10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.
Love is life, and love of God is the highest and holiest and happiest form of life. But, because He is so great and high, and we are so small and low, love of God -- to be anything -- must be everything, or else it is nothing.
Many have "love of God" as a part-time hobby, a pleasant palliative on the shelf, with the iodine and aspirins, to use as needed. What the love of God demands is the whole heart, life, strength and mind -- at all times and in all things.
Anything less is a mockery -- an indication that we are cruelly deceiving ourselves, and have not really made contact with God at all. If and when we truly do, the magnetism and attraction will be irresistible, and mere part-time service will be impossible and unthinkable.
-Bro Growcott - Search Me O God
20 My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times.
How can we get this affection? By a genuine appreciation of the truth-a condition of mind which is to be reached by disposing the mind to think seriously about the truth.
It is because men will not think upon the truth that they so lightly esteem the writings concerning it. The truth will bear thinking about. The more we ruminate on it, the more beautiful and precious will it appear.
Is not this the experience of all who have set themselves the task of working out subjects relating to the truth? Is there anything so beautiful, so reasonable, so satisfying as the truth? Is it not suited to all our sad wants? Does it not unravel to us the bewildering perplexities of our present vain life? Does it not at the same time fill us with bright hopes as to the future?
Does it not take us in hand, as it were, with the care and tenderness of a loving parent, and lead us gently on and on through the enigmatical darkness of our probation, ever speaking to us by the way words of encouragement and warning? If our minds are steadfastly set towards the truth, the love of it will follow, and also the love of its literature.
Bro AT Jannaway
The Christadelphian, Oct 1906
Let thy mercies come also unto me, O Yahweh, even thy salvation, according to thy word.
42 So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word.
43 And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments.
44 So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever.
45 And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.
46 I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed.
47 And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved.
48 My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.
Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.
50 This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.
51 The proud have had me greatly in derision: yet have I not declined from thy law.
52 I remembered thy judgments of old, O Yahweh; and have comforted myself.
53 Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law.
54 Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.
55 I have remembered thy name, O Yahweh, in the night, and have kept thy law.
56 This I had, because I kept thy precepts.
Thou art my portion, O Yahweh: I have said that I would keep thy words.
58 I intreated thy favour with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word.
59 I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.
David realized what the Scriptures are - not a book of ordinances for the regulation of servants, but a divinely-provided medium of intimate communion between a Father and His children.
Many express regret that the Bible is not more simple and precise. They complain because it does not give a clear-cut, straight-forward list of just what we must and must not do, and a convenient, orderly catalog of just what we must believe.
But such people entirely miss its purpose. God has made it as little like a legal document, and as much like an affectionate personal message, as possible.
In the Old Testament, employing every shade of literary style, He tells us a story filled with vital and living characters, and in telling this story He skilfully weaves in all the lessons He wants us to learn.
In the New Testament He partly follows the same plan but much of what He has to say does not lend itself to this, so He writes us a series of very personal letters and sends them by a man who wins our heart by his simple humility and unconcealed affection. Paul does not dictate - he beseeches and entreats - pleads that he may be spared the sorrow of having to exercise his authority.
This method of presenting the Scriptures to us necessitates much application to draw out its treasures. But this is not a disadvantage. God has a reasonable right to assume that a message from Him will be eagerly received by His true children - that they will delight to dwell upon it day after day and search patiently for its hidden mysteries.
The Bible is circulated in uncounted millions. It is found everywhere - this personal message from a Father to His children. But, written as it is, there is no danger that rude and unsympathetic intruders will pry into intimacies and confidences that are not for them. To all such it is a sealed book - an incomprehensible mystery.
Bro Growcott - Destroyed for lack of knowledge
60 I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.
61 The bands of the wicked have robbed me: but I have not forgotten thy law.
62 At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.
63 I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts.
64 The earth, O Yahweh, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes.
Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O Yahweh, according unto thy word.
66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments.
67 Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.
Tribulation is multifarious in its cause and effect. It may come through our own folly, or through someone else's. Let us never rage or fret because of tribulation. It is an essential feature in the divine method of preparing the sinful and mortal sons of Adam for a sinless and immortal existence. It is, as Paul declares, the path to the Kingdom of God (Acts 14:22).
