Psalm 119:129-136 Amplified Bible
Your testimonies are wonderful;
Therefore my soul keeps them.
The unfolding of Your [glorious] words give light;
Their unfolding gives understanding to the simple (childlike).
I opened my mouth and panted [with anticipation],
Because I longed for Your commandments.
Turn to me and be gracious to me and show me favor,
As is Your way to those who love Your name.
Establish my footsteps in [the way of] Your word;
Do not let any human weakness have power over me [causing me to be separated from You].
Redeem me from the oppression of man;
That I may keep Your precepts.
Make Your face shine [with pleasure] upon Your servant,
And teach me Your statutes.
My eyes weep streams of water
Because people do not keep Your law.
The Word of God for the Children of God.
Adeste Fidelis. Venite Adoremus. Dominum.
Gloria, In Excelsis Deo, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.
Blessings From God’s Word …
Make your face shine with pleasure on your servant and teach me your decrees.
— Psalm 119:135
The words of the Psalmist from verse 135 “Make your face shine on your servant” echoes the great blessing found in the High Aaronic prayer Numbers 6:24-26.
There God explains how to give his people a blessing, saying:
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
Here God conveys to his people that He has turned His face upon them, sees them and promises to be gracious to them, to love and vigilantly protect them.
In our reading from the Psalms for today, the psalmist sees the light of God’s Word, and his passion for God grows, leading to a greater thirst for God’s Word.
As he reads and meditates, ponders and absorbs, the writer’s understanding of God’s love, mercy, and compassion deepens and his longing for God increases.
The intensity of his passion for God leads him even to pant for God’s Word!
Another important thing to note here is that the psalmist calls himself God’s servant.
Connecting God’s blessing with service, the psalmist reminds us that blessings do not stop when they land on our doorstep.
God blesses us—his servants—so that we can serve and be a blessing to the people around us.
Go ahead and ask God for his blessing, because God wants to bless you.
He also wants us to be keenly attentive to his Word, to praise Him, to pray and to worship Him and to learn His statutes, to revive, actively serve in his world.
Teach Me Your Statutes, O God …
God’s word is a treasure filled with fine riches that teach us about the God who created us and how to live in a way that pleases Him.
Often, we can disconnect God’s word from our lives and make reading His word a mere intellectual pursuit or religious practice.
Psalm 119 is a beautiful prayer that asks God to deeply connect the psalmist’s life with the word of God.
One of the most oft repeated phrases the psalmist passionately prays is for God to teach him to live by his statutes, which appears Psalm 119 at least ten times:
“Blessed are you, O LORD; teach me your statutes!” Psalm 119:12
“Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.” Psalm 119:18
“When I told of my ways, you answered me; teach me your statutes!” Psalm 119:26
“Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes; and I will keep it to the end.” Psalm 119:33
“The earth, O LORD, is full of your steadfast love; teach me your statutes!” Psalm 119:64
“You are good and do good; teach me your statutes.” Psalm 119:68
“Your hands have made and fashioned me; give me understanding that I may learn your commandments.” Psalm 119:73
“Deal with your servant according to your steadfast love, and teach me your statutes.” Psalm 119:124
“I am your servant; give me understanding, that I may know your testimonies!” Psalm 119:25
“Make your face shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes.” Psalm 119:135
“Let my cry come before you, O LORD; give me understanding according to your word!“ Psalm 119:169
We could, would, should be all be the wiser to make these verses (and the whole psalm) an essential element of our daily prayer life, our heart cry to our Savior.
Ah, the Sweetest Mystery of Life …
Ecclesiastes 8:16-9:6Amplified Bible
16 When I applied my mind to know wisdom and to see the activities [of mankind] that take place upon the earth—how some men seem to sleep neither day nor night— 17 and I saw all the work of God, I concluded that man cannot discover the work that is done under the sun. Even though man may labor in seeking, he will not discover; and [more than that], though a wise man thinks and claims he knows, he will not be able to find it out.
Men Are in the Hand of God
9 For I have taken all this to heart, exploring and examining it all, how the righteous (those in right standing with God) and the wise and their deeds are in the hands of God. No man knows whether it will be love or hatred; anything awaits him.
2 It is the same for all. There is one fate for the righteous and for the wicked; for the good, for the clean and for the unclean; for the man who offers sacrifices and for the one who does not sacrifice. As the good man is, so is the sinner; as he who swears an oath is, so is he who is afraid to swear an oath. 3 This evil is in all that is done under the sun, that one fate comes to all. Also, the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and afterwards they go to the dead. 4 [There is no exemption,] but whoever is joined with all the living, has hope; surely a live dog is better than a dead lion. 5 For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing, and they no longer have a reward [here], for the memory of them is forgotten. 6 Indeed their love, their hatred and their zeal have already perished, and they will no longer have a share [in this age] in anything that is done under the sun.
The Searcher’s claim is quite clear: life is too complicated, too vast, too filled with conflicting elements for any one of us to figure out all the answers.
Though we stay up all night and day, trying to think through and understand the complicated events that bring to pass the circumstances of our lives, we will never fully understand.
The Bible attaches no stigma to trying to understand life.
Rather, the pursuit of knowledge is everywhere encouraged in Scripture.
We must never adopt the attitude of anti-intellectualism that characterizes some segments of Christianity today.
We are to reason and think about what God is doing and what life gives us.
But we must always remember that no matter how much we try to think about life, mysteries will still remain.
