PSALM 119: v129-176
Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them.
130 The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.
the light of knowledge is the ground on which God holds man accountable for their actions in the great day of judgment..."This is the condemnation that light is come'.
131 I opened my mouth, and panted: for I longed for thy commandments.
"He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water." -1:4.
The law of the Lord is the river of water, without which the tree does not have a chance to live at all, let alone to bring forth fruit.
It is not enough just to have a vague urge to do what is right. There are people on both sides of every war with a driving urge to do what is right, and they cheerfully murder each other fulfilling that urge.
Clearly something more is necessary-and that is: TRUTH, Reality, Divine Light and Guidance.
The big issue is: are we going to trust our own natural thoughts and emotions and opinions as to what is right and good, or are we going to recognize that our own natural thoughts-however well intentioned, however well pleasing to us - are deceptive and fatally misleading; and consciously seek God's law for guidance.
The latter course offers the only POSSIBLE chance of success and acceptance, and yet so pitifully few - even of those who claim to be Christ's brethren - follow this course.
The common view is: "I think this is all right, so it must be all right. I think this worldly fashion is all right. I like this worldly custom. It is so pretty. It is so appealing to the flesh. It pleases me and gratifies my lusts. I see no harm in it. I do not want to look into it honestly, and find out the real truth about it, and what GOD thinks of it. I do not really care what God thinks - I am only interested in what I think and like."
This is human nature - the thinking of the flesh; and if we are honest with ourselves, we can all see ourselves here, with our head in the sand of our own self-will.
But what about God's law, which we profess to love. If God has spoken on a subject, even (as we may think) obscurely - the only possible course of honesty, wisdom and love is to study it intently, search it out, and if there is any doubt as to the meaning, to keep on the safe side, because we love God.
Sometimes God is obscure on purpose, so that the true state of our heart and love will be exposed.
If our roots are not reaching ever more deeply and thirstily into this pure river of water that is God's law, we do not have a chance of life at all, for we are voluntarily (though perhaps blindly and unknowingly) choosing the flesh-pleasing way of death.
Bro Growcott - The Psalms
132 Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name.
133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.
134 Deliver me from the oppression of man: so will I keep thy precepts.
135 Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; and teach me thy statutes.
136 Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.
It is the worldling—not the earnest probationer for eternal life — that can go through the world smiling. Frequent heaviness of heart through the prevailing ungodliness is inevitable where the mind is in harmony and sympathy with God. It was because Christ was so perfect an exponent of the mind of God in loving righteousness and hating iniquity that he "grieved"—"sighed deeply."
...The more we approach Christ in character the more shall we share his sorrowful experience. There are many things which unite in producing sadness in the upright: consciousness of the daily anger of God toward the disobedient, the knowledge of the dreadful doom that awaits them, the manifold temptations and unpleasant duties which beset a walk of undeviating fidelity.
Christ has forewarned us that this tribulation will turn some from the way (Matt. 13:21); let us therefore take heed. Recognising the necessity for the tribulation let us meet it manfully, and rejoice in view of its glorious outcome. Let us also comfort and sustain those of our brethren who are in heaviness, lest those who are weak be turned out of the way.
Bro AT Jannaway
The Christadelphian, Aug 1888
Righteous art thou, O Yahweh, and upright are thy judgments.
138 Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful.
139 My zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words.
140 Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.
141 I am small and despised: yet do not I forget thy precepts.
WHAT an extraordinary thing the truth is! What other thing on earth is there that would stand such constant handling without wearing out? Here we are, after many years, speaking of it Sunday after Sunday, still talking of it one to another, without any loss of interest. Its power to comfort, to purify, to make strong in the battle of life-abates not in the least from year to year.
It is perennial-inexhaustible. It suits all weather and all circumstances. The bright sunshine that streams in at the window on this midsummer morning does not eclipse or dim it. The dark and cold of winter, which we have often seen, when it seems difficult to live, only increases its glory. It is the moderating and sweetening element in prosperity, such as David was permitted at last to see: it is the soothing and sustaining power in the dark hours of affliction.
