He who loved the Word (Part 7)
The sixth letter of the Hebrew Alphabet is called Vav and it looks just like a walking stick. It is doing its part in this Psalm of letting us know how we are to walk in the Lord’s Way. This letter Vav is an unusual one in as much that it is the only “vowel” in the Hebrew language that is in the written form. For those of you who do not know it, there are no written vowels, such as a,e,i,o and u in the Hebrew language.
If I, for example, had to write in our Latin letters the word hit, it would be spelt “hit”. In the Hebrew way it would only be spelt “ht”. Adding vowels in this we could get many interpretations such as, hot, hut, hat, hit and the Afrikaans het. Take into account also that all the original Hebrew in the Bible was written without spaces between the letters, as well as without vowels and you can now realize just what a huge work it was to translate the Old Testament in the first place.
Now to make things a little bit easier the letter Vav was added to indicate some of the vowels. How this works it is not possible for me to explain to you over the air. Similarly, God, in His wisdom however, uses the Holy Spirit to work things out in our lives, even if we are not able to see Him or the Holy Spirit with our physical eyes.
In John 3:8 Jesus, talking of the Holy Spirit to Nicodemus, said, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” The wind has always been a metaphor for the Spirit: RUACH in Hebrew and PNEUMA in the Greek. A long but interesting introduction to this mornings message! A lot more can be said here, but we must move on: and once again the Spirit has lead me to break this section into two messages, so please bear with me, as I do not want to be out of the leading of the Spirit.
41. GOD’S STRENGTH IS LOVE DIVINE (vs 41)
“May your unfailing love come to me, O Lord, your salvation according to your promise.” The Psalmist has had experience of God’s love in his life and he has found out that God never fails him with respect to this special love. He knows that God’s love is strong and it is permanent; that when we are in His kingdom we are given love to overflowing. To those who are not yet in the kingdom God has a different type of love. Not the intimate love of a Father putting His arms about His child, but the love of One who sees the person lost in the world, hopeless and without a goal or perhaps the wrong type of goal and LONGS for that person to come into His presence so that HE can give him the kind of love no One else can give.
To those who are already in the kingdom God pours out His love liberally. There is no end to His love, for you see, it lasts into eternity. In Jer 31:3 God said, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” To come into the love of God we must first come into His presence, ie, receive His offer of salvation through Jesus Christ.
This verse 41 couples God’s unfailing love to salvation. In the Old Testament nearly all the references to salvation are to deliverances from the enemies of Israel, they having taken for granted that the people of Israel are automatically God’s children. In the New Testament situation salvation is deliverance from the flesh into the Spiritual life with God. This being accomplished through the shed blood of the Saviour Jesus on the Cross.
42. BACK TALK (vs 42)
“Then I will answer the one who taunts me, for I trust in your word.” This verse follows on from the previous one. Many try to fight the devil in their own strength, and even “Christians” try to come against Satan the wrong way. They do so without the strong love of God in their hearts. They do so without the experience of salvation. Just like some of the Israelites of old they think that because they go to church and have come from a Christian family, and that they live in a so-called, Christian country, they automatically are in the kingdom of God! All children, up until the age of understanding and responsibility, are under the covering of God. After that each and every person has to make a personal decision as to where they stand in this world; OF the world or WITH Jesus.
In the Old Testament times, as also now, God wanted the circumcision of the heart and not the flesh. The outward is not a guarantee of the inward. If the inward is genuine then it cannot help but show on the outward. I often hear some who have been or are still with us on the CB Christian Corner tell others of what they have just done or where they have just been to. I hear the different styles of talk, the CB Christian Corner talk, and then the worldly talk some time later.
Back talk can mean two things: it can mean backchat where we counter, or argue, someone’s statements, or it can mean we talk back to ourselves. Not all the problems are caused by Satan. Sometimes we are our OWN enemy. Certainly, we need to withstand Satan when he attacks us with all the temptations and seductions of the flesh, but we also need to talk back to ourselves in these situations.
