5 Oh that my ways may be established To keep Thy statutes!
6 Then I shall not be ashamed When I look upon all Thy commandments.
Lord, You know our secret hearts and lives, our unseen noble ways and our unseen sins. You know everything about us! Use these studies, not just to teach our heads, but to affect our secret lives, to make us better people in the place that really counts – our real selves. Open the word to us this morning to change us. AMEN!
WHEN I LOOK upon all Thy commandments. ‘Look’ is the Hebrew word “nabat”, which means to look, regard, pay attention to, consider. I am hoping that the kind of study we are doing here is an example of the kind of look that Scripture demands. You can’t get that “keep Thy statutes” really means “defend God’s boundaries” or link this verse to Genesis 3 and the garden of Eden without some careful consideration and slow thoughtful pondering.
When Martin Luther was still a monk, he says that he hated the verse in Romans 1:17 in which it says “the righteous shall live by faith.” He writes that he hammered on that verse day after day and begged God for understanding of it until He opened His mind and showed him the secret of justification by faith. The protestant reformation flowed from that one guy really really doing his Bible study. What might God do with us, if we were to honestly admit that we hate and do not understand a key point of Scripture, and passionately beg Him for understanding? Might we also change the course of history?
I don’t know, but it is important to always come to the scripture, not with preconceived ideas about what we think we know, but as coming to God with honesty and with a beginner’s mind, ready to rumble and hungry for truth.
When I look upon ALL Thy commandments: It is important to know the whole counsel of Scripture, not just pieces or small favorite passages. Relying on favorite passages or a steady diet of topical messages is like a baby drinking formula vs. a baby drinking his mother’s milk. There is so much more, things you don’t realize, when you steadily gain awareness of the whole context.
“Therefore, putting aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.” 1 Peter 2:1-3, NASB.
Another think about this. What this is saying is, it isn’t just laziness that prevents us from seeing all the commandments. It is shame. We are demotivated to clearly understand, to ‘see’, all of God’s commandments when we know that in doing so we will be ashamed. So, our WAYS, our desires and motivations and habits, need establishment in a fashion where we defend God’s boundaries, so that we can more easily learn more of God’s ways. It is a spiral up or a spiral down, whichever way our tendencies direct. Less shame leads to more knowledge, more shame leads to less knowledge. More knowledge leads to less shame, less knowledge leads to more shame. Increased knowledge of God’s ways leads to a better establishment of our ways which leads to behaviors and lifestyle choices and habits which make us more comfortable with seeking greater knowledge and wisdom.
When I look upon all THY commandments: Well, this is one of my pet peeves, I’ll admit it. God bless everyone doing this, please take what I’m saying with a grain of salt. There are so many times when someone says they are going to have a Bible study, and what we end up doing is getting some book with a bunch of questions, where you read a passage and then really study their questions. I usually think the questions are off because they didn’t study the passage very well. Those marriage books always strike me that way: we might read Eph’s 5, but then you end up talking about how men all love football and tools and farting and sex at the drop of a hat, and the women kind of snicker about it. Where is any of that in the Bible??? how is that a Bible study???? Why can’t we directly study GOD’s WORD? Is it too boring? You know what I hope you get out of this study of Ps 119? That you actually go back to the book and look it over yourself, maybe I’m wrong about stuff. I have gotten some feedback like that, and I can tell you that it is GREAT.
Well, I’m out of time. Tomorrow, we’ll tackle the whole idea of commandments. your homework today? Our next verse after these two will be Ps 119:11. Take a notebook and list 10 pure observations about that verse. come to it pretending to know nothing, and just pray for enlightenment and observe what it actually says.