New situations often send us searching for fresh strategies and action plans to help us cope. New ideas are frequently helpful and inspiring; however, it is sometimes more beneficial to apply practices rooted in long standing knowledge and truth.
Psalm 119 has been a favourite of mine for years. Its rich teaching on the importance and benefits of knowing God's Word has inspired and guided me through multiple circumstances. About a month before we knew the Corona Virus would change society’s everyday life, I began to study this Psalm in depth.
Each day I studied one of the 22 stanzas, marking specific words and phrases. Some of the most obvious are:
Little did I realize how God was working in my life. Like many others, I began to feel the effects of isolation after a few weeks. My study has reminded me where my life and faith are really grounded.
In my next several posts I will share some of the ways God is using His Word to help me Navigate our New World. I have entitled the series; 20/20 in 2020. Today’s instalment is Navigating a New World. I invite you to follow along. Some of my observations will relate to life in general, and some will address our present pandemic situation. I trust God will use them to bring you closer to Him, the God of Creation, who is waiting and willing to guide you and hold you through each struggle you meet.
Each stanza bears the name of a letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
1 Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the LORD!
2 Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with their whole heart,
3 who also do no wrong,
but walk in his ways!
4 You have commanded your precepts
to be kept diligently.
5 Oh that my ways may be steadfast
in keeping your statutes!
6 Then I shall not be put to shame,
having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
7 I will praise you with an upright heart,
when I learn your righteous rules.
8 I will keep your statutes;
do not utterly forsake me!
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ps 119:1–8). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
The first question I asked myself as I read these verses repeatedly, was, ‘am I walking with God to the best of my ability?’ As I read each verse, I realized that I don't always walk with Him as well as I should. However, He loves me anyway, and He will not leave me if I stray. You will see that in the very first verse, some versions use the word blameless, another version uses the word undefiled. Both of these words might give us the impression that we need to be perfect so therefore it is hopeless to please the Lord God all of the time.
"Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD!"
I was relieved to discover the following about the word blameless:
"The Hebrew word used here, tamim, emphasizes a high degree of integrity and honesty rather than absolute perfection."
Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ps 119:1). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Yes, I need to walk close to God, endeavouring to obey His Word and live according to His principles, but God does not expect absolute perfection. He knows the intent of our hearts. Proverbs 4: 20-27 teaches us how to live a victorious life. Verse 25 in the New International Version tells us to "fix our eyes directly before us." In my study of Proverbs 4, I feel God is telling us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. In doing this, the intent of our heart will always be to please the Lord. We will not be perfect, but we will be blameless, if the intent, our desire, is to please, honour and obey the Lord.
There is so much more to uncover in these first eight verses. As you read and study Psalm 119:1-8, what other things does God teach you? Do you see what He promises you? How does He want us to obey? What should our heart’s desire be? What happens when we learn God's Word? How do these verses help you cope with the New World of 2020?
Debi Snider... more