowingly sin in spite of the nudging of the Spirit in you to stop? This second turning is vital to us staying on the right road. It is not for nothing that the Psalmist asked God to help him to keep his eyes on the things above rather than on the things of the flesh.

38. A PROMISE KEPT (vs 38)

“Fulfill your promise to your servant, so that you may be feared.” The Psalmist is not talking here of being frightened of the Lord. The word fear simply means reverence and respect for God. No one has any respect for a person who never keeps his word, or promise. God, on the other hand, always keeps His promise. If we keep our side of the bargain then God will honour His Word. The average believer has no idea of just how many promises God has for him. I have a 350 page book written just on the promises of God. Listener, when you find out how many promises there are in the Bible for you, you will understand all the riches of God’s knidness.

Just before my signing of yesterday [on the CB Channel] I quoted from Ephes 3:7-9, “I became a servant of the gospel by the gift of God’s grace given to me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the UNSEARCHABLE RICHES of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things.”

39. SEPARATE ME FROM THE SHAME OF DISGRACE (vs 39)

“Take away the disgrace I dread, for your laws are good. ”Disgrace is something we all hope we will not land into, so most do their best to keep out of it. Disgrace is also associated with humiliation, shame and disrespect. Disgrace brings a slur on one’s character which is sometimes very hard toget rid of, especially it it has turned into a public scandal. There is no guarantee that the believer will be completely free of the chance of landing into a shameful situation, but the best way of keeping it to an absolute minimum is to be filled with the Holy Spirit, and then let the Spirit lead and guide you.

40. PRESERVED FOR EVER!

“How I long for your precepts! Preserve my life in your righteousness.” Preserve means to keep from decaying, to save or to keep safe. The preservation of our inheritance of everlasting life is one that we must not ever neglect. This is brought out very nicely in Jude 1 (Judas 1), “Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James. To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ.” The KJV says, “preserved in Jesus Christ.”

The NIV version “kept BY Christ.” has not the same correct meaning as the KJV, “preserved IN Christ.” I can KEEP apples safe from being eaten by others by placing them loose on a shelf and locking the cupboard. If I happen to forget that I put them there they will start to rot. On the other hand, I can PRESERVE them for a very long period of time if I preserve them in a canned fruit bottle and vacum sealed. I can now place it on the same shelf and safely eat them in two years time – no problem.

Friends, we are only completely safe when we are preserved IN Christ. Prov 18:10, “The name of the Lord is a strong TOWER: the righteous runneth INTO it, and is safe.” Paul often talks about the “faithful IN Christ, and not about the “faithful OF Christ.”

The main challenge with today’s message is this:
Have you made sure that your life has been preserved in Jesus Christ unto everlasting life? If not, don’t delay in handing yourself over into the protection of Jesus Christ. Let Him be the custodian of your soul!