Exhort no 257
142 Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.
143 Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights.
144 The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting: give me understanding, and I shall live.
I cried with my whole heart; hear me, O Yahweh: I will keep thy statutes.
146 I cried unto thee; save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies.
147 I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word.
148 Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.
149 Hear my voice according unto thy lovingkindness: O Yahweh, quicken me according to thy judgment.
150 They draw nigh that follow after mischief: they are far from thy law.
151 Thou art near, O Yahweh; and all thy commandments are truth.
152 Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever.
Consider mine affliction, and deliver me: for I do not forget thy law.
154 Plead my cause, and deliver me: quicken me according to thy word.
155 Salvation is far from the wicked: for they seek not thy statutes.
156 Great are thy tender mercies, O Yahweh: quicken me according to thy judgments.
157 Many are my persecutors and mine enemies; yet do I not decline from thy testimonies.
158 I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not thy word.
159 Consider how I love thy precepts: quicken me, O Yahweh, according to thy lovingkindness.
160 Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.
"I know" is indicative of a spiritually sound and healthy condition.
Doubt in relation to the things that God has spoken effectually retards growth. Man is certain to give the "go by" to Bible requirements, if left to be his own arbiter as to what they are. The truth is a power to him who believes it, not to the unbelieving or hesitating.
Its calls oftentimes involve the sacrifice of comfort, social position, reputation, means of livelihood, and even life itself. Ability to obey these calls comes through a persuasion that they have been imposed by God. Nothing more surely produces this confidence, and nothing more quickly undermines it than our convictions in regard to the unerringness or otherwise of God's revelation.
The theory of error in that revelation paves the way for innumerable perplexities; it leads to everyone doing that which is right in his own eyes. Erring man wants an unerring guide, and this is what the Bible claims to be:
-"My mouth shall speak truth" (Prov. viii. 7); "Thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth" (Isa. xxv. 1); "That which was written was upright, even words of truth" (Ecc. xii. 10); "The Scripture of truth" (Dan. x. 21); etc.
When the Bible itself explains "true" as meaning partly untrue, then, and not until then, may we cease to contend for the absolute sense of the word.
Bro AT Jannaway
The Christadelphian, July 1887
Princes have persecuted me without a cause: but my heart standeth in awe of thy word.
162 I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil.
163 I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love.
164 Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments.
Let us strive each new day to offer to God a perfect day: perfect in useful, godly activity, perfect in manifested character, perfect in thought and word, perfect in total remembrance and continuous consciousness of God, and of our glorious, joyful relationship to Him.
We shall, of course, fail to some degree, but we shall have the happiness that we had TRIED. And there will still be other days to come: days to try harder, days to use the knowledge and wisdom we have learned from our previous efforts and failures.
Each day is a fresh new beginning -- a fresh new adventure in climbing the hill of godliness: ever upward toward perfect communion, perfect peace, perfect oneness with Him Who is Perfect Love and Eternal Perfection. This is the beauty and the glory of the godly life.
Bro Growcott - Search me O God
165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.
There is more joy in the exercise of the understanding and of the higher faculties than can ever be found in the pursuit of merely secular aims of life. The service of God, the love of God, the opening out of the mind in the daily contemplation of God in prayer and reading, open out sources of peace and joy unknown to the man who knows not God and obeys not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Sunday Morning 259
Be big enough never to be offended. It is the petty mind that takes offense. Be big enough to make allowances, to understand, to sympathize.
If we are "touchy", we have no solid, reserve power for good: things are fine, and we can do wonders, as long as our back is scratched, but we haven't the maturity and stamina to face reality.
Bro Growcott - Search me O God
To be easily, often, or finally offended is of the flesh: "Nothing shall offend them, who truly love the law of God."
