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  • Writer's picturePastor Mike

January 10 2024


Wednesday, January 10

Ending Well

 

Psalm 119:33-40

HE

33 Teach me, O LORD, the way of Your statutes, And I shall keep it to the end.

34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart.

35 Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, For I delight in it.

36 Incline my heart to Your testimonies, And not to covetousness.

37 Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, And revive me in Your way.

38 Establish Your word to Your servant, Who is devoted to fearing You.

39 Turn away my reproach which I dread, For Your judgments are good.

40 Behold, I long for Your precepts; Revive me in Your righteousness.

 

Psalm 119:33-40 is the fifth stanza of this psalm, and every line or verse begins with the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet “HE”, in the Hebrew Bible. Paul (2 Tim. 4:6-8) and Jesus (John 17:4) both ended well, to the glory of God, but not every believer achieves that coveted goal. A good beginning ought to lead to a good ending, but that is not always the case. Lot, Samson, King Saul, Ahithophel, and Demas all made good beginnings, but their lives ended in tragedy. The psalmist wanted to end well (v. 33) but ending well is the consequence of living well. What are the essentials for a consistent life that ends well?

 

Learning (vv. 33-34). We must pray for spiritual enlightenment so we may learn God's Word and the way of His Word. It is not enough to read the Bible, outline the books, get answers to questions, and be able to discuss theology. We must come to understand the character of God and the workings of His providence (27:11; 86:11; 103:7). Just as children come to understand the character of their parents and what pleases them, so we must get to know God better and discern His desires. We have a complete revelation of the Lord and His will in the Scriptures, but we need inner illumination to discover what it means to our own lives. Our prayer "Teach me" must be balanced with "Give me understanding," and both must lead to obedience.

 

Obeying (v. 35). What we learn with our mind and apprehend with our heart must motivate the will to do what God commands. But our obedience cannot be that of a slave obeying a master in order to avoid discipline. It must be the obedience of a grateful child who delights to please his or her parents. "Doing the will of God from the heart" (Eph. 6:6). This was the way Jesus obeyed His Father: "I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart" (Ps. 40:8). "I always do those things that please Him" (John 8:29). If we want to know God's truth, we must be willing to obey God's will (John 7:17).

 

Delighting (vv. 36-37). These verses warn us that our hearts and minds ("eyes") must be focused on the truth of God and not material wealth and the vanities of the world (vv. 51, 157). Outlook determines outcome. Abraham looked for the heavenly city and ended well; Lot looked at Sodom and ended badly (Gen. 13; Heb. 11:8-16). What the heart loves and desires, the eyes will see (101:2-6; Num. 15:37-41; Jer. 22:17). To have one eye on the world and the other on the Word is to be double-minded, and God does not bless double-minded people (James 1:5-8).

 

Fearing (vv. 38-39). The fear of the Lord is the fear that conquers every fear. The fear of man is the fear that leads to bondage and defeat (Prov. 29:25). The psalmist was not afraid of his enemies; he was afraid of disgracing the Lord and bringing dishonor to His great name. The psalmist claimed the promises of God and trusted God to deal with his enemies; for we live on promises, not explanations. Our faith is tested by the promises of God and our faithfulness is tested by the precepts of God, and both are important. It is not our promises to Him (v. 57) but His promises to us that really count.

 

Longing (v. 40). To have a deep longing for God's truth is the mark of a maturing believer. His soul was "consumed with longing", so much so that he even "panted" for God's commands (v. 131). To “long” for something means we have it constantly on our mind and make our plans to fulfill that desire.

 

May the LORD give us a heart today to long for and delight in His eternal presence and truth as much as we have longed for the temporal fleeting things of this world! (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

 

God bless!

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