Unless you tell yourself, “I WILL NOT do such and such,” and continue to say so, you will fall into the trap of the flesh, because the trap of the flesh is always very enticing. Learn the Word of the Lord and then you will be able to counter these attacks. This is what Jesus did just after His baptism and during His 40 days in the wilderness. Are you able to counter Satan by also challenging with the word, “It is written….”?
43 SECURE THE WORD IN YOUR HEART (vs 43)
“Do not snatch the word of truth from my mouth, for I have put my hope in your laws.” What do you do if you do not want anybody to snatch or take something away from you? You put it in a safe place or you secure it very strongly, or you lock it up, not with a weak lock but with a very strong one. Sometimes we have to double lock your possessions. To secure has many meanings: to fasten, to set, to glue, to concrete, etc. The Psalmist asks of God not to take away God’s truth from him. Will God do such a thing? Would I shock you and upset your theology if I answered you in the positive? Yes! But under what circumstance would God do such an act?
It is when we reject the Word of God, it is when we reject Jesus as the Saviour of the world and refuse to believe that Jesus is the Son of God and believe in Him that God lets us back into the hands of Satan if we were once a believer, and leaves us in the world if we rejected Him from the beginning. How can I say something like that? In Psalm 82:11-12 God said. “But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me. (Now listen carefully) So I gave them OVER to their stubborn hearts to follow their OWN devices.”
Judas was three years with Jesus, personally, yet God delivered him to Satan. It was not God’s choice, but it was Judas’ choice when he chose to betray Jesus to the Sanhedrin and the priests of the temple. Later Judas was sorry for his deed, yet he did not ask Jesus’ forgiveness or go back to Him. Talking of the immoral brother in the Corinthian Church Paul, in 1 Cor 5:4-5 said, “When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, AND THE POWER of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over (to who?) to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.”
In one instance the taking away of the truth was permanent, and the other was temporary. In both cases the Truth of God was taken away from them. We, my brothers and sisters, have to be very careful that that does not happen to us. It can happen that the Holy Spirit has been taken away from us without us realizing it.
We have a very good example of this in the Book of Judges chapter 16 where Samson disobeyed God and told Delilah the secret of his God-given strength. Judges 16:20, “Then she called, ‘Samson, the Philistines are upon you!’ He awoke from his sleep and thought, ‘Ill go out AS BEFORE and shake myself free.’ (Now listen) But he did not know (what?) that the Lord has LEFT him.” What a sad event in a once Spirit-filled believer! Don’t be a complacent or sleepy Christian, we must be on our guard, it could happen to both you and I. Secure the Word in your heart, set your mind on the things of above, and then concrete yourself in the love of Jesus!
44. EVERLASTING OBEDIENCE (vs 44)
“I will always obey your law, for ever and ever.” This is a short but powerful sentence by the Psalmist. This is one of the fundamentals of our Christian walk with God, Christ and the Holy Spirit. Obedience is the key to happiness! An untrained dog is just a nuisance about the house as well as a dangerous one. It just brings unhappiness on to itself as well as on the owner. On the other hand, a well trained and an obedient dog is a pleasure to its owner, and both live in a relaxed atmosphere. So it is also with us in our relationship with God.
If we are obedient to His instructions and His calling, and we are trained in His Word as well, we will also live in a relaxed relationship. When I travel along the highway and I travel at not more than 120 km per hour, or not more than the speed limit for that stretch of road, I have no fear of being caught in a speed trap! Yet if I choose to ignore the sign then I travel in suspense all the time and must expect to get caught and to pay the fine. Rules and regulations are there for our benefit and our safety, as well as others.
Listener, if you choose to ignore God’s Instruction and Maintenance Book, the Holy Bible, then you have only yourself to blame, no-one else. This Psalm has many instructions and encouragements tucked away in its verses. Take them, as we go through them, and chew on them and swallow the Words of Truth and digest them so that you may grow in the strength of God’s love. Back talk to yourself when you see yourself doing the things God hates and then secure yourself in the Word of Truth coupled with an everlasting obedience. When you do that you will have no fear of God taking His Truth from you and leaving you alone!