Gods Signature: The Wonders of the Hebrew Scriptures

God's Signature Wonders of Hebrew Scriptures by Steve Maltz
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No ratings or reviews yet. Be the first to write a review. Best Selling in Nonfiction See all. The idea is that if only God teaches him, he will then persevere and keep it to the end. It is not an appeal for direction in some special case of difficulty, but rather for the clear manifestation of the meaning of the will of God. Only a God-changed heart can pray this.

Left to himself, man is unable to keep the way and word of God much less keep it to the end. Here the Psalmist prays as one who has received the will , and now prays for the doing of it. We should reckon ourselves to the duty of following God and His word to the end. Give me understanding… I shall observe it with my whole heart : Without this understanding, the Psalmist could not follow the desire of his transformed heart. The Psalmist had no doubt that God has given His word to us; his only fear was that he would not understand it or be distracted from it.

Yet he was utterly confident that God had spoken and that it could be understood rightly by the prayerful heart and mind. Incline my heart to Your testimonies, And not to covetousness. Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, And revive me in Your way.

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Deal bountifully with Your servant : This is a wonderful request; boldly asking for blessing deal bountifully , while at the same time coming humbly before God Your servant. There never was, perhaps, in that town a more severe time of distress. My best friend Yoaav named after David's military commander converted to Christianity, in part because the personal relationship with God that Christians have, seemed so much more like the ideal of the Hebrew Bible, compared to the indirect, impersonal relationship with God which is all that Rabbinic Judaism can provide. His soul and spiritual life felt dry. How is that compatible with God being the Truth?

For the first time he is confessing a potentially divided mind. We should beware of all sins, but specially of mother- sins. Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things : The Psalmist rightly understood that some things, comparatively speaking, are worthless things. They are of no value for eternity and little value for the present age. He prayed that God would empower and enable him to turn away his eyes and attention from such things. Many lives are wasted because people find themselves unwilling or unable to turn away their eyes from worthless things. The modern world with its media and entertainment technology brings before us an endless river of worthless things to occupy not only our eyes and time, but also our heart and minds.

Some things are clearly worthless ; some things are thought by many to be worthy, but are in fact worthless. The Psalmist understood that he had a natural tendency towards worthless things , so he prayed for that natural tendency to be counter-acted. Yet the eyes are so powerful that the Psalmist had to pray; pray for power outside himself to turn his eyes from worthless things.

Does the Psalmist have no eyelids? No muscles in his neck to turn the head? Yet we all sympathize with this prayer; the eyes are so small — yet they can lead the whole person, and often lead to destruction. This is because the eyes lead the heart, lead the mind, and can lead the whole person. He did not gouge out his own eyes or pray God to do it; instead he wanted to look another way, a better way. The best way to look away from sin is to look at something else. And revive me in Your way : This is another prayer for revival; this time, to be made alive again in the way or path of God.

Life is the peculiar sphere of God: he is the Lord and Giver of life. No man ever received spiritual life, or the renewal of it, from any other source but the living God. Beloved, this is worth recollecting, for we are very apt when we feel ourselves declining to look anywhere but to the Lord. We, too, often look within. Establish Your word to Your servant, Who is devoted to fearing You. Turn away my reproach which I dread, For Your judgments are good.

Behold, I long for Your precepts; Revive me in Your righteousness. This is a prayer for a change in the heart and mind of the servant of God, so that the word of the LORD would be established in them. Establish Your word to Your servant is much the same idea as what Mary said to Gabriel regarding the word of the Lord that he brought to her: Let it be to me according to your word Luke There is some reproach [disgrace] that we face as faithful followers of Jesus.

Paul suffered these kind of reproaches 1 Timothy and indeed even took pleasure in them 2 Corinthians This kind of reproach we expect and receive as followers of Jesus Hebrews , 1 Peter I long for Your precepts; revive me in Your righteousness : Again the Psalmist prays for revival. There are almost no words in Hebrew that begin with this letter, which is properly a conjunction, and hence in each of the verses in this section the beginning of the verse is in the original a conjunction — vau.

So shall I have an answer for him who reproaches me, For I trust in Your word. Let Your mercies come… Your salvation according to Your word : Here the Psalmist acknowledged that mercy and salvation come from God to man through the Word of God. It actually brings mercy and salvation to us. The Psalmist rightly said mercies , in the plural.

The ancient Hebrew word here translated mercies is hesed. For centuries it was translated with words like mercy , kindness , and love. However, many disagreed and there is no good reason for changing the long-held understanding of hesed and taking it as a word that mainly emphasizes covenant loyalty see R. The disapproving voices we often hear can be answered by our abiding trust in the approval that the believer finds in God. When we believe who God is and what He has done for us in Jesus Christ, the disapproval of this world is answered.

