Cling to the Word

Psalm 119:25-32

If psalmist is correct in previous section, we are misfits living in a broken and alien world. Is another singnificant factor that threads through Bible – much of world is actively hostile toward Christians. Satan and his agents (demonic and human) are constantly seeking to do harm in whatever way possible to citizens in Christ’s kingdom. Not a cold war, is real one with live ammunition.

Also this to consider:

“If there were no enemy in the world, nor devil in hell, we carry that, within us, that, if it be let loose, will trouble us more than all the world besides.” Richard Sibbes

“D (dalet) the life of pilgrim is marked by trials. Our soul will spend time in the dust, filled with sorrow, while we beg God to help us be obedient.”

Are those forces present in our lives and circumstances that will knock us off course – temptation from without and within, trials of all sorts (remember James). The only way we can successfully “stand against the schemes of the devil” (Eph. 6:11) is if we have firm grasp on what doesn’t move. Think about how much of Christian’s armor is rooted in God’s Word: belt of truth; the gospel of peace on our feet; the sword of the Spirit. Not a coincidence! We must cling to the Word in order to “endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” (2 Tim. 2:3)

The Bible is clear – we can expect trials in life; we will not be overcome by those trials when we cling to the treasures of God’s word.

A. trials of life

discouragement (25)

large part of Christian life spent dealing with this one: either our own or someone else’s – no wonder, life is hard, filled with stuff, especially hard stuff

comes about when there’s no relief, either from single ongoing challenge, or from multiple ones ganging up

efforts we make to help family members or others – recover from previous stupidity; straighten up and fly right; over and over, with no apparent improvement/progress

persistent health issues especially when nothing works – try this, maybe it’s that, no you’re both wrong

not any single overwhelming issue, just a whole succession of things that sap strength and vitality, weighing down

confusion (26)

psalmist describes what he did to deal with his confusion, perplexity: prayed, waiting for and then following answer

avoiding confusion in life circumstances requires two things:

accurate evaluation of situation and need – what is the real problem, the root problem, not the apparent one

proper application of biblical principles – what is right solution that addresses root problem and doesn’t cause more problems

complicating factors: knowledge that is incomplete (don’t have all the facts), inaccurate (clouded perception or deception); more than one possible solution with no sure way to distinguish which is best

sorrow (28)

“soul melts away for sorrow”; “I am weary from grief” – source of grief not specified, whether internal or external

regardless of source, type, particular details, at root of all sorrow is sin – either actual or result of sin’s curse

sorrow often (usually?) increases with spiritual age and maturity – more like Christ we become, more sensitive to sin and brokenness around us

source of grief when we recognize how much sinful people are missing out on, especially when they’re close to us – family, close friends

source of grief when we understand how much sinners’ rejection pains Lord Jesus: Matt. 23:37“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!”

more like Christ we become, more sensitive to sin and brokenness within us – contrast becomes increasingly obvious

our best efforts are imperfect; we get weak or careless; we overlook certain parts of our life – until God frames them

temptation (29)

all sorts of temptations, again from within and without – most have as their object benefit of self

tempted to make others the standard – makes us look better, feel better about self, think of self more highly than proper

great pressure / temptation to satisfy desires that go beyond needs; lies we are told: you deserve it, you’ve earned it, you have right to indulge yourself once in a while

lying / deceit is Satan’s #1 (if not only) tool – John 8:44“You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.”

drift (30)

how many times have you been encouraged: “just go with the flow; don’t make waves” – perhaps good advice some times

going with the flow most of the time leads to drift – widest part of the flow is going in direction contrary to Bible: remember, we live in alien and hostile world

except for times we are surrounded by people of like mind and faith, must assume flow is in wrong direction – means conscious purposeful choice is necessary to go in right direction

2x in Proverbs (14:12 & 16:25) – “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.”

shame (31)

closely related to drift: can’t simply coast through life and faithfully please God; true, God is holding us securely – his true children will never finally fall away

unless we are diligent, alert, will be ashamed eventually – things we say or do or think in “unguarded” moment

more than enough bad news, time for some good news – it is sprinkled throughout same eight verses: God’s Word is and has the treasures necessary for us to live pleasing to God; our task is to cling to it as tightly as we can, God helping us

B. treasures of the word

gives life (25)

Ps 119:25, 37, 40, 50, 88, 93, 107, 149, 154, 156, 159 – châyâh: revive, quicken, give life

“will you turn away also?” John 6:68But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

more than one-shot deal – God’s word gives life (faith comes by hearing, hearing by the word of God, Rom. 10:17) and sustains life and restores life

God’s word read, taught and applied by Holy Spirit is ongoing and never-ending source of spiritual nourishment and vitality

when we are spiritually parched, God’s word read and meditated on, heard in preaching and teaching revives our soul

gives encouragement (27)

is a lot about God’s world that makes us go “wow!”; even more amazing things in God’s word on which we can meditate

obviously need help of Holy Spirit to “get it”, to begin to grasp the wonders of all that God has revealed in the Bible

so much of what God has told us there is written purposely to encourage: you’re not alone, situation not unique/first, God has brought others through much worse, besides all that is there about his character and faithfulness

consider what Jesus has accomplished: victory over sin, death and Satan – means we can have victory over sin and Satan in this life by God’s gracious help

then there’s encouragement for the future: this life not all there is, perfect justice will be served, sin for believer will be gone forever, universe will be restored and set right

gives strength (28)

not so much strength of body being addressed but strength of soul and will – courage and determination to persevere in doing what is right, what is pleasing to God

in face of discouragement, difficulty or outright opposition: is God’s Word that provides strength

here’s what Bible says, then I must think this way, believe, act this way even if it is ridiculed, questioned or opposed

think about those who are actively, even brutally persecuted for their faith – is what they know to be true from God’s Word that keeps them strong

gives guidance (29-30)

two paths: way of lying / way of truth; path of deceit / path of faithfulness – what clearly distinguishes one from the other not obvious at first

partly on purpose: path of deceit intentionally made to look like path of faithfulness – follow along together or parallel for quite a distance, then begin to diverge

only way to be certain of right path: follow the one revealed in God’s word as graciously taught by his Spirit

principles that apply to any and all life circumstances are in God’s word – he has not left us without a guide

gives endurance (32)

challenge in Heb. 12:1-2Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

meditating on God’s word, knowing God’s word, treasuring and clinging to it is major means God uses to give us capacity to run with endurance, to run obediently

Please…do NOT hold God’s word loosely. Is ok to hold some things loosely but not the Bible. Cling to it as if your life depended on it – it does. What’s best of all: the Bible is God’s word, just as faithful and reliable as he is. It will never let you down!

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