He Man who loved the Word (Part 3)

Psalm 119:17-24

Those of you who have the NIV Bible will see the spelling to the Hebrew letters of the alphabet. The third section begins with the word GIMEL which also representes the numeral three. A very short introduction, but let us go straight into what God has for us:

17. SEEK GOD’S GOODNESS (verse 17)

“Do good to your servant, and I will live; I will obey your word.” We have something interesting here in this first verse of this morning’s reading, in the words, “Do good”.

Let us take Psalm 116:7 as an example, where the Psalmist said, “The Lord has dealt BOUNTIFULLY WITH THEE.” (KJV) (Modern language) and the (RSV) while the (NIV) translates this verse as, “The Lord has been good to you.” (Ou vertaling; “Die Here het goed aan jou gedoen.” (1983 Afrikaaans vertaling): . “Die Here het goed aan my gedoen.” Whatever way you look at it all these translations do not have the words of the original in Hebrew.

In Hebrew that part of the verse reads “BI-JEHOVAH GAMAL ALAIVI” and loosely translated means “Jehovah has made me succeed, or grow, or surpass in camels.” To have translated it this way would not really have conveyed the true meaning to us Westerners, while in the east, the greater the number of camels, the greater the wealth, and the more God has blessed them with wealth. There are other places in the Scriptures where the description of camels is also translated as the goodness of God.

The lesson we have to learn here is that we FIRST have to be a servant, a submissive servant to the Lord for Him to really bless us to the full, to be good to us to the full. Jesus said in Luke 12:32, “But seek his (God’s ) kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” Can it be said that you, too, have entered the kingdom of God?

18. OPEN MY EYES, O LORD! (verse 18)

There is a very well-known hymn that was written during the last century by Clara H. Scott based on this verse, and the first verse goes like this: “Open my eyes that I may see, Glimpses of truth thou hast for me; Place in my hands the wonderful key that shall unclasp and set me free. Silently now I wait for Thee, Ready my God, Thy will to see; Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit Divine”

The clue to the opening of our eyes to God’s truth for us is to wait silently, in the Spirit, for God to speak to us. You see, we are so ready to ASK for things in our life, that we do not take the time to LISTEN to Him. We have to bring ourself into His presence, we have to open our eyes to what God is doing around us, and we have to open our spiritual eyes and ears to see and hear what God wants to say to us.

An excellent example of opening of the eyes is in 2 Kings 6:15-17 where Elisha asked God to open the eyes of his servant so that he could see on the hills all the horses and chariots of fire protecting them. Elisha was fully in God’s will and so had no problem recognising what God had for him. When we submit to the working of the Spirit in our life we will be lead of the Spirit to the answer to our prayers.

19. THAT WORD PILGRIM AGAIN (verse 19)

“I am a stranger on earth; do not hide your commands from me.” Various translations have the word Stranger or Sojourner in place of Pilgrim and they convey basically the same meaning. The believers and followers of Jesus Christ belong to another kingdom than those who live without Christ. This kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom at this moment, and every person who has Jesus as his or her Saviour has the kingdom of God within them (Luke 17:21) according to Jesus Himself and His word this is the truth because He IS the truth, the Way and the Life.

The Way and the life simply means the way we live in the kingdom of God. The Christian, and I am talking about the born-again in the Spirit person, has a different way of living to the man in the world, even if the person without Christ is a very moral person. If the Christian’s way of living and speaking and thinking does not differ from the world then something is radically wrong. If your life is like this then maybe you should take stock of your life in and with Jesus.

20. THE BURNING DESIRE (verse 20)

“My soul is consumed with longing for your law at all times.” In Luke 24, after the Shabbat that followed the Crucifixion of Christ and His burial, two disciples were dejectedly returning to their homes, on the Emmaus Road. Their whole world had crumbled about them. The King they had put their hopes on and in had died, and now they were crushed. They must have looked a sorry sight!

A man, who for some reason they did not recognize (actually there is a very logical reason but we have no time to discuss it here), came into their company and spoke to them as they walked along. As Jesus talked to them their hearts started to have burning inside them.

A hope started to flicker in their hearts as Jesus showed them that the Messiah HAD to die so that others could have everlasting life. He gave them wonderful hope as He explained that He had to rise from the grave and be with them forever. Can it be said of you that you have this burning desire in your heart, to have Jesus as your constant Companion? A burning desire to read God’s Word?; A burning desire to communicate with Him?

21 TO STRAY IS TO BECOME LOST (verse 21)

“You rebuke the arrogant, who are cursed and who stray from your commands.” To stray implies that at one time that person was in the Lord’s will but now has moved away from the path. When one moves away from the will of the Lord he moves away out of the protection of the Protector. When one is in God’s will a hedge of protection is about the believer. Just before His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed to the Father about His disciples.

What follows now is a portion of His prayer in John 17:11-12, “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name – the name you gave me – so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that the scripture would be fulfilled.”

It is a wonderful thing to be kept in the Lord’s protection and one aspect of it and knowledge of it, is when you experience that wonderful peace the Lord gives you under all circumstances, even when you are in deep sorrow. Jesus is the Prince of Peace, He one who is in authority over peace and when you are His, He shares that peace with you.

22. LOOK AFTER MY WAYS (verse 22)

“Remove me from scorn and contempt, for I keep your statutes.” The Psalmist is saying that because he follows and keeps the Lord’s commands and instructions and lives the way God wants him to live, he counts on God to look after him. God’s covenant was a great hope and promise that he cherished in his heart. He fully believed, and experienced, that God was a covenant-keeping God and never went back on His promises. He also knew that for every promise there was a condition that he had to meet before the promise would be honoured.

Today, unfortunately, so many tend to ignore the conditions to all Gods promises, and they then wonder why they fail in so many things. We all need to prayerfully consider our own faults and then correct them in line with Jesus instructions. The way of the Christian is also the path that we have to walk, the path of righteousness. Proverbs 15:17, “The highway of the upright avoids evil; he who guards his way guards his life.” A good verse to remember!

23. IN SPITE OF CIRCUMSTANCES (verse 23)

“Though rulers sit together and slander me, your servant will meditate on your decrees.” We may be going through rough times at work or elsewhere, yet we must never take revenge into our own hands. Put it to the Lord if you feel you have been unjustly treated. If God sees fit to do so, He will do what is necessary. In Deut. 32:35, God said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay.” Why are we not to take the revenge into our own hands? Revenge means that there is the possibility of hate somewhere in our heart, and as we do the avenging we are apt to go overboard in our judgement of the circumstance. Revenge also means that there is no place for love in our heart, we are out to apply destruction instead of reconciliation.

The world was full of sin when Jesus came to this earth. He did not come to judge, but to provide a way of reconciliation between the sinner and the Father. The time is near, however, when He comes the second time, this time in judgement. Are we ready for this occasion? Are we keeping ourself pure in spirit and in mind? Even more important – are we watching and waiting? Are you ready for the call?

Habakkuk 3:16-19, “I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled. Yet I waited patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us. Though the fig-tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet will I rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour.” Listeners that is how we should be in the face of hard times!

24. THE COUNSELLOR (24)

“Your statutes are my delight; they are my counsellors.” What is a counsellor? It is one who advises and/or gives legal advice. The Psalmist is glad that God has given him a set of rules and instructions that he can go to and seek advice on what to do and what not to do. Apart from the Word our Counsellor is the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ. Let us not neglect in seeking their advice in this complex and confusing world.

Isaiah called Jesus the Mighty Counsellor. He is the best counsellor we can ever have to help us especially if He is in your heart.

Is He?