May your unfailing love come to me, Lord,(Ps. 119:41-48 NIV)
your salvation, according to your promise;
then I can answer anyone who taunts me,
for I trust in your word.
Never take your word of truth from my mouth,
for I have put my hope in your laws.
I will always obey your law,
for ever and ever.
I will walk about in freedom,
for I have sought out your precepts.
I will speak of your statutes before kings
and will not be put to shame,
for I delight in your commands
because I love them.
I reach out for your commands, which I love,
that I may meditate on your decrees.
The Psalmist speaks of the reality of the experience of the Lord’s unfailing love coming to him. This can be experienced by us in a number of ways. The word of the Lord can have an impact upon our hearts. When we are in prayer, we can sense that the Lord is present. The Lord ministers to us through other people. There are a myriad of ways that the Lord can show His love to us. Some of these ways are spiritual blessings, other ways can be temporal. We can enjoy the company of others, the pleasures of being surrounded by family. The Lord allows us to enjoy many different pleasures. There is a pleasure in art, music and poetry, a good novel, a hobby. WhatsApp messages, text messages, emails and phonecalls, all are ways that can encourage our hearts. We sometimes feel that the Lord wouldn’t be interested in all these mundane matters, but He is. Think of what Jesus said: that a glass of water given in His name would be rewarded.
Of course the greatest display of love was upon the cross when Jesus died for our sins. In this way the promises of redemption have been answered in Christ.
There were those who taunted the Psalmist with words, but the word of the Lord guided the Psalmist in how to respond. Because we trust in God’s word, we know that in the end God will fulfil all His promises to us in Christ. We trust what God has promised irrespective of what the current circumstances might be threatening.
The Psalmist rehearses the word of God, and he pleads that the Lord will never take that from his mouth. He recites the word, and in listening to the word of the Lord there is great comfort. His hope is in what God has promised, and he is so dependent upon the Lord’s promises that his life would be nothing without it.
The Psalmist vows to keep the word of the Lord forever and ever. You will have already noticed that in every verse of this Psalm so far that there has been a reference to God’s word. Jesus said that the truth would set us free. The Psalmist does not feel constrained by the word of God but rather that he lives a life of liberty because of God’s word. The Lord had put the desire for the word in the Psalmist’s heart and he has pursued the word of God. Whoever the Psalmist meets, he will speak of the word of God. Whether that happens to be a king or someone else, he will speak of the Lord’s commands and not be ashamed to do it.
The Psalmist delights and loves the word of God. Look at the effort that the Psalmist explains. He reaches out for the word of God, he stretches his mind. If he doesn’t understand, he will seek the help of others. There is an older minister with whom I was in contact when I was in Southampton. We would speak on the phone and quite often I would try and steer him onto the subject of Christ in the Psalms. Once he got started, he could go on at length on that subject unfolding the Psalms. I sensed his joy and that became my joy. He had studied hard and read widely and meditated upon the Psalms and he was in overflow mode when he started to talk about his Saviour.
Let us begin where we are today and develop that love and joy for the word of God.
Dear God our heavenly Father, with joy in our hearts we praise Your name because You have done wonderful things for us. We thank You for every sacrifice in the OT that points us to the atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ. We thank You that the way of approach of the worshipper in the tabernacle and temples teaches us how Christ is the way of approach for us today. There are many depths of pearls hidden in Your word. Help us day by day to be able to harvest from the riches of Your word because we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.