And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, For I have hoped in Your ordinances. So shall I keep Your law continually, Forever and ever. Take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth : This request is rooted in the understanding that it is only by the goodness and grace of God that His word does dwell with us. Therefore the prayer comes that it may continue so. This is true for humanity in general; hypothetically, God might have created man yet never communicated with him by His word. They are so because of the work of God in them, so it is wise and worthy to pray that it would remain so.

It is true most of all for those who proclaim the word of God. For I have hoped in Your ordinances : His past hope is the ground for his future expectation. He has hoped in the word of God ordinances in the past, and has not been disappointed. It was to glorify God through obedience to His word, not any self-serving purpose. And I will walk at liberty, For I seek Your precepts. I will speak of Your testimonies also before kings, And will not be ashamed.

And I will delight myself in Your commandments, Which I love. Freedom comes through obedience and submission to God. The Spirit of holiness is a free spirit; he sets men at liberty and enables them to resist every effort to bring them under subjection. The precepts of God were not forced upon him; for he sought them. I will speak of Your testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed : This is an example of the liberty just mentioned.

To have the boldness and ability to speak freely of God and His great word before kings and the great men of this earth shows true liberty. In the verses following he lists at least three things that come from this life of obedience: liberty , courage will not be ashamed , and delight. These are blessings to the obedient life; blessings not earned by our obedience, but simply enjoyed by the one who will keep His law continually.

We may say that all true love has these three components: feeling, the giving of honor, and the desire to spend time and energy in knowing the beloved. Because it is not loved. We do not go to it, as the hungry man to his food, as the miser to his treasure. The loss is incalculable. Remember the word to Your servant, Upon which You have caused me to hope.

This is my comfort in my affliction, For Your word has given me life. Speaking in the manner of men, this was a plea for God to fulfill the promises stated in His word. God wants His people to plead His stated promises back to Him in prayer. Sue him on his bond. He loves that we should wrestle with him by his promises. He binds himself down to such and such a course when he says that such and such a thing shall be.

Hence, when you grasp the promise, you get a hold on God. It came because God worked in him to hope in His word. This also demonstrates that the word of God is worthy of such hope. Man has to eat his words, sometimes, and unsay his say. He would perform his engagement, but he cannot. It is not that he is unfaithful, but that he is unable. Now this is never so with God. His word never returns to him void. Go, find ye the snowflakes winging their way like white doves back to heaven!

Go, find the drops of rain rising upward like diamonds flung up from the hand of a mighty man to find a lodging-place in the cloud from which they fell! Until the snow and the rain return to heaven, and mock the ground which they promised to bless, the word of God shall never return to him void. It does not sing the song of deliverance therefrom.

In this stanza there is no specific prayer for help. It is a way of acknowledging that suffering is common to human beings. In the midst of affliction , the Psalmist proclaims his comfort: this is my comfort. My comfort… my affliction : In the midst of an affliction suited to the individual, the believer can also enjoy a comfort specifically suited to them.

It is my affliction, and it is my comfort.

Instead, the word of God gives life — especially to dead preachers. The proud have me in great derision, Yet I do not turn aside from Your law. These proud mockers look at the Psalmist and dedication to the word of God and hold him in great derision. Yet I do not turn aside from Your law : We almost sense a note of defiance in the Psalmist. No matter how great the derision that comes from the proud , he will hold faithful to God and His word.

Be satisfied with the approbation of your God. Has he not adopted you by his Spirit, sealed you for his kingdom? Therein he comforted himself. The proud who hold the simple believer in great derision enjoy the applause and honor of some in this world; but they can never know the comfort that the Psalmist wrote of here. So we are comforted and strengthened in hope as we remember how God has dealt with men and circumstances in the past. Indignation has taken hold of me Because of the wicked, who forsake Your law. Your statutes have been my songs In the house of my pilgrimage. This has become mine, Because I kept Your precepts.

He recognized their great sin: who forsake Your law. Worse yet, they often lead others to do the same. Jesus graphically described the penalty for those who lead others astray Luke Even as Paul and Silas could sing in the midst of suffering Acts , so could the Psalmist.

Even as a pilgrim, not yet home and afflicted, he could sing unto his God. We are in this country, not as residents, but only as visitors, who take this country en route for glory. Yet this comfort was also real in the figurative night that believers may face. This has become mine : This is a glorious, triumphant statement from the Psalmist.

