The Longest Chapter – Part 10 March 15, 2016

You made me, You created me.  Now give me the sense to follow Your commands.

May all who fear You find in me a cause for joy for I have put my hope in Your word.

I know, O Lord, that Your regulations are fair; You disciplined me because I needed it.

Now let Your unfailing love comfort me, just as You promised me, Your servant.

Surround me with Your tender mercies so I may live for Your instructions are my delight.

Bring disgrace upon the arrogant people who lied about me; meanwhile, I will concentrate on Your commandments.

Let me be united with all who fear You, with those who know Your laws.

May I be blameless in keeping Your decrees; then I will never be ashamed.

Psalm 119: 73 – 80

Lest we forget, the psalmist reminds us that it is God who created us, who gave us life, who sustains that life and the only reasonable response of gratitude for being alive is to live according to the will and ways of the our Creator.  Simple enough, right? Perhaps not.

Like him, our heart’s desire should be that our life inspire others; that whatever we do should have a positive impact on those around us, particularly those who, like us, revere the Lord.   Yet we fail from time to time and the discipline of the Lord draws us back to Him.  Let’s be honest – we don’t like discipline.  We don’t enjoy being corrected, unless, that is, we have learned – as we all must – that the discipline of the Lord is a mark of His love.  Like a father who sternly rebukes his young son for running out in the road where he may be injured or killed, the discipline of our heavenly Father is motivated by the same kind of love.  It is His concern for our spiritual well being that stirs the Father to discipline us when we are straying from the path of His Word.

The psalmist appreciated it and so must we.  It is the mature person who acknowledges without excuse, ‘You disciplined me because I needed it.‘  In other words, I recognize that I was drifting away from intimacy with You, my God, and I thank You for loving me enough to nudge me back.  This is what repentance is all about:  acknowledging our failures honestly and then turning away from them, making a new start.

God’s response is to then re-assure us of His unfailing love.  Do you realize there is nothing – absolutely nothing – you or I can do that will make God stop loving us?  That’s what unfailing love means.  We can displease Him by wrong choices and sinful behavior, but He never stops loving us, which is precisely why He will correct and chasten us to draw us back to Himself.

He surrounds us with His tender mercies so we may live and not perish, spiritually and at times, even physically. And wonder of wonders, because of His forgiveness, we can pray like the psalmist, May I be blameless in keeping Your decrees; then I will never be ashamed.

Blameless – do you know what that means from a biblical perspective?

Guiltless, above reproach, faultless.  How can that be when I know I’ve failed?

Because to live a ‘blameless’ life before God means that we consistently seek to follow Him and when we do miss the mark, we are quick to repent, ask His forgiveness and turn back towards Him without delay.

Speaking through the prophet Isaiah, God says:

Though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them as white as snow.  Isaiah 1:18

And again,

As far as the east is from the west, so far will I remove Your transgressions from you.

Psalm 103:12

May we all pray as the psalmist does in verse 80:

May I be blameless in keeping Your decrees; then I will never be ashamed.

And besides that, may I add: and then I will follow You wholeheartedly.

**************

Til next week, may Your days be filled with the joy of His presence.

If this study is a blessing to you, please pass it on.

And check out our weekly Torah commentary at In Tune with Torah

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