Category Archives: Bible

God’s Law ~ decree

God's Law decree

DECREE – a formal and authoritative order, especially one having the force of law (from Dictionary.com)

When I read that definition, I think “this is something I must pay attention to and follow.” If it is a decree, it is non-negotiable, right?

Wait! If that is true, why don’t we see the word of God as non-negotiable? God has decreed his ways through the Bible yet it is so easy to brush that off. It shouldn’t be but we have allowed it to be so.

The Psalmist wrote what I see as almost the key verse of chapter 119 in verse 112:

My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end.

He sees just how important the word of God is and so he has set it in his heart that keeping the decrees of the Lord is what he will do. I need to be that focused.

I noticed when I got onto my Bible app earlier that it was congratulating me for “connecting with God’s word” for two days in a row. Really? Should I be congratulated for that or should it be chastising me for not having a better record?

Looking at Psalm 199, we see just how many days in a row we should be connecting – every single one. The major theme in the verse that use the word DECREE(S) in the NIV is “teach me your decrees, God.” Over and over and over. The Psalmist is pleading with God to be taught.

We are so blessed in that we have the word of God right at our fingertips, in a hundred different ways each and every day. Are we seeking to be taught as the Psalmist did?

Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees, that I may follow it to the end. (verse 33)

I gave an account of my ways and you answered me; teach me your decrees. (verse 26)

Praise be to you, Lord; teach me your decrees. (verse 12)

Deal with your servant according to your love and teach me your decrees. (verse 124)

These are just a few of the verses that plead with God to be taught. I should be following this example and pleading to be taught.

How can I do this? I don’t actually have to get down on my knees and beg to be taught by God. I had seen my errors in allowing my daily Bible time to go by the way-side, so I have been working to implement some new habits and schedules to help me. Because I want to know God’s decrees. My options:

  • quiet time by myself first thing in the morning
  • reading aloud to my children
  • reading quietly with one of my children
  • listening to the Bible or to verses set to music
  • devotional books
  • singing hymns
  • quoting scripture or working on memorizing more

These are just a few options but I must learn more. I cannot follow that which I do not know.

You are good and what you do is good; teach me your decrees. (verse 68)

Blessings,
At Home.

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God’s Law series ~ week off

God's Law

You know, life happens and sometimes we get drained. Sometimes we lose focus and have trouble finding drive and enthusiasm. That is this week. We have struggled finding our way back into routine and have had some extra bumps in the week. So, I am not going to fight it, trying to create a blog post for the God’s Law series for today that is just not very good and done half-heartedly. I’m going to spend today reading Psalm 119 and thinking about some of my favorite verses in it.

That is one thing that has been really good about reading and rereading this chapter of God’s word – I have found several verses that have really spoken to me, set in my heart and encouraged me over and over. These verses are some that I have probably skipped over time after time over the years. But now, they are sticking with me a bit. I do plan to share them with you at the end of the study.

For today, though, I’m just reading and meditating. No writing or hyperfocused word studies. Just God’s word talking to my heart. I hope you will join me in this as a way end an off-kilter week.

Blessings,
At Home.

God’s Law ~ a reading

God's Law

This is a post I am scheduling ahead of time because I am spending time with family between Christmas and New Year, not on the blog writing. So, I am making today’s devotional thought short and sweet.

Have you read through Psalm 119 recently? All the way through, in one sitting? Have you read it in a different translation or version? I challenge you to join me today in reading Psalm 119 through at least once. I will be reading it in a different version. I don’t know which one but will choose one from my Kindle app.

It is good for us to read a passage we are studying in various translations/versions. Why? Different versions use different English words to convey the same meaning, while the original languages of the Old and New Testaments generally only have one meaning. It is wonderful to have so many options in English and by reading the same passage in different translations/versions, we can gain a more thorough understanding of what God was trying to teach us through that writer.

So, today, pick a version that is different than you normally study from. For me, that means I need to get away from my NIV study Bible. I really like my study Bible, all the notes I have taken from year to year and study to study. But for those very reasons, it is good for me to take a step back and look at Psalm 119 from a different view.

Next week, I will share with you which one I chose before we get back into looking at a specific word for God’s Law. When you finish this and have chosen your version, I would love it if you would leave me a quick comment letting me know which you chose.

Blessings,
At Home.

God’s Law ~ commands

Today snuck up on me. I kept turning around and saying “It’s Friday?” So, this study did not go as I had hoped. But, instead of telling myself to just put it up next Friday, I sat down now to write and read and study. Not necessarily in that order. 🙂

I find that time getting away from me is quite a condemning thing considering Psalm 119 is all about spending time with God’s law. So much of Psalm 119 is about taking the time to know God’s law, to spend time daily learning, to soak myself in all that God is telling me so that I know God more through it. And I have not been good about it for a while. This week has been particularly bad.

So, when I was tempted to just push it back to next Friday, I decided to embrace the whole purpose of God giving us His law – so we could know Him more through it. And now, on to the study of Psalm 119 and the word command.God's Law command

Command – noun – an authoritative order; an instruction; authority; the ability to use or control something
Command – verb – giving an authoritative order; be in a strong enough position to have or secure (something); to dominate; to control or restrain

Some synonyms for command – order, instruction, direction, directive, commandment, injunction, decree, edict, demand, stipulation, requirement, exhortation, bidding, request

Considering these definitions and synonyms for command, what does that imply for us? Off the top, it means we are being told something we should do. We should view God’s law as something authoritative, something to be obeyed, an instruction that we have no choice over. Exhortation is a pretty strong synonym that reminds us that this is God’s will for us. God wants us to know and obey His Law, the ways he wants us to walk and the things he wants us to do.