Although obedience does not earn these blessings, it turns us around to receive them. Because I kept Your precepts : The Psalmist enjoys this triumph not only because he knows the word of God, but also because he obeys them I kept Your precepts. I entreated Your favor with my whole heart; Be merciful to me according to Your word. To possess God is truly to have everything.

We understand this is the broader context of Psalm For God is an inexhaustible treasury of all riches, sufficing innumerable men; while the world has mere trifles and fascinations to offer, and leads the soul into deep and sorrowful poverty. I have said that I would keep Your words : This promise would be an empty vow without the empowering of God in the life.

He was public in this statement of his intentions. I entreated Your favor with my whole heart; be merciful to me according to Your word : Here the Psalmist understood both the urgency to seek and please God, and the inability to completely do so. The Psalmist here declares that he has sought the face of God.

He sought the face of God with a sense of urgency , reflected in the words entreated and whole heart. The Psalmist understood how important it was to seek the favor of God and to please Him with the life. Be merciful to me according to Your word : This is a blessed and glorious apparent contradiction. I thought about my ways, And turned my feet to Your testimonies.

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I made haste, and did not delay To keep Your commandments. This gives the insight necessary to turn in the right direction. He came to the word, and then he came to himself, and this made him arise and go to his father. Multitudes live for the world — forget God and die!

This is their history. I made haste, and did not delay to keep Your commandments : Once on the right path with the feet having been turned , now the Psalmist may speed his way in the course of obedience. It is dangerous to make haste on a wrong path; it is glorious to make haste on the right way. We can also say that making haste to God is a sign of revival. When God is moving in power, people make haste to get right with him. We are too often in haste to sin; O that we may be in a greater hurry to obey. The Hebrew word, as well as the English , strongly marks indecision of mind, positive action being suspended, because the mind is so unfixed as not to be able to make a choice.

The cords of the wicked have bound me, But I have not forgotten Your law. At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You, Because of Your righteous judgments. The cords of the wicked have bound me, but I have not forgotten Your law : The Psalmist was attacked and afflicted by adversaries; but they could not make him forget or forsake the law of God. At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You : The heart and the mind of the Psalmist are so filled with thanks and appreciation towards God that he finds his sleep interrupted by these high thoughts.

There is not much in the position of the body, but there is something, and that something is to be observed whenever it is helpful to devotion and expressive of our diligence or humility. He was willing to thank God when no one else could see him or be impressed by his devotion. He was willing to sacrifice legitimate things sleep, or perhaps food for the pursuit of God.

Praise requires something of both soul and body. I am a companion of all who fear You, And of those who keep Your precepts. This wonderful companionship is the testimony of countless Christians, who experience warm fellowship across the lines of race, class, nationality, and education. He was a fellow-commoner of the College of All-saints. Even if they should exhibit some repulsive features of character, they bear the image of him, whom we profess to love. We see again the course of a never-ending cycle.

The pursuit of God in and through His word leads to satisfaction and blessing. That satisfaction and blessing leads to a deeper pursuit, leading to even more satisfaction and blessing. When one lives in this glorious cycle, it feels as if the whole earth is full of the mercy of God. It is a glorious, blessed life with the experience of mercy all around. Teach me good judgment and knowledge, For I believe Your commandments. He loves us, He chose us, He called us, He drew us to Himself.

He makes us kings and priests and co-workers with Him, and He rewards all our work for Him. According to Your word implies that the Psalmist not only knew the promises of God and pled them in prayer as in Psalm ; he also received the promises by faith and experienced them.

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Let it be to me according to your word. This should be the life experience of every child of God. They know that God has deal well with them, and they know that it has been according to His word. But why should we delay our acknowledgment till we come out of our trial? Teach me good judgment and knowledge : This is the prayer of wisdom from a blessed life. Having received this well-dealing from God, the Psalmist understood the need to live in good judgment and knowledge.

The blessings were given to him for wise and obedient living to the glory of God. Hebrews We far too easily forget our great need to learn good judgment and knowledge , and are far too ready to trust our own heart and conscience. For I believe Your commandments : He wanted God to teach him because he really did believe the commands and words of God. If we really do believe His word, then we want Him to teach us to live wisely and obediently.

You are good, and do good; Teach me Your statutes. Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word : The Psalmist speaks here of lessons learned the hard way. Yet, under a season of affliction, he was now devoted to the word of God. A time of wealth is indeed a time of special need. It is hard to restrain the flesh, when so many are the baits for its indulgence.

This principle has worked its way in the life of virtually everyone who has pursed God. This is one reason why God appoints affliction for His people 1 Thessalonians Affliction sanctified is a great blessing; unsanctified, it is an additional curse. You are good, and do good; teach me Your statutes : This is an important and precious line to follow the recognition of affliction and the good it has done in life. It shows that the Psalmist did not become bitter or resentful towards God for the affliction that brought him to greater obedience.

