The Longest Chapter – Part 18 May 10, 2016

Tuesday rolls around again.  Is it just me or do the weeks seem to be flying by????

O Lord, You are righteous and Your regulations are fair.

Your laws are perfect and completely trustworthy.

I am overwhelmed with indignation for my enemies have disregarded Your words.

Your promises have been thoroughly tested; that’s why I love them so much.

I am insignificant and despised, but I don’t forget Your commandments.

Your justice is eternal and Your instructions are perfectly true.

As pressure and stress bear down on me I find joy in Your commands.

Your laws are always right; help me to understand them so I may live.

Psalm 119:137 – 144

As I pondered this week’s section, my attention was riveted on verse 140: Your promises have been thoroughly tested; that’s why I love them so much.

Living in Israel for the last several years has given me a deeper appreciation for this truth. Against all odds, this tiny country has survived seven wars in its short 68 year modern history.  The stories of God’s intervention are countless. Present day IDF soldiers as well as veterans of past wars testify to the obvious Hand of God in tense battles, attempted kidnappings and actual rocket attacks.  Whether ‘religious’ or not, Israelis do not hesitate to give praise to the God of Israel for the miracles that have attended this nation since 1948.  Nor do we forget the 24,000+ soldiers who gave their lives in defense of Israel.  In fact, this evening (Tuesday) at sundown begins our annual Memorial Day.  At its conclusion at sundown Wednesday, we celebrate Israel’s Independence Day (sundown Wednesday to sundown Thursday).

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It is by design that we set aside a day to remember our fallen heroes before entering into celebration of our independence.  We are keenly aware that the “promises [of God to our forefathers] have been thoroughly tested”, as the psalm says and those promises have been proven true.  What other nation in history was ‘lost’ for 2000 years and then re-established to open its arms to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who have come by the thousands to build up our ancient homeland.  God’s promise to re-gather the scattered of His people has been proven true before the eyes of the whole world.

The rest of His promises are equally reliable.  “As pressure and stress bear down on me,” David wrote, “I find joy in Your commands.”   Stress of one form or another is part and parcel of life, especially in our modern times.  When its pressure threatens to overwhelm us, where can we turn?  To God’s promises and to His everlasting care.

Promises like:

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.  -Jeremiah 29:11

Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.  –Psalms 50:15
You hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. – Psalms 61:3
Because he has set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he has known My Name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him. Psalms 91:14-15
We could go on and on for there are literally hundreds of promises God has made to us in the pages of Scripture.  The more we study the Word of God and commit it to our heart and mind, the more readily those promises will rise up within us when we face difficulty, challenge or heartache.  His promises are eternal, unchangeable, and have no expiration date!
It is precisely when we are in moments of pressure and stress that turning to Him and walking in His instructions is essential.  Obedience is the highway to blessing, deliverance and provision in every area of life.
And that, my friends, is why David said that His joy in the face of difficulties came from God’s commandments and then he added : “Your laws are always right; help me to understand them so that I may live.”
May we echo David’s prayer this day and find hope, courage, strength and peace in the reliable promises of God.

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