Sunday, January 21
First, I want to say a special thank you for all the prayers for our little grandson, Luke and his parents, Chris and Kimberly. And especially over these past several weeks for the major surgeries that he has gone through to replace or repair the shunt to relieve the pressure on his brain. We are asking for special prayer again this morning, as he once again is going into surgery, scheduled at 9:25 am, that sounds like it is even more invasive to deal with the issues that possibly are causing the shunt to fail so often. We could never sufficiently express our gratitude for all your prayers! Thank you!
Jesus Christ, Our Wonderful Surety
Psalm 119:121-128 “AYIN”
121 I have done justice and righteousness; Do not leave me to my oppressors.
122 Be surety for Your servant for good; Do not let the proud oppress me.
123 My eyes fail from seeking Your salvation And Your righteous word.
124 Deal with Your servant according to Your mercy, And teach me Your statutes.
125 I am Your servant; Give me understanding, That I may know Your testimonies.
126 It is time for You to act, O LORD, For they have regarded Your law as void.
127 Therefore I love Your commandments More than gold, yes, than fine gold!
128 Therefore all Your precepts concerning all things I consider to be right; I hate every false way.
Psalm 119:121-128 is the sixteenth stanza of this psalm, and every line or verse begins with the sixteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet “AYIN”, in the Hebrew Bible. For the first time, the words "oppressors" and "oppress" appear in this psalm (vv. 121-122). The word describes the abuse of power and authority, taking advantage of the underprivileged by either violence or deceit. The word includes the ideas of accusation and slander. The Jews were commanded not to oppress one another (Lev. 25:14, 17; Deut. 24:5-22), and this included the strangers in the land (Ex. 22:2; 23:9). Often, God's people suffer oppression while the guilty go free. When that happens, we need to remember the Lord and what He does for us.
When we are being oppressed, we should remember that the Lord is the Rewarder (v. 111). The psalmist was not boasting but affirming to the Lord that he was not guilty of anything that deserved punishment. He was a man of integrity who had a clear conscience; he had treated others justly and had practiced God's holy laws diligently. That in itself was a blessing, but God's people long to see justice reigning on the earth. When God rewards His people, it is a witness to sinners that their day of judgment is certain (Psalm 58:10-11). "Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward" (Heb. 10:35).
Most of all, we need to be assured that the Lord is our Surety (v. 122). A person became surety when he or she pledged to pay another person's debt or fulfill a promise. When Jacob refused to allow Benjamin to go to Egypt for food with his brothers, it was Judah who willingly became surety for his youngest brother (Gen. 43:1-10; 44:18-34). Judah's passionate speech before his brother in Egypt assured Joseph that Judah had truly experienced a change of heart and that it was safe to reveal his identity to the men. To become surety for a friend's debts is forbidden in Scripture, lest you end up with a burden greater than you can handle (Prov. 11:15; 17:18; 22:26-27). But the Son of God became surety for those who have trusted Him! (Heb. 7:22).
No matter how many promises we might make to the Lord, we can never fulfill them. But in His death on the cross, Jesus has paid the debt for us, and in His ministry of intercession at the throne in heaven, He is our living Surety. As long as He lives, our salvation is secure, and He lives "by the power of an endless life" (Heb. 7:16). So, no matter what people do to us and no matter how we feel, our Surety is secure and we remain in the family of God. Jesus has taken the responsibility for our salvation, and He will never fail.
Finally, we should remember that the Lord is our Master and the final Judge (vv. 123-128). Whenever people attack us, they also attack the Lord, for we belong to Him. When Saul of Tarsus persecuted Christians on earth, He also persecuted their Lord in heaven (Acts 9:1-5). God cares for His servants. He does not always prevent us from being oppressed, but He always has a good reason for permitting it to happen. He is a loving Master who teaches us His will and gives us the discernment we need to handle the problems of life. Even more, He gives us promises that we can claim and thereby find the strength and wisdom we need. As God's servants, we do not live by explanations; we live by promises.
In our impatience, we sometimes want God to work immediately and set everything right, but His ways and times are not always the same as ours. Faith and patience go together (Heb. 6:12), and God's delays are not God's denials. The day will come when the truth will be revealed and sin will be judged; meanwhile, instead of complaining about what we have paid or lost, let us rejoice in the wealth that we have in God's Word, wealth that can never be taken from us. All of God's precepts concerning all things are always right, so we can depend on the Scriptures and have the guidance that we need. If we love the Word, we will hate the wrong paths of sinners and stay away from them. We do not even put one foot on the path of the wicked! (Prov. 1:13).