This shows how confident he was in the goodness of God. In the most basic sense, this is praise for who God is You are good , and praise for what God does and do good. These are always two wonderful reasons for praise. The proud have forged a lie against me, But I will keep Your precepts with my whole heart. Their heart is as fat as grease, But I delight in Your law.

The proud have forged a lie against me : In reading of the godly and humble character of the Psalmist, it is almost shocking to hear that he has enemies who carefully forged a lie against him. Yet he explains how this is possible: they are the proud , who are no doubt convicted in conscience and spiteful of his humble, obedient, teachable life before God.

When a friend once told Plato, what scandalous stories his enemies had propagated concerning him, — I will live so, replied the great Philosopher, that nobody shall believe them. But I will keep Your precepts with my whole heart : The lies of the proud did not distract or overly discourage the Psalmist. Instead, he dedicated himself to greater obedience and honor of God, pledging to obey Him with his whole heart. If we keep the precepts, the precepts will keep us in the day of contumely and slander. Their heart is fat as grease, but I delight in Your law : Their fat heart was not good for their physical or spiritual health.

It meant that their hearts were dull, insensitive, drowning in luxury and excess. In contrast, the Psalmist found delight in the word of God. I have nothing else to fill it but thy word, and the comforts I have from it; but their hearts are fat hearts; fat with the world, fat with lust; they hate the word. As a full stomach loatheth meat and cannot digest it; so wicked men hate the word, it will not go down with them, it will not gratify their lusts. It is good for me that I have been afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes. The law of Your mouth is better to me Than thousands of coins of gold and silver.

It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes : The Psalmist repeats the idea from earlier in this section Psalm This repetition is an effective way to communicate emphasis. I bless the Lord for the correctives of his providence by which, if he has blessed me on the one hand with sweets, he has blessed me on the other hand with bitters. I have always found it one of my best schoolmasters.

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Yet we must guard against the misunderstanding that seasons of affliction automatically make one better or godlier. It was entirely worth it for him to endure affliction, if only he could learn the statutes of God in the process. This made a time of painful affliction worthwhile. The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of coins of gold and silver : This is a logical extension of the thought in the previous verse.

If the Psalmist understood that even trouble could be good if it taught him the word of God — if it was more valuable than his comfort — then it is also possible to say that it is more valuable than riches. This great estimation of the word of God came from a life that had known affliction. It was love and appreciation from the field of battle, not the palaces of ease and comfort. Long ago a group of Italian Jews asked to see this bible and when they had seen it they told their friends in Venice about it. As a result a syndicate of Russian Jews tried to buy it, offering the church the weight of the book in gold.

But do we value it? In many cases, I am afraid not. Who prefers the law of his God, the Christ that bought him, and the heaven to which he hopes to go, when he can live no longer upon earth, to thousands of gold and silver? Yea, how many are there who, like Judas, sell their Saviour even for thirty pieces of silver?

Hear this, ye lovers of the world and of money! Your hands have made me and fashioned me; Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments. Your hands have made me : Here the Psalmist proclaims God as Creator, and understood certain obligations to God because he was fashioned by the hands of God.

The modern age, with its widespread denial of a Creator God, has a much lower sense of obligation to God as Creator. The Psalmist understood what many today forget or deny. It is, at the same time, and acknowledgement of the service we owe him, founded on the relation which a creature beareth to his Creator. Give me understanding : In his thoughts of God as Creator, the Psalmist prayed for understanding.

He recognized that this was something often misunderstood, and one could ask for and expect help in understanding both God as Creator and our obligations to our Maker. We gain much understanding by considering God as Creator, and especially as the Creator of man. Man — man alone — bears his image, his likeness. Everywhere we see his track — his footsteps. Here we behold his face. Those who fear You will be glad when they see me, Because I have hoped in Your word.

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Those who fear You will be glad when they see me : The Psalmist considered that his right life would be an encouragement to others who also feared God. This was an additional reason to hear and obey God. Because I have hoped in Your word : His life could give encouragement and gladness to other righteous people because his hope and attention were put upon the word of God.

Without this hope, his righteous life would be impossible. Let Your tender mercies come to me, that I may live; For Your law is my delight. This was the place Job eventually came to through his long and desperate struggle through the Book of Job. Let Him do what seems good to Him 1 Samuel With such promises, he asked for merciful kindness in his affliction. I hunger; I need; I thirst; I wait. Here is thy hand-writing in thy word… I am resolved to be as importunate [persistent to the point of annoyance] till I have obtained, and as thankful afterwards, as by they grace I shall be enabled… Thy promises are the discoveries of thy purposes, and vouchsafed [graciously given] as materials for our prayers; and in my supplications I am resolved every day to present and tender them back to thee.

