Daily Reflections October 25, 2017
The longest chapter in the Bible is all about the Word of God. Like Psalm 1, this psalm is about the blessing that comes from living in conformity to God’s Word. Like Psalm 19, it extols the beauty and benefits of God’s Word.
Here are 8 brief observations from this text:
1. God’s Word is for all of life. This Psalm is an acrostic with 22 sections; each of the sections contains 8 lines. This describes the comprehensive nature of the Word of God as it confronts the totality of human life. The author uses the full breadth of language, all the letters in the Hebrew alphabet, to describe this grand theme.
2. Conform your life to the Word of God and find blessing. God’s covenant directives are described by a number of terms: law, word, testimonies, statutes, rules, precepts, commands and promise. In the entirely of its 176 verses, Psalm 119 celebrates the gift of God’s Word to us as his moral instruction for the way that leads to life.
Blessed are those whose way is blameless who walk in the law of the Lord! (Psalm 119:1 ESV)
3. Love God AND his Word. We're avid students of God’s Word because we are first deeply devoted to God. Love for God and God’s Word go together. The first leads to the second, and the second is proof of the first and strengthens the first.
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart…(Psalm 119:2 ESV)
4. Fight for purity. Brothers and sisters, we face a constant struggle with sin. O, that our ways were steadfast in keeping God’s commands. Most of the lines here are prayers to God asking him to help us lead a blameless life. God’s Word will purify our character and shape our conduct.
How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. (Psalm 119:9 ESV)
5. Stand in awe of God’s exalted Word. It flows from God and testifies to his nature. It is a holy, righteous and priceless Word. When we are confronted with the magnificence of God, we will stand in awe of the magnificence of his Word.
In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. (Psalm 119:14 ESV)
6. Make the commitment to be a person of the Word. Notice the number of times the author writes, “I will” (vss. 7, 8, 15, 16, 23). Read, memorize, meditate, love and obey God’s Word. Seek to align your life with it, living in daily obedience for the glory of God.
I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. (Psalm 119:15 ESV)
7. God’s Word is known, loved and obeyed only with his help. Therefore, to learn and love his Word, we need to pray.
Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. (Psalm 119:18 ESV)
8. Love God’s Word above all human wisdom. When you live with God’s Word as your divine plumb line, you will face spiritual opposition. The world, the flesh and the devil hate the Word of God. Devotion to God’s Word sets one apart as a servant of God and it also differentiates the person from the arrogant.
Even though princes sit plotting against me, your servant will meditate on your statutes. (Psalm 119:23 ESV)
With a renewed desire to be transformed by the renewing of your mind, let the cry of your heart be:
Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes! (Psalm 119:12 ESV)
Associate Pastor Jody Cross
The visions presented in the book of Daniel present a formidable challenge for us as modern, North American readers. We read of warfare being waged in the heavenly realm by angels with eyes of fire and our first instinct can sometimes be dismissal. These texts provide an excellent testing ground for our faith.
It has been my experience that most Christians have a deficient understanding of angels; there was a time when Christians overemphasized the spiritual realm. I can think of a song I used to sing in youth rallies that was addressed to angels (nowhere in Scripture is it suggested that we should do so), and a recent Christian movie includes a strange scene where a godly woman shouts at Satan, commanding him to exit her house. While these examples demonstrate the pitfalls of obsession with this topic, they also make a case for the danger of leaving this topic unaddressed. If over obsession represents the ditch on one side of the road, I suspect many of us are veering close to the ditch on the side of ignorance.
The Bible tells us that angels exist, and that they are actively engaged in a spiritual warfare. Hebrews 1:14 tells us that angels are ministering spirits who serve those who will inherit salvation. Isn’t that the exact picture that we see on display in Daniel 10?
Daniel receives a vision in the opening verses and becomes so distraught that he falls on his knees in mourning and prayer. While prayer isn’t explicitly mentioned in verses 1-3, we know that it took place because of the message Daniel receives from the angel in verse 12:
“Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words.”” (Daniel 10:12 ESV)
God heard this prayer and sent an angel to comfort Daniel. The answer to Daniel’s prayer was delayed for three weeks! For three weeks Daniel mourned, fasted and prayed, all the while there was a battle taking place in the spiritual realms between this angel and the demonic “Prince of Persia.”
How do we respond to a chapter like this? I would suggest that we recommit ourselves to prayer. Yes, God is sovereign and in control, but He has included these accounts to remind us that our prayers are a means through which He operates in this world. Our prayers matter! There is a true war being waged for the hearts and souls of men and the enemy is commissioning his forces to resist God’s people. We must commit ourselves to praying to the One who is stronger than our enemy.
Here we find a call to patience and perseverance and we witness God’s preservation of His people. The Prince of Persia resisted the angel who was sent to help Daniel, but Daniel faithfully pressed through in prayer for three weeks until God provided an answer.
Paul Carter, the senior pastor of our church, frequently reminds us: “The misuse of a thing does not negate the thing.” In other words, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Thank God that He has sent angelic forces to minister to us in this life. We are not to worship them or become obsessed with them, but neither should we deny them. Let’s give thanks to our Heavenly Father who provides us with everything that we need, even in the realm that we cannot see.
Assistant Pastor Levi denBok