Monday, September 19, 2016
Who walk in the law of the Lord.
How blessed are those who observe His testimonies,
Who seek Him with all their heart."
This psalm is said to be "a collection of David's pious and devout ...sudden breathings and elevations of his soul to God...it is chest of gold ring, not a chain of gold link." As such, "He that shall read it considerately, it will either warm him or shame him." (Matthew Henry)
It is a work of poetry divided into 22 parts, according to the number of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and each part containing six verses, A to Z, so to speak. "Some have called it the saints alphabet." How's that for an alphabet book for you?
Happy, happy, happy.
"God's people are happy people...Those who are happy, 1. Who make the will of God the rule of all their actions, God's word is a law to them...this is walking in God's ways. 2. Who are upright and honest in their religion--undefiled in the way, not only who keep themselves unspotted from the world, but who are habitually sincere in their intentions, in whose spirit there is not guile, who are really as good as they seem to be and...3. Who are true to the trust reposed in them as God's professing people...4. Who have a single eye to God as their chief good and highest end in all they do in religion: they seek Him with their whole heart. 5. Who carefully avoid all sin." (Matthew Henry)
Are the streets of gold aspen leaves?
Wow, I want to read that again. Those whose way is blameless and are walking in the Lord, observing His testimonies, and seeking Him with ALL their heart. Really, that it the crux of the matter. A single eye toward God is set opposed to a divided loyalty. "Not just a part, He wants all of my heart." This is not some "push-me, pull-me" existence, serving two masters (Matthew 6:24). Some people try to drive through life with their foot on the brake and on the gas pedal at the same time: that only causes the engine to rev up without going anywhere, just a whole lot of useless noise.
The KJV says, "Blessed are the undefiled in the way, or O the blessedness of the perfect ones in the way." "By the perfect...we are to understand those who sincerely believe what God as spoken... and have their lives and hearts regulated by the spirit of love, fear, and obedience."
As for being undefiled, none of us is exempt from having become defiled. However, the difference is being washed in the blood of the Lamb to become unspotted. James 1:27 tells us that "pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. If God didn't think it was possible, He wouldn't have asked us to do it. "The will of God cannot lead us where the grace of God cannot keep us."
My teenage son is far from perfect. Even though he sits most of his high school games on the bench, his uniform still gets dirty. However, he blessed our socks off when he chose to remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy this past weekend. They had a tournament Saturday and Sunday. If he came to church, he would miss a game. We left the decision totally up to him. There is an element which made us want to push commitment to his team, but another was to be encouraged that he chose to maintain his commitment to God first and foremost, that he valued church so highly in his life. After all, I was reminded of another baseball player I once knew.
When we pastored in Roseburg, Oregon, I was privileged to teach an outstanding group of high school students. I was surprised one Sunday when one of the young men showed up in his baseball uniform. He too had had a tournament. But though he was a starting pitcher, he chose to honor God first and attend worship before playing, even if it meant missing a game. His coach had uttered a threat if he dared to miss a game. He only shrugged. There was not a question in his mind. You see, he was from a rough background with a druggie mother, and he had recently come to live with his godly little grandmother. Upon his conversion, it was a no-brainer which was more important to him. As good as sports were, they did not save him. His saintly grandma was a bigger influence than his coach. It has always left a tender spot in my heart even after all these twenty something years later.
So how could we not be supportive of our son who decided to walk in the laws of the Lord,
observing His testimonies and seeking Him with his whole heart? We had warned him that there might be consequences with a less than impressed coach, that he probably would not see any play this tournament. Thankfully his coach was not angry with him. However, there was enough tension in the afternoon game that had umpires, coaches and even players swearing and several on the verge of being tossed. There was our son who though sitting on the sidelines who was cursed at as well by the other coach who probably mistook him for one of the players who had been on the field.
Yep, he was blameless. He might have taken his eye off the ball, but he had a single eye for God. In the game of life, he scored! It's out of the park!
at 8:41 AM