Your word to Your servant : The Psalmist rightly received the Word of God as something personal to himself. It was not only a word to mankind in general, or even the covenant people; it was something personal to the Psalmist himself Your servant. Without the gift of these tender mercies we find ourselves lost and discouraged. In the midst of the wide distribution, let me claim my interest. Let them come unto me. Let the proud be ashamed, For they treated me wrongfully with falsehood; But I will meditate on Your precepts.

Let those who fear You turn to me, Those who know Your testimonies. Let my heart be blameless regarding Your statutes, That I may not be ashamed. These proud ones had treated him wrongfully with falsehood ; therefore they should be put to shame. Shame is not for the holy, for there is nothing in holiness to be ashamed of. If the proud ones who opposed the Psalmist knew he was praying against them, they had reason to be afraid. The fasting of Esther and the Jews brought failure and doom for Haman. God knows how to defend His own who cry to Him.

Yet even the prayer that the proud be ashamed is a prayer for their good. Psalm The proud are not worth a thought. The worst injury they can do us is to take us away from our devotions; let us baffle them by keeping all the closer to our God when they are most malicious in their onslaughts.

A steady contemplation is a great advantage. Let those who fear You turn to me : The Psalmist recognized the presence of proud enemies, but he did not believe that all were against himself or God. There were others who feared God, and he could find companionship with them. They possess both devotion and instruction; they have both the spirit and the science of true religion. Turn their hearts and affections to me, which have been alienated from me, either by the artifices and calumnies of my adversaries, or by my sore and long distresses. Let my heart be blameless regarding Your statutes : As the Psalmist compared himself with the proud who spoke lies, he still recognized his need for greater obedience to God.

He asked God and depended on Him for an obedient blameless heart and life. Such examples should make us pray according to Psalm Search me, O God, and know my heart.

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That I may not be ashamed : This is a valid desire. The Psalmist wanted a life lived unashamed. The desire was for a no sense of inward shame because one was right with God, and without a sense of public shame before the eyes of others. His obedient life Let my heart be blameless regarding Your statutes would lead to this unashamed life. Such is the case here. This is the kaph stanza. Kaph is a curved letter, similar to a half circle, and it was often thought of as a hand held out to receive some gift or blessing… He holds out his hand toward him as a suppliant.

My soul faints for Your salvation, But I hope in Your word. My soul faints for Your salvation : The Psalmist gives a sense of desperation. His soul aches for God, so much that it faints in waiting for the salvation he needs. Yet he is not in despair, because he has hope in Your word. It is same verb in a slightly different form as used in Psalm The almost made an end of me. Fainting is a loss of strength; a collapse. Here the Psalmist felt that his soul was so weak, so empty of strength that it was unable to stand. This place of desperate yet not despairing is known to the followers of God.

The Apostle Paul related something of this in 2 Corinthians We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. This is the endurance of hope spoken of in the New Testament 1 Thessalonians , and the hope of salvation as a protecting helmet 1 Thessalonians How did this man behave? When his soul was fainting, his hope in the word kept him from sinking. No doubt Satan will tell us that it is humble to despair, but, it, is not so.

The pride of despair is truly terrible. I believe that, when a man altogether doubts the power of God to save him, and gives himself up to sin because he thinks he cannot be saved, so far from there being any humility in it, it is the prouder action that depraved flesh and blood can perform. Man, how darest, thou say that there is no hope for thee? He studied so hard that his eyes hurt. It was to find comfort in his presence distress.

This sense of personal need is and remains a greater motivation for diligent study than theological curiosity. For I have become like a wineskin in smoke, Yet I do not forget Your statutes. How many are the days of Your servant? When will You execute judgment on those who persecute me? I have become like a wineskin in smoke : The Psalmist felt weak, as if he were a fragile wineskin that had turned dry and made black with smoke.

His soul and spiritual life felt dry. Yet I do not forget Your statutes : Despite his sense of weakness, he was determined to not forget Your statutes. You may pull my tongue out of my head, but not my faith out of my heart, said that martyr. Here the sense of weakness led the Psalmist to despair that God would execute judgment against those who persecuted him. Yet at the end of the stanza, his thoughts are once again on God and His word.

The proud have dug pits for me, Which is not according to Your law. All Your commandments are faithful; They persecute me wrongfully; Help me! The proud have dug pits for me, which is not according to Your law : The traps set for the Psalmist were in fact directly against the law of God. Exodus gives the principle that a man is responsible for damage when he digs a pit.