They who are too self-conceited to be approached except by flattery, or too self-confident to be corrected, or too lofty to accept of merited rebuke, or too insubordinate to submit one to another, miss much that would be useful both from God and man.
The Christadelphian, July 1873
Nothing shall offend them
Where this discerning appreciation exists, then as the Scriptures declare, offence is impossible. We can see the reason when we consider the cause of the offences in connection with the state of mind generated by the Word.
People become offended from a great variety of causes. Perhaps they are not taken notice of. Perhaps they are slighted: perhaps they are spoken against: perhaps they are slandered: perhaps they are injured: perhaps trouble arises: perhaps hatred, strife, division, ruin.
The root of the offence in all cases lies in the fact that persons offended are great in their own eyes, and indifferent to the well-being of others. Self-important people are easily slighted, and are mortally hurt by injury or insult, and are effectually driven out of the way of duty by trouble. The reason is that self-gratification is the inspiration of their life, and whatever interferes with this interferes with their peace and purpose.
With those who love the Law of the Lord, it is otherwise, because the state of mind is altogether otherwise. Those who love the Law of the Lord, love the Lord Himself, and cannot in consequence think highly of themselves. God is so inconceivably great: they are so very small, they think humbly of themselves.
"Humble and contrite in heart"
is God's own portrait of them. It is not a forced humility like the mock solemnity of hypocrites. It is not the long faced moroseness of sunless fanaticism. It is the reasonable, and even cheerful recognition of the fact - the fact that they are but flesh: dust and ashes: a wind: a vapour, as the grass that grows and withers. And of another fact that they are sinners - forgiven sinners and reformed sinners, but still sinners, permitted by favour to live: "contrite in heart," sorry they are not better than they are: thankful they are what they are.
And such also are men of faith: men who believe what God has promised ã that He will at last fill the earth with His glory and banish death. And such are also men of obedience, who therefore act habitually on the command to consider their neighbours; to do to them as they would be done by; to look out for opportunities of helping, rather than chances of being helped; prone to love and honour others rather than hungering and thirsting for love and honour.
It is not in the nature of things that such men should be offended. You cannot offend them. You may inflict pain: you may cause grief: you cannot embitter them so that they shall stand apart and become vindictive. You cannot turn them out of the way. They love the Lord and His Law, and are waiting for His salvation; and they will outride all trouble and all injury as the cork in the storm.
Where men become offended and vindictive, and slink into a corner or disappear from the field of duty, it is a certain proof that they are "lovers of their own selves," and not lovers of the Lord and His law.
"Great peace have they that love Thy Law: nothing shall offend them."
If the righteous smite them, it is an excellent oil that will not break their head.
Seasons 2. 56
166 Yahweh, I have hoped for thy salvation, and done thy commandments.
167 My soul hath kept thy testimonies; and I love them exceedingly.
Because the Truth is for everyday use, God has given it to us in a diversified form, admitting of a constant familiarity without mental weariness. The wisdom that has varied natural food in so wonderful a manner has done the same in the supply of the spiritual man. The Scriptures exhibit a constant variety. It is not all history; it is not all prophecy; it is not all precept. It is not all joy; it is not all sorrow; it is not all reproof. It is sometimes one thing and sometimes another, but all spiritual, and all fitted to furnish the man of God thoroughly for the life and state that God requires in him.
It matters not what comes before us in our daily readings; we find something fresh, and always profitable when thoroughly seen into.
Bro Roberts - Children of Promise.
168 I have kept thy precepts and thy testimonies: for all my ways are before thee.
Let my cry come near before thee, O Yahweh: give me understanding according to thy word.
170 Let my supplication come before thee: deliver me according to thy word.
171 My lips shall utter praise, when thou hast taught me thy statutes.
172 My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness.
173 Let thine hand help me; for I have chosen thy precepts.
174 I have longed for thy salvation, O Yahweh; and thy law is my delight.
175 Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me.
176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.