...As children are benefited, yea, in many instances, saved from absolute ruin by parental chastisement, so by God's chastisement are men and women saved who are called to eternal life. People who have it all their own way in regard to this life are failures-they are useless alike to themselves and others. But it requires faith to discern God's hand in our affliction, and this comes wholly and solely through continual acquaintance with the divine writings.
If this sounds strange to any it is a sign of unbelief and alienation from God, and the outward sign of this unbelief is perpetual grumbling and resentment at tribulation. Let us take the right view, and we shall be, as Paul was, patient and even cheerful under tribulation.
If friends are likely to lead us astray, is it not better that God should remove them? If money is likely to drown us in perdition, is it not desirable for God to give it wings to fly away?
"Every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit."
Bro AT Jannaway
The Christadelphian, April 1900
68 Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes.
69 The proud have forged a lie against me: but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart.
70 Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in thy law.
71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.
72 The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.
Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments.
74 They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word.
75 I know, O Yahweh, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.
76 Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant.
77 Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight.
78 Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause: but I will meditate in thy precepts.
79 Let those that fear thee turn unto me, and those that have known thy testimonies.
80 Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; that I be not ashamed.
O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.
The inspiring beauty of this 119th Psalm of tribute to the glories and life-giving power of the Word of God lies largely in the fact that herein we have a portrayal of the mind of Christ in his hours of meditation and prayer. Here again is the personal, living aspect.
He alone has lived and thought these thoughts in their deepest and fullest measure. And to the extent that we follow him into the inner chambers of this marvellous palace of splendour and beauty and light, to that extent-and to that alone-do we enter into his love.
"...it is my meditation ALL THE DAY."
Can we conceive any less of Jesus? No, we cannot. Only 'all the day' fulfills the picture. Love is all or nothing: never satiated, never surfeited.
Bro Growcott - Let their be light
98 Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.
Natural wisdom and intelligence depend upon brain capacity and education. But how happy we should be that the wisdom of the Spirit is on a completely different plane, and depends on love, and character, and the way the heart is turned to the Light of the Word of God!-
"I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes; for so it seemed good in Thy sight"
We are impressed-and appalled-by the prodigious mental capacities and ingenuities of the men of the world who have so painstakingly developed such diabolical instruments of misery and desolation as rockets and jets and guided missiles and laser beams and hydrogen bombs. But the humblest saint in Christ has infinitely more true wisdom and knowledge than the wisest of the world, for-
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom [nothing is wisdom short of that], and knowledge of the Holy is understanding... This is Life Eternal, to know Thee the Only True God" (Prov. 9:20; Jn. 17:3).
All the rest is just perishing, animal, foolish cleverness-but these have found the power to become Sons of God! How pitifully insignificant is the puny power of the hydrogen bomb compared to that. An immortalized saint could effortlessly extinguish man's biggest bomb.
Bro Growcott - Let their be light
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.
'I am the Light of the world,' said Jesus. He had instruction and guidance for all the world. Was it of his own natural wisdom or philosophy? His own mental powers? Had he himself conceived the wondrous thoughts and gracious words that he spoke?-
"Never man spake like this man...He hath done all things well" (Jn. 7:46; Mk. 7:37).
"...for Thy testimonies are my meditation all the day" (vs. 99,97).
That was his secret of wisdom, and it must be ours. By nature, we are but animal creatures, but the testimonies of God are spirit and divine life. Meditation upon them must be our joy, our hobby, our relaxation, our solace and refuge from the battle and the storm. How much this verse reveals to us of Jesus, and of the inner power that maintained the glorious radiance of the Light of the Word made flesh!
Bro Growcott - Let their be light
100 I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.
Here we go a step further and deeper. We find this vital divine principle woven throughout Scripture. We shall often be struck with it, if we are watching for it: the principle that spiritual understanding depends on the degree of endeavor to walk in holiness before God-
"The secret of God is with the righteous" (Prov. 3:32).
"The meek will He guide in judgment: and the meek will He teach His Way" (Psa. 25:9).
Daniel's 'man clothed in linen' said:
"None of the wicked shall understand."
And Jesus himself gives the same divine rule-
"If any man will do God's will, he shall know of the doctrine" (Jn. 7:17).
We may be troubled and concerned by conditions in Christadelphia: by the great problem of fellowship-where and when to draw the line, and to make a stand for the standards of the Truth. Here's the answer-
"THE MEEK WILL HE GUIDE...THE MEEK WILL HE TEACH."