The idea is that they hunted him as if he were a wild animal. All Your commandments are faithful; they persecute me wrongfully : The Psalmist found faithfulness and refuge in the commandments of God; this was strong contrast to the persecution he found from his enemies.

In such times, he prayed the logical prayer: Help me! They almost made an end of me on earth, But I did not forsake Your precepts. Revive me according to Your lovingkindness, So that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth. They almost made an end of me on earth, but I did not forsake Your precepts : The point is emphasized through repetition. He would cling to it in good times and in bad times. There are many things that may cause a person to forsake the word of God in one way or another.

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Yet here, the Psalmist was almost dead they almost made an end of me on earth , yet he would not forsake the word of God. He allows us to be attacked, yet at the same time sets a limit to the success of the attackers. Revive me according to Your lovingkindess : The Psalmist looked to God for new life, for revival. Our best protection from tempters and persecutors is more life. The Psalmist spoke freely about his great love for God and His word. Yet his trust was in the goodness and grace and lovingkindness of God, not in his own love to God and His word.

So that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth : Here the Psalmist understood that the purpose of a revived spirit within him. Many people look to revival as merely a time of heightened spiritual excitement, that has little purpose other than giving people a sense of blessing and thrills. This mistaken idea of revival actually hinders the work of true revival. Whenever I hear of churches and ministers departing from the faith, I know that piety is at low ebb among them. It is proposed that we should argue with them: it is of no avail to argue with dead people.

It is proposed that we should bring out another book of Christian evidences: it is small benefit to provide glasses for those who have no eyes. What is wanted is more spiritual life; for as the truth quickens men they love the quickening word, but dead men care little about that which is to them a dead letter. The testimony of Your mouth : The Psalmist rightly understood that the word of God actually came from the mouth of God. Yet God so directed those human authors that what they wrote could accurately be called words from the mouth of God.

If the Bible gives us words from the mouth of God, we can confidently say that the Bible is infallible ; that is, that in its original, autograph documents of which we have extremely reliable copies , it is absolutely without error. Since the mouth communicates words , we also insist that the words of the Bible are infallible, and not merely the ideas. Your faithfulness endures to all generations; You established the earth, and it abides. They continue this day according to Your ordinances, For all are Your servants. Because it is settled in heaven , it will not change on earth.

The word is settled in heaven ; not merely settled in the heart or mind of the Psalmist. It may seem to fail on earth; but it is for ever settled in heaven. We shall have to consult quarterly reviews, to see what style of religious thought is predominant, and then we shall have to accommodate our sermons to the dictum of the last wise man who has chosen to make a special fool of himself. As for myself, I shall continue to be unfashionable, and abide where I am. Settled in heaven : The Psalmist also declared his belief that the word of God was exactly that — not the words of man, but the very words of God.

He believed what 2 Timothy says; that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. This means something more than saying that God inspired the men who wrote it, though we believe that He did; God also inspired the very words they wrote. The words they wrote were breathed by God ; Your word is settled in heaven.

That is true, but not what Paul wrote in 2 Timothy He says that from heaven , God breathed out of them His Holy Word. We remember what Jesus said in Matthew , that one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.

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He said that heaven and earth would sooner pass away than a yod or a tittle from the word of God. Truly, Your word is settled in heaven. Not gospel-preachers but gospel-makers these men aspire to be, and their message comes forth, not as the gospel of the grace of God, but as the gospel of the imagination of men; a gospel concocted in their own kitchen, not taught them by the Holy Spirit. Your faithfulness endures to all generations : The Psalmist believed that the settled word of God was a demonstration of the faithfulness of God; and that faithfulness extends across all generations.

We recognize the truth of this when we look at generations past. We trace the line of the amazing faithfulness of God to each generation, despite the worst impulses and works of man. We recognize the truth of this when we consider generations present and future. The present and future often look gloomy; we wonder where are the great men and women of God seen in previous generations.

Yet we should not fear; Your faithfulness endures to all generations. We recognize the truth of this when we consider how God has preserved His word through the generations. There are many great works of ancient literature that are lost; one author or another makes mention of them, but we have no text that has survived to our day. The Bible not only survives; it thrives.

They tried to stamp it out, but the text survived. In the early days of the church, Celsus, Prophyry, and Lucien tried to destroy it by their arguments. Later the emperors Diocletian and Julian tried to destroy it by force. In some periods of history it was a capital offense to possess a copy of the Bible. Yet the text survived.

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You established the earth, and it abides. They continue this day according to Your ordinances : The word of God itself Your ordinances is what establishes the earth and causes it to abide. The earth and all of creation began with a word from God Genesis 1 ; it is no surprise that they are also sustained and endure according to the word of God. This gives new understanding to some wonderful statements of Scripture:. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.

