Monday, January 15
Our Instruction Book
73 Your hands have made me and fashioned me; Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments.
74 Those who fear You will be glad when they see me, Because I have hoped in Your word.
75 I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are right, And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.
76 Let, I pray, Your merciful kindness be for my comfort, According to Your word to Your servant.
77 Let Your tender mercies come to me, that I may live; For Your law is my delight.
78 Let the proud be ashamed, For they treated me wrongfully with falsehood; But I will meditate on Your precepts.
79 Let those who fear You turn to me, Those who know Your testimonies.
80 Let my heart be blameless regarding Your statutes, That I may not be ashamed.
Psalm 119:73-80 is the tenth stanza of this psalm, and every line or verse begins with the tenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet “YODH”, in the Hebrew Bible. Led by God's Spirit, the author wrote this long psalm to convince us to make knowing and obeying the Word of God the most important activities in our lives. In the previous section, he reminded us how necessary God's Word is when we are experiencing difficulties, but it does not stop there. We need God's Word for all of life. He mentioned several ministries of the Word that are necessary in the life of the faithful child of God.
From God’s Word we learn about and understand ourselves (v. 73). You don’t need to go to college and take psychology as a major to figure out who you are and what is your purpose in life. When we purchase a new appliance, we take time to read the owner's manual to put it together properly, run it properly, and maintain it. Well, the Bible is the owner's manual for God's people. It is the only book that tells the truth about where we came from, why we are here, what we must do to succeed in life, and where we are going. God made us (Psalm 139:13-18) and knows us better than we know ourselves, and He shares this knowledge in His Word. As we read, we "see ourselves" in the people and circumstances described in the pages of the Bible. We do not see "past history" but present reality! Unbelievers have no idea what the world and its people are really like, for the "real world" and the "real people" are presented in the pages of the Bible. The Bible is a mirror in which we see ourselves, and then do something about what we see (James 1:22-27).
A daily diet in God’s Word allows us to become a blessing to others (vv. 74, 79). When we hope and meditate in God's Word, we experience joy in life, and this helps us to encourage others. "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle" (Ian Maclaren). Are people happy to see us arrive or are they happier when we leave? When our friends and acquaintances have burdens, do they turn to us for help, or do we add to their burdens? We are commanded to bear our own burdens courageously and to help others bear their burdens (Gal. 6:2, 5).
“I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are right, And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me” (v. 75). We receive God's best in our afflictions (vv. 75-78, 80). Life is difficult and we must accept from the hand of God both the pleasant experiences and the unpleasant (Job 2:1-10; Phil. 4:10-13). In the dark hours of life, the Word is a light that shows us the way (v. 105), and we do not go stumbling down the wrong paths. We have the love of God to comfort us and the promises of God to encourage us. We may not delight in our circumstances, but we pray that God will use them to spread the Gospel and glorify His name (Phil. 1:12-16).
The enemy attacks us and spreads lies about us (v. 78), but we turn to the Word and find the help that we need. Our determination in Christ is that we shall not be ashamed. God's decrees are perfect, and they come from His loving heart (Psalm 33:11), so we have nothing to fear.
I don’t know about you, but usually when I buy something new that needs to be put together, I attempt to do it without looking at the instructions. But after a while, when I can’t figure it out or it isn’t working properly, I find the instruction manual that came with it and finally do it right.
My friend, when all else fails in your life, read the instructions.