There is no other answer. Who are we, of ourselves, that we could be able to judge rightly, and others be astray? "The meek will He guide." If He guide us, we cannot go wrong. If He guide us not, we cannot go right. And He will guide a certain few, on a consistent, stated basis-
"Ye shall find Me, when ye shall seek for Me with all your heart" (Jer. 29:13).
The seeking must be in the Word, and in prayer. All guidance is in the Word. The Word is the Light and Lamp: the Word prayerfully studied and meticulously obeyed (as we have seen). Prayer is useless if we are not willing and anxious to do our most and our best to totally serve and obey. "The meek will He guide"-and outside of that circle of divine guidance, what hope have we of finding our way?
The knowledge and absorption of the Light of the Word is a progressive attainment of faith working and building upon faith: faith upon faith, and love upon love (2 Cor. 3:18)-
"We all, with unveiled face, reflecting the glory of the Lord, are being changed into the same image, from glory to glory, by the Spirit of the Lord."
And Paul goes on to say, as he joyfully develops this beautiful theme-
"God, Who commanded the Light to shine out of Darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Cor. 4:6).
We see how he goes right back to the first word of divine command, as God dissipated the heavy primeval Darkness with the marvel of Light: 'Let there be Light.' And here, at last, in the fullness of times, in the face of Jesus Christ, is the ultimate fruition of the Word of Promise-
"The Light of the Knowledge of the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."
Not, of course, the ultimate fruition in breadth, for truly-
"All the earth shall be filled with the Knowledge of the Glory of God" (Hab. 2:14).
-but the ultimate in height: the apex of the perfected manifestation in the face of Jesus Christ-the Perfect Man, the Image of God.
Bro Growcott - Let their be light
104 Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.
Messiah in the Psalms
He knew his real paternity was not of Joseph; he never went to school, yet was he wiser than those who assumed to be his teachers, being filled with wisdom, the grace of God being upon him; and he was beloved by all who knew him.-(Matt. 1:23; Luke 2:40, 46-52; Mark 6:3; Jno. 8:15; Psalms 119:97, 104.)
He was clearly in an intellectual and moral condition parallel with Adam's before he transgressed. The "grace of God" was upon Adam and imparted to him much wisdom and knowledge, but still left him free to obey the impulse of his flesh, if he preferred it rather than the Divine law.
This was the case with Jesus, who in his discourses, always maintained the distinction between what he called "mine own self" and "the Father Himself" who dwelt in him by His effluence. "The Son," said he, "can do nothing of himself," and this he repeated in the same discourse, saying, "I can of mine own self do nothing."
He refers all the doctrine taught, and all the miracles performed, to the Father whose effluence rested upon him and filled him. If this be remembered, it will make the "hard sayings" of his teaching easy to be understood.-
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
Jesus said: "I am the Light of the world" (Jn. 8:12).
To his disciples he said: "Ye are the light of the world" (Matt. 5:14).
By this saying, he absorbs us into himself, as parts of this divine, golden Lampstand of which he is the central stem and reservoir. The oil of the Lampstand is the pure Spirit-Word.
...Our minds turn to Zechariah's Lampstand and Olive-tree vision. But the oil gives no light until it is kindled by the zealous flame of love. The kindling of the flame comes from God-
"We love, because He first loved us" (1 Jn. 4:19).
The Law, or Word, of God is the great record and manifestation of this love, from the moment that God said: "Let there be light," to the time that the True Light said, at the close of his last message-
"I am the bright and Morning Star...Behold, I come quickly" (Rev. 22:16,12).
Bro Growcott - Let their be light
Read the standard works of the Truth: Elpis Israel, Christendom Astray, Eureka, Law of Moses, Ways of Providence, Visible Hand of God, etc.
Until you have mastered these, do not waste your time (relatively) on "modern" works, which are (we sadly say) very often questionable, and at best far less profitable than brethren Thomas' and Roberts' works.
Bro Growcott - Search Me O God
117 Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually.
We must develop an intimate relationship with God, so that we turn instinctively and immediately to Him in every problem, every care, every sorrow, every joy -- yea, in every daily decision in life -- with full assurance, as a small child to a parent.
Bro Growcott - Search Me O God
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
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.
Sunday Morning 257
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); "Thy Word is true from the beginning" (Ps. cxix. 160); "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. ATJ
The Christadelphian, July 1887
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
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.