Isaiah Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. Matthew These passages put the word of God outside the created world and indicate that the word of God is more permanent and enduring than creation itself. Let us be confident then. Whenever God means to break his word and change his ordinances we may expect to find this earth go steaming into the sun, or else it will rush far off into space, nobody knows where. But while it keeps its place, what have you and I to worry about?

Is it not the sign that the Lord will keep us also? For all are Your servants : The Psalmist looked at the created order and understood that all creation ultimately serves God and His purpose. The earth , which He established and which abides , obeys His word. Unless Your law had been my delight, I would then have perished in my affliction. I will never forget Your precepts, For by them You have given me life. Unless Your law had been my delight : The Psalmist rejoiced that the word of God had been his delight.

We can speculate that one reason this was so was because God met him in His word. When we have fellowship with God in and through His word, it makes our time in His law delightful. I would then have perished in my affliction : The Psalmist knew that without his relationship with God and His word, he would not have been sustained in his season of affliction.

Again, it should be stressed that this delight goes beyond mere Bible knowledge. It is a relationship with God in and through His word that gives strength and spiritual nourishment. There never was, perhaps, in that town a more severe time of distress. Nearly every loom was stopped. Decent and respectable tradesmen who had seen better days, were obliged to subsist on public charity. So much money per day but a trifle at most was allowed to the really poor and deserving. The poor widow had received her daily pittance, and she had now come into the shop of the grocer to lay it out to the best advantage.

She had but a few coppers in her withered hands. Carefully did she expend her little stock—a pennyworth of this and the other necessary of life nearly exhausted all she had. It was this life that strengthened him in the season of affliction. The Bible is not antique or modern. It is eternal. I am Yours, save me; For I have sought Your precepts. The wicked wait for me to destroy me, But I will consider Your testimonies. I am Yours, save me : This speaks of the wonderful relationship between the Psalmist and His God, flowing from the word of God.

A man will surely save his own child: Lord, save me. Will not a man be careful of his children, his treasure, his jewels? Thy sovereign love hath bought me — made me thine — I am thine; save me. For I have sought Your precepts : The basis of this confidence was a relationship built upon the word of God Your precepts.

The wicked wait for me to destroy me, but I will consider Your testimonies : The Psalmist speaks of his enemies in an almost causal way. While they do their worst against him — they wait for him to destroy him — he will not panic, but find refuge in the word of God. I have seen the consummation of all perfection, But Your commandment is exceedingly broad. I have seen the consummation of all perfection : The Psalmist considered the excellent things he has seen in this world. Perhaps he thought of the things of great natural beauty; the small things of intricate creation; the beauty of human love and care.

Yet in looking at all these things, they have a consummation — in the sense of a limit or a barrier. The best things of this world only go so far. But Your commandment is exceedingly broad : Despite all the great and beautiful things of this world, something is greater still — the commandment of God, His revealed word to us.

It is not limited as the things, even the great things of this earth are. Strangely, many today think that the Bible is narrow. They think of themselves as exceedingly broad -minded people; yet they show little tolerance for those who disagree with them. It will prevent us from being tyrants over others and to tolerate and love others even when their lives and thinking are decidedly against God and His word. The broad place is firm and safe standing for us. I accept the difficulties and I humbly wait for their solution.

But while I wait, I am standing on rock. Ryle, Anglican Bishop cited in Boice. It contains no single petition, but is just one glad outpouring of the heart. Oh, how I love Your law! Twice before in this Psalm, the writer has declared his love for the word of God Psalm Yet here, the phrasing is more passionate. The prophet seemeth to speak with a kind of sighing, as being so ravished with love towards the law of God, that he was even sick of love. If we cannot at all share his experience, we shall be the losers. Lewis from Reflections on the Psalms , cited in Boice. The superficial Christian may read and understand and even, in an outward sense, obey the word of God.

But only the spiritual man loves it; they live as if they could not live without it. To the superficial Christian it is a duty to satisfy the conscience; to the believer it is food and medicine, light and comfort — the word of God is life. Carry this matchless treasure with you continually, and read it, and read it, and read it again and again. Turn to its pages by day and by night. Let its narratives mingle with your dreams; let its precepts color your lives; let its promises cheer your darkness, let its divine illumination make glad your life.

As you love God, love this Book which is the Book of God, and the God of books, as it has rightly been called. A lover finds it easy to think about, to meditate upon, the one he loves. You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; For they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, Because I keep Your precepts. You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies : The Psalmist had many enemies, some of them evil and some proud.

