Wednesday, January 17
The “Forever” Word
89 Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven.
90 Your faithfulness endures to all generations; You established the earth, and it abides.
91 They continue this day according to Your ordinances, For all are Your servants.
92 Unless Your law had been my delight, I would then have perished in my affliction.
93 I will never forget Your precepts, For by them You have given me life.
94 I am Yours, save me; For I have sought Your precepts.
95 The wicked wait for me to destroy me, But I will consider Your testimonies.
96 I have seen the consummation of all perfection, But Your commandment is exceedingly broad.
Psalm 119:89-96 is the twelfth stanza of this psalm, and every line or verse begins with the twelfth letter of the Hebrew alphabet “LAMEDH”, in the Hebrew Bible. We live in a changing world. To younger people, change is a treat, but to older folks, change is a threat. We like to relax in our comfort zone and resist the dramatic changes going on around us and within us. But if we do, we fail to grow spiritually and we miss the opportunities God gives us to reach others with the Gospel. The psalmist made some wonderful affirmations in this section, which if heeded, will anchor us to the eternal and enable us to be used of God during these turbulent times.
First in verse 89, he affirms that God's Word is settled, it is the “forever” Word! Ever since Satan asked Eve, "Indeed, has God said...?" (Gen. 3:1), the enemy has been attacking the Word of God. Atheists, agnostics, philosophers, scientists, and garden-variety sinners of all kinds have ignored the Bible, laughed at it, and tried to do away with it, but it still stands. Though born in eternity, God's Word is rooted in history and speaks to every generation that will listen. The Word is "founded forever" (v. 152) and “will endure forever” (v. 162). Build your life on the Word of God and you will weather all the changes of life!
Next, the psalmist affirms that God is faithful (v. 90a). Pause and read Psalm 90 and see what Moses had to say about the eternal God and the changes of life. From generation to generation, He is God, and we can commit ourselves, our children, our grandchildren, and our great-grandchildren to His care. Also, God's creation is established (vv. 90b-91). Until that last day when God's fire purifies all things and He ushers in a new heaven and earth (2 Peter 3; Rev. 21-22), this present creation will stand. The laws that He built into creation will also stand, whether scientists understand them or not. People may abuse and waste the earth and its resources, but God's creation will continue to serve the Creator. Everything in creation serves the Lord except human beings made in the image of God. What a tragedy! This is still our Father's world and we can trust Him to manage it wisely.
In God’s “forever Word”, we find His peace and life. (vv. 92-95). We do not go to the Bible to escape the realities of life but to be strengthened to face life and serve God effectively. We may not be able to delight in what is going on in the world, but we can delight in what God says in His Word. The Word equips us to deal with the changes of life and the crises that come. The verb "sought out" in verse 94 means "to consult, to inquire, to beat a path, to read repeatedly. The psalmist beat a path to the Bible, read it over and over, studied it, and when he had to make a decision, consulted it carefully. Philosophies change, political expedients fail, promises and contracts are broken, but the Word of God still stands.
Finally, the psalmist affirms that we can trust God for the impossible (v. 96). Whatever mankind does will never, reach perfection, because our human work comes from our limited mind, strength, and ability. In contrast to the limits of mankind, God's Word and works have no limits. His “commandment”, His “forever” Word is “exceedingly broad”, limitless, boundless, immeasurable. Though Jesus lived, taught, and died in the little land of Palestine, His life and ministry have reached a whole world.
We may not like all the changes going on in the world, but we need not be frustrated and afraid. God is on the throne; He holds the world in His hands; His promises can never fail; so, let's get moving and remember Ephesians 3:20, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us”.