How willing are you and I to take a step of faith into the unknown? How willing are we to risk failure? Are we people who like to play it safe, get all our ducks lined up in a row, do our “pro vs con” sheet and then timidly step forward, or are we someone who enjoys the thrill of jumping out into uncharted territory?
Theologian and Protestant Reformer Martin Luther wrote: “God, our Father, has made all things depend on faith so that whoever has faith will have everything, and whoever does not have faith will have nothing.”
If you and I see ourselves as someone who likes to play it safe, let me say this: God is not looking for extraordinary daredevils who foolishly take risks for the thrill of it. He is looking for ordinary people who risk praying, prepare, count the cost, and then willingly venture out into the unknown because they have heard the clarion call of God and have confidence that God will hold them up.
It only takes a mustard seed faith, a little faith in a Great God to please God.
Any man or woman who has stood at an altar before God and their friends to take a vow of marriage knows what it means to risk everything, take a leap of faith into the unknown world of matrimony. There was no guarantee of success, and no previous experience to calm the fear, but couples take this leap because they are willing to risk it all, they are in love and they want to be married and raise a family. We will step out in faith when we really risk wanting something.
Anyone who has ever gone out on a job interview, or taken a new position has demonstrated faith despite their fear and uncertainty. You needed and wanted work and so you went through the very scary interview process. That took faith.
I could give many more examples, the point I am trying to make is this: Only those who are willing to take a risk, and take that risk, a step of faith, and move out into uncharted territory enjoy the blessings that this life have to offer. God knows the fullest measure of our heart, how much we’re willing to risk for Him.
However, we also have to be extraordinarily aware of exactly how far we have stretched the bounds of our very fragile hearts and even more fragile souls. It is a very real possibility we take ourselves beyond reasonable limits absent God. It is here where we hear the Psalmists words, become hyper aware of a great need.
Psalm 119:25-32 AKJV
25 My soul cleaveth unto the dust:
quicken thou me according to thy word.
26 I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me:
teach me thy statutes.
27 Make me to understand the way of thy precepts:
so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.
28 My soul melteth for heaviness:
strengthen thou me according unto thy word.
29 Remove from me the way of lying:
and grant me thy law graciously.
30 I have chosen the way of truth:
thy judgments have I laid before me.
31 I have stuck unto thy testimonies:
O Lord, put me not to shame.
32 I will run the way of thy commandments,
when thou shalt enlarge my heart.
The Word of God for the Children of God. Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.
From this deeply heartfelt passage, it appears the Psalmist is experiencing too many difficult trials and troubles in his life but as a believer he is willing to risk it all for a deeper understanding and a greater insight into God’s Word. Even though his difficulties are a result of his own weaknesses he is not driven away from God but risks being drawn closer ever to Him. It seems that this passage is divided into two parts: My ways and God’s ways. It is for certain that we cannot live a committed Christian life and be satisfied living according to our own ways.
This section is structured by the powerful effects of God’s Word. It revives the soul (v. 25); it imparts inner strength (v. 28); it guides into truth (v. 30); and it enlarges the heart (v; 32). When we are down, afflicted, grieving or suffering, we need risk acknowledging, engaging the Word of God. So our psalmist reveals his condition, then risks everything, confessing that God’s Word is the answer
- My ways (vv. 25-29).
- The confession of my ways (v. 25). “My soul cleaveth unto the dust..”
- The conviction of my ways (vv. 26-27).
- “Now teach me your principles” (v. 26). Reading the Bible for information and not for instruction.
- “Help me understand the meaning of your commandments,..” (v. 27) A desire to do God’s Word, not just wanting to understand it.
- The contradiction of my ways (vv. 28-29). “Remove from me the way of lying:..” (v. 29).
- Singing and praising the Lord on Sunday and living for the devil the rest of the week.
- Claiming we belong to Christ and not demonstrating it the way we live.
- Thy ways (vv. 30-32).
- The choice of God’s ways (v. 30). “I have chosen the way of truth:..”
- The commitment to God’s ways (v. 31). “I have stuck (cleave) unto thy testimonies:..”
- The clarity (quickness) of God’s ways (v. 32). “I will run the way of thy commandments.” The psalmist is saying that I have made a choice to run God’s ways; I am committed and now I must respond with swiftness, without delay.
Restoration, Refreshment and Revival comes only when we reach the end of our own resources, repent, and call upon God to intervene. The psalmist is clearly in this condition. He is greatly humbled and broken. His soul is cast into the dust.
What then can he do? The answer is, “Nothing.” Thus, he prays, “Revive me according to Your Word.” This prayer for revival is based upon God’s Word, for God’s promises to give life to those who seek Him. The arousing inspiring Word of the Lord is the surest source of help in all tribulation of body, mind, or soul.
These verses from Psalm 119 testify to the undeniable ministry of God’s divine Word upon a heart filled with sorrow and mourning because of the deadening effects of the world around and the fallenness within. The psalmist prayed for reviving because he was laid low (v. 25). He then asked God for understanding, strengthening, and provision (vv. 26-29). When God gave him understanding, he would surely risk it all to comply because he treasured the Law (v. 30-32).
There are times in my life when I feel that I ought to be more in control of my Christian walk. However as my heart is enlarged with the Word of God (v. 32) my desire as the psalmist is, risk it all, run the way of God’s commandments.
It is my guess that I am not the only one with such a sentiment in my heart. It is my guess that whoever it is who comes across this short devotional is in a place very similar, if not exactly like the Psalmist, is struggling mightily for answers. Such is the nature of those struggles that they are willing to risk everything. I fervently pray that they will literally risk everything, engage the Word of God! Because I know someone quite literally risked everything to tell them of God!
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Let us now Pray,
In times and measures of weakness and hour of need,
yours, Father God is the strength by which we carry on,
Your Son Jesus, the shoulder we look to rest our head upon.
When our load, as the Psalmists is heavy and too much to bear,
yours and yours alone are the arms stretched out to help us
the grace, the only mercy, the great Shalom that we depend on.
In times and degrees of greatest weakness and hours of need,
from among the heavens and the stars above your voice is heard,
‘Come unto Me… Risk Unburdening Yourself…Risk finding rest.’
This is the indescribable, immeasurable undeniable grace divine,
the narrow path, through the eye of the needle, we tread to wholeness
of body and mind, soul and spirit, literally everything we are
the sure and certain path we risk treading which leads solely to you,
and for which we now offer our offering of thanksgiving and praise.
In Excelsis Deo!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.