Perhaps the proud ones boasted that they were wiser or more educated than the writer of the Psalm. In these verses, we see that the Psalmist is wiser and has more understanding than his enemies Psalm , his teachers Psalm , and the ancients Psalm For they are ever with me : The Psalmist was real about the abiding presence of his enemies.

They were with him ever , and he had to gain enough spiritual strength and enough strength of character to survive and even thrive with them with him. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation : Here the Psalmist explained why he was wiser than his enemies. This verse teaches us that it is vitally important to have understanding , even great understanding. We know this because of the value the Psalmist places on having more understanding.

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This verse is not a renunciation of those teachers. That is, it teaches us that we can learn from our own study and meditation ; that teachers are often helpful but not absolutely necessary. Understanding is necessary; teachers may or may not be. This verse teaches us that this understanding does not come easily; true meditation involves some element of work.

It requires the ability to stay focused and the necessary tools for Biblical understanding and analysis. Notable examples include Charles Spurgeon, D. Moody, William Carey, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Hudson Taylor. It is helpful to remember that God has used many who were greatly educated.

Moses, Daniel, and Paul are all Biblical examples. Augustine, Luther, and Graham are just a few historical examples. There is more wisdom in the testimonies of the Lord than in all the teachings of men if they were all gathered into one vast library. The one book outweighs all the rest. This is particularly meaningful when we realize how highly regarded the wisdom of the ancients was in that day and culture. This also tells us that while we should in general respect the understanding and wisdom of the ancients which the Psalmist surely did, in general , we are not slaves to their wisdom and understanding.

Our rule for faith and doctrine and living is the Bible itself, not the understanding or interpretation of it from even the great men of history. Boice tells a story about the life of Harry Ironisde, the pastor and author and Bible commentator. Ironside went to visit a man near death, suffering from tuberculosis.

The man was almost dead and could barely speak. Can you tell me where I can find a book that will open them up to me? Did you get them in seminary or college? There with my open Bible before me, I used to kneel for hours at a time and ask the Spirit of God to reveal Christ to my soul and to open the Word to my heart. He taught me more on my knees on that mud floor than I ever could have learned in all the seminaries or colleges in the world.

I have restrained my feet from every evil way, That I may keep Your word. I have not departed from Your judgments, For You Yourself have taught me. I have not departed from Your judgments, for You Yourself have taught me : The personal connection the Psalmist had with God through His word encouraged a faithful walk. This also demonstrates that God can teach the believer through His word in a direct sense — You Yourself have taught me.

This does not mean that everything one comes to through self-study is correct or from God, and it does not eliminate the need for Bible teachers. Yet it does fulfill what Jesus later said in John When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth. How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way. How sweet are Your words to my taste : The Psalmist felt the word of God was as pleasant to him as sweet things — even sweeter than honey!

We have so much more riches and sweetness in the word of God than he did; yet most of us seem to value it less. The Bible is filled with passage after passage that anyone with spiritual sensitivity would find sweet. Passages like Psalm , Psalm , John , Romans , or Revelation are just a beginning. If such a system had been possible, the discovery of it would have been made for us by God himself: — certainly it would if it had been desirable and useful for our profit and holiness. But it has not pleased God to give us a body of divinity; let us receive it as he has given it, each truth in its own proportion, — each doctrine in harmony with its fellow, — each precept carefully carried out into practice, and each promise to be believed, and by-and-by received.

Notably, the psalmist began this section with love; he ends it with hate. But we still live in a sour, ugly world, and it is equally important to learn to hate evil as well as love the good. Your word is a lamp to my feet : The Psalmist felt that as he walked the road of life, the word of God made his steps clear. It is possible to walk the path of life not knowing where our steps fall. Simply said, the Bible should help us walk the way God wants us to walk. Think of all the different words we use to describe how a person walks: stroll, saunter, amble, trudge, plod, dawdle, hike, tramp, tromp, slog, stomp, march, stride, sashay, glide, troop, patrol, wander, ramble, tread, prowl, promenade, roam, traipse, mosey, and perambulate.

The different words show that there are many different ways to walk, and each of them says something. The picture of a lamp says something. But except the lamp be lighted — except the teaching of the Spirit accompany the word , all is darkness — thick darkness. Let us not be content to read the word without obtaining some light from it in our understanding.

A light to my path : The word of God not only showed him where his feet stepped, but also the path he should remain upon. It showed him the next few steps to take. We need the Bible to teach us right from wrong. We certainly do have some inner sense of this in our conscience; but our conscience can be weak, ignorant, or damaged. The word of God is higher even than our conscience, and it teaches our conscience.

It is a light book, not a dark book.