We do not have enough data, nor do we have enough ability to see life in its totality to answer all the questions.
We must be content with some degree of mystery.
Though the wisest man of the ancient world wrote these words, he admits that humans cannot know all the answers.
He even says that diligence in labor will not unravel life’s mysteries:
Despite all his efforts to search it out, man cannot discover its meaning.
We will still be left collectively knitting our brows, collectively scratching our heads, and asking the eternally unanswerable question: “
Why, Me, Lord”?
Even when people claim to know the answers behind what happens to us, they are really only deceiving themselves.
Many people are unwilling to accept the truth of the precepts of Scripture until they can “come to fully, completely, utterly,” understand everything in it.
But if you and I are waiting for that, you will never make it -“failure to thrive” .
Although this book Ecclesiastes was written almost 2,500 years ago, it is still true, even in our age of advanced knowledge, no one can find all the answers.
We must diligently search out the statutes of God – through prayer and study.
When you and I think about our own life, about how many of the things that have happened to us have been determined by events over which we had zero control—events that had to fall together in a certain pattern before they could ever come to pass [by God’s Plan]—you, I, can see how true these words are.
No one can find out all the answers.
The sweetest mystery to life is that the destiny of our lives may all hung upon a simple decision to go or not to go to a church on a particular Sunday because we had some sort of “issue, grievance, grudge etcetera,” against the church itself.
Learning something about God’s precepts for our “Christian living” may just be revealed on that day during the course of praise, worship, reading of scripture.
We have to continuously place ourselves directly in the path of the Word of God.
We have to continuously stay passionate about letting God work in us and also through us by means of the unmatched power of His transformative Word.
How can we understand that strange merging of simplicity and complexity?
The Searcher of Ecclesiastes continuously and constantly argues that life is too complicated without the Word of God, for us ever to answer all the questions.
We will inevitably run out of brain power when, all by ourselves, we keep trying to be “a Sermon in Shoes Christian” finding our answers to the mystery of life.
Is understanding everything in Scripture necessary before accepting it as truth?
A Puzzle and a Song …
Romans 11:30-12:3Amplified Bible
30 Just as you once were disobedient and failed to listen to God, but have now obtained mercy because of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now become disobedient so that they too may one day receive mercy because of the mercy shown to you. 32 For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all [Jew and Gentile alike].
33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and decisions and how unfathomable and untraceable are His ways! 34 For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been His counselor? 35 Or who has first given to Him that it would be paid back to him? 36 For from Him [all things originate] and through Him [all things live and exist] and to Him are all things [directed]. To Him be glory and honor forever! Amen.
12 [a]Therefore I urge you, [b]brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be [c]transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].
3 For by the grace [of God] given to me I say to everyone of you not to think more highly of himself [and of his importance and ability] than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has apportioned to each a degree of faith [and a purpose designed for service].
I love puzzles but it bothers me and it frustrates me to no end the challenge of sitting still long enough and putting together any 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle.
Like my wife, some people will go online, just to do the most complex Sudoku.
She has developed a system whereby she just systematically “breezes through.”
That is not me, either …
I like Sudoku … but I cannot just “breeze through” them like she does.
I watch her, admire her ability to “order and sort out” all of the numbers.
I just need take my time and pray I finish without too many mistakes.
Too many mistakes … I just shut the game down as quickly as possible.
Revealing that sometimes our puzzles can end up puzzling us.
That’s how it was for the apostle Paul.
Paul wrestled with a very personal problem.
By God’s grace he had come to know Jesus as his Savior.
As he went about doing his missionary work, many Gentiles came to faith in Jesus as Lord.
But many of his own Jewish people rejected Jesus.
It was mind boggling to him.
Were they not God’s special people chosen to share God’s love with the world?
Nevertheless, Paul was so confident of God’s great mercy he broke into song.
Paul confesses that we can never fully grasp God’s eternal plan.
Our efforts to understand God, define him, or reduce him to our level will ultimately fail.
God owes us no explanation; nor is he accountable to us—for he is God.
There is something we can do—in fact, two things.
First, Paul implies that we should keep praising God because all glory belongs to him forever.
Then Paul goes on to say that the only reasonable response to all this is to offer ourselves in complete service to God and to be completely available for his use.
Are we doing that?
By Praise and Worship, by Prayer and Meditation and Study of God’s Word,
Are we looking to God for answers to even the most uncomplicated of puzzles?
“Reviving” the “Lost Art” of “Knowing God better than we Know Ourselves?”
Do you desire to continually learn and be taught God’s word and statues?
Does your heart yearn to be taught the path of God and to fix the gaze of your heart and your soul upon Him?
How say Ye to this …?
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray, ….
Lord, often we are as puzzled as the Psalmist, the Teacher and the Apostle Paul about the host of ways you deal with us. Even so, may we stand in awe of your amazing grace and respond to you with songs of praise and acts of service. Lord, cause us to continually grow in our understanding and learning of your statutes, making us wise and obedient to you. Cause us to fear your name and pursue an obedient and joyful life as Bible-saturated people who look to you for wisdom, grace, and life. Teach us your statutes and may our lives be characterized by joyful obedience to your word and by demonstrating constant dependence on you. And may you fill us ever more increasingly with your Holy Spirit, who alone, can truly teach us all your statutes.
Adeste Fidelis. Venite Adoremus. Dominum.
Gloria. In Excelsis Deo. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.