Saturday, September 2, 2017, 5:27 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Oh, To Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 119:57-80 (NASB).
Heth (vv. 57-64)
The Lord is my portion;
I have promised to keep Your words.
I sought Your favor with all my heart;
Be gracious to me according to Your word.
I considered my ways
And turned my feet to Your testimonies.
I hastened and did not delay
To keep Your commandments.
The cords of the wicked have encircled me,
But I have not forgotten Your law.
At midnight I shall rise to give thanks to You
Because of Your righteous ordinances.
I am a companion of all those who fear You,
And of those who keep Your precepts.
The earth is full of Your lovingkindness, O Lord;
Teach me Your statutes.
The Lord Jesus is my God, my treasure, my fortune, my future, my destiny, my purpose, and my sustenance for life, for all that I need and am and will be. Whether he provides me with much or with little of worldly goods, yet will I praise him and worship him. I will enjoy what he provides, and I will be a good steward of all that he gives me, but I will not make things my god. My life is not dependent on worldly possessions, but it is dependent on the Lord. He gives and he takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!
Because the Lord is my portion, and I find my life in him, and not in the pleasures of this world, I desire to keep his Words, for they are my delight! I love to sit with him each day and to listen to him speak tenderly his Words to my heart, and then to follow him wherever he leads me, and to do what he says. Because I love my Lord, I have turned my heart away from sinning against him, and I have turned my feet to walk in his ways and in his truth. Yet, this commitment is not without opposition, for we have an enemy of our souls whose goal it is to destroy us, so we find our strength in the Lord, and in his strength we press on, we persevere, and we don’t give up!
When we love our Lord, and our desire is for him, to serve him in all ways, we should love him more than our sleep. And, we should be willing to rise even at midnight to give him praise, or to pray for others, or to do whatever it is he would have us do, like writing out what he teaches us to share with others, for instance. And, he can make 4 hours of sleep feel like 8 hours of sleep when we are walking in obedience to him. He will give us all we need to follow him in surrender to his will for our lives. We just need to put our trust in him and not in our flesh, and let him teach us his ways, that we may walk in them. Lord, give me an undivided heart with which to praise you!
Teth (vv. 65-72)
You have dealt well with Your servant,
O Lord, according to Your word.
Teach me good discernment and knowledge,
For I believe in Your commandments.
Before I was afflicted I went astray,
But now I keep Your word.
You are good and do good;
Teach me Your statutes.
The arrogant have forged a lie against me;
With all my heart I will observe Your precepts.
Their heart is covered with fat,
But I delight in Your law.
It is good for me that I was afflicted,
That I may learn Your statutes.
The law of Your mouth is better to me
Than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
Those whom the Lord loves he disciplines (trains, corrects, rebukes, scourges), and the discipline is often painful. He allows us to go through difficult times, and to face opposition, for our good (for what is best for us) so that we may share His holiness. For those of us who are being trained by it, it produces a harvest of righteousness in our lives (See: Heb. 12:1-13). It is good for us to be afflicted, at times, in order that we might learn obedience through what we suffer, as did Jesus, and he was sinless.
When we go through these trials, thus, we should not resent them or become bitter of spirit, for God is allowing them in our lives to mature us and to strengthen us in our faith, to humble us, and to make us more like Him; to prune and to purify us, and to teach us to rely on him and not on ourselves. When things are going too smoothly for us we may become lazy in our walks of faith or arrogant, or we may stray from our pure devotion to Jesus Christ to follow after the flesh, instead of to submit to the Spirit of God. So, his divine discipline is for our good, that we might grow in Him and become like him, that we might forsake sin and follow him in obedience.
Yet, when we walk in obedience to our Lord, we will face opposition from those who have chosen a more fleshly path to follow. Some of them will try to shame us into compromising our faith and convictions in order that we might appear more “normal,” and they will try to pressure us into blending in better with society. Or, they will try to convince us that we are too serious, and that we need to lighten up and take life more easy. Often when people are walking in ways they know are not right for them, they may have a tendency to want to bring others down with them, for the godly make them uncomfortable. So, this should not surprise us when this happens.
Yodh (vv. 73-80)
Your hands made me and fashioned me;
Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments.
May those who fear You see me and be glad,
Because I wait for Your word.
I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are righteous,
And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.
O may Your lovingkindness comfort me,
According to Your word to Your servant.
May Your compassion come to me that I may live,
For Your law is my delight.
May the arrogant be ashamed, for they subvert me with a lie;
But I shall meditate on Your precepts.
May those who fear You turn to me,
Even those who know Your testimonies.
May my heart be blameless in Your statutes,
So that I will not be ashamed.
God created each one of us, and he created us for a purpose. His purpose for our lives, as believers in him, is that we should walk in his ways, and no longer to please our sinful flesh. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He gave his life up for us that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him. He didn’t save us just to give us an escape from hell and the hope of heaven when we die. His blood not only paid the price for our sins, but his blood bought us back for God, so we are to honor God with our lives, and not live to please ourselves.
My hope is that all who call themselves Christians would grasp these truths, for many are they who are lying to them, and who are convincing them that God requires nothing of them, and so they believe they don’t have to repent of their sins, and that they don’t have to obey Christ, but they are totally missing the point of why Jesus died, which was that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. His grace to us is not just to forgive us our sins, but it is to deliver us out of slavery (addiction) to sin. His grace, which brings salvation, instructs us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions (lusts), and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s return.
So, we need to reject the lies and believe and follow the truth. So, how do we do this? Well, first we need to know the truth, so we need to be in God’s Word and listening to what he says, and not buy into every message which sounds good in order to tickle itching ears. We must test what we hear against the Word of God to make certain that what we are hearing and believing is truth and that it is not based in lies and deception. Satan is very clever, and he uses clever enchanters to twist scripture to his advantage, so we have to be students of God’s Word so that we can discern errors and be certain of what is truth, so that we follow truth and not lies.
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Thomas O. Chisholm / W. J. Kirkpatrick
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.