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October 1st, 2008 at 9:25 am

Psalm 119:7: Praise Him for His Just Rules

In my morning New Testament Gospel reading today from The Saint James Daily Devotional Guide Jesus replied back to the women who had offered blessing upon the “womb that had borne him,” and said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it.”

Could we find a better summation of the beatitudes of Psalm 119:1-3?

(1) Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the Lord!
(2) Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with their whole heart,
(3) who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways!

When I read those words of Jesus, and the beatitude of Psalm 119, all I can think is, “I want to be that person.”

How many people glance at the Scriptures and their commands and admonishments and encouragements and promises and either scoff or just go their merry way. They see nothing therein to commend God to them, or to lay claim to their own hearts and lives. If we have been gripped by His word and find ourselves looking to it to find Him, we know that this is so because God has already acted to creative this love of His word within us.

In the commandments of God we find love and mercy and goodness rather than a burdensome yoke. The more we read and understand the Scripture in its totality, and see the parts in their place, and find the diversity and variety that add up together to completeness, the more we love the Author of such a word. Behind the words written by men we find the finger of God Himself. Reflected in the words of many and various authors is the beauty, often the terrible beauty, of the God of Israel whom Christians know as  the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Psalm 119:7 reads:

“I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous rules.”

Some bibles translate the latter phrase as “your just and righteous decrees.”

Though lacking in self confidence (Oh that my ways be steadfast…”), and knowing full well that the obedience that brings blessing he cannot conjure up apart from God’s own enabling hand, still he knows that continued exposure to YHWH’s just decrees will increase His own love of and praise for YHWH.

The word of God isn’t some sort of religious/moral rule book by which we order our paths in hope that we might please the deity, or get into heaven, or give us some sort of moral edge up on our neighbor; the word of God reveals God’s heart to us and creates in us awe and wonder and love and respect for Him.

Our hearts lifted up by the word of God we respond not just with action but with praise. In the Christian life all roads lead to worship.

I have found this to be true whether I am deep into the Levitical code, in awe of the majesty of Christ in the prologue of John’s Gospel, considering the big picture of life behind the veil in Revelation, seeing Jesus’ interaction with a needy and hurting man as he walked the shores of Galilee, or pondering our beginnings in the book of Genesis. Wherever I am in the Scripture the Spirit uses the Word to life up my heart to praise.

A life of bare obedience outside of praise and love of God is heavy and legalistic.  A life of worship apart from obedience is hypocritical and vain.

Dig deep into the Word of God and you will find the God of the Word, and you wil praise Him, and you will desire to follow Him unto the ends of the earth. You will be a blessed person whatever comes your way in life. You will bear good fruit in due season and your leaves will not wither.

We are not meant to keep God’s word to ourselves, as if denying Him the praise and glory. As we learn of His saving work and are recipients of it; as we are given insight into who He is in his attributes and character; as we see His love displayed for us in His providential care and also in His loving guidance – all this will cause us to praise Him in the assembly.

Let His word lift your heart today, that you will praise and give glory to Him, and desire to praise and obey Him in every way.

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