When we look at the text of Psalm 119 and put these definitions into context, what is our required action? There are 22 verses in the NIV that use the word command(s) for God’s law.

These responses, the actions, are all a very positive way of seeing what happens when we know the commands of God and walk in them. We are set free; we have delight. Singing the praises of God’s law is something that we cannot keep inside when we have meditated on God’s commands and made them a part of our being, the fiber of who we are.

v 6 – Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands.
v 32 – I run in the path of your commands for you have set my heart free.
v 35 – Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.
v 47 – for I delight in your commands because I love them.
v 48 – I lift up my hands to your commands which I love, and I meditate on your decrees.
v 60 – I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.
v 98 – Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me.
v 166 – I wait for your salvation, O Lord, and I follow your commands.
v 172 – May my tongue sing of your word for all your commands are righteous.

Strength to speak against those who do not follow God’s law comes to us when we know and have made God’s commands a part of who we are. When we know what God commands, what He expects from us, our responses to others who ignore them or stray from them are formed by God’s law and we are strengthened by him.

v 21 – You rebuke the arrogant, who are cursed and who stray from your commands.
v 115 – Away from me, you evil-doers, that I may keep the commands of my God!
v 143 – Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands are my delight.

The more we seek God, the more we find Him. His commands are our strength, knowledge, understanding. We have trust and find more and more of God. Seeking God’s commands means that we desire to know Him and to follow His law. God’s protection surrounds those who seek him through His word.

v 10 – I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.
v 19 – I am a stranger on earth; do not hide your commands from me.
v 66 – Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I believe in your commands.
v 73 – Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands.
v 86 – All your commands are trustworthy; help me, for men persecute me without cause.
v 96 – To all perfection I see a limit; but your commands are boundless.
v 127&128 – Because I love your commands more than gold, more than pure gold, and because I consider all your precepts right, I hate every wrong path.
v 131 – I open my mouth and pant, longing for your commands.
I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant for I have not forgotten your commands.
v 151 – Yet you are near, O Lord, and all your commands are true.

A command requires an action from the person who is given the command. If we see God’s Law as a command, then we have no option but to respond to it, to follow it. Not just brushing it aside, since doing so would have dire consequences. A command is given by one in authority – God. This instruction given with authority – God’s Law – should dictate our lives, our choices, and our love to God and those around us.
Matthew 22: 37-40 Jesus is telling those who question him about how to live
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
 So, do you respond to the commands of God by wanting to know more? By loving God? By loving your neighbor?
My response is rededicating myself to spending more time knowing God through His commands. I challenge you to make a specific response to God’s commands, write it down, tuck it away, whatever you want to do with it. But respond.
Blessings,
At Home.

God’s Law ~ promises

God's Law promise

What are promises? Or, what is a promise?

I tend to think of a promise as a set of words guaranteeing a particular action or sentiment that was shared.

“I didn’t do it. I promise!”
“I promise to do my best work.”
“I promise that I will love you forever.”

I tend to view a promise as a given – if you promise something, it is a done deal.

The Psalmist views a promise the same way. That is why God’s laws are talked about throughout Psalm 119 as a promise or a set of promises. The word is both singular and plural in my NIV translation.

The promises of God – there is no doubt in the Psalmist’s writing that these will change, evolve, or ever disappear. They ARE. They exist and therefore, they are truth.

Psalm 119:50 states “My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.”

I know that the Bible gives the truths that provide eternal life but I don’t often enough recognize that. “My comfort” – God gives me what I need to get through the suffering. And why do I want to come through that suffering to the other side? “Your promise preserves my life.” It is where life exists. And the promise, the word of God, is what preserves, saves, provides, that life. Beautiful!

Psalm 119:148 My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises. 

That is a powerful verse to me. A powerful challenge.

Do I ever view God’s promises, His law, as so important that I stay up through the night to meditate on them? Meditation for me has gone somewhat by the wayside but I am getting better again. And this set of verses is part of what has helped me with that – these promises show me the truth, life, and comfort me. I need to be spending more time reading what God has to tell me in these promises, these laws.

There are a total of 12 verses in Psalm 119 (in the NIV) that use the word promise to refer to God’s words. These 12 verses show us much about God’s promise –

v 38 – promise fulfilled
v 41 – salvation according to the promise
v 50 – preserves life, is comfort
v 58 – promise of grace
v 76 – unfailing love, comfort
v 82 – promise is desired
v 116 – sustenance
v 140 – promises have been tested
v 148 – worth meditation
v 154 – preserve life
v 162 – rejoice in promise
v 170 – deliver according to promise

Just looking at these short phrases, not even the full verses, I see such strength to be gained, such faith. God gives us His word so that we can see the fulfillment of these promises.

Without reading the Bible, we are missing the promises of God. But most frightening is that we are missing the salvation, the life, the comfort that these promises give.

Take time to claim these promises for yourself. Read God’s word. Just begin. I am beginning once again so that I can claim the promises and the life God’s promises bring with obedience.

Blessings,
At Home.

 

God’s Law ~ law, part 2

God's Law LAW part two

I’m just going to jump in right where we left off last time – halfway through looking at how the word “law” is used in Psalm 119. Today we are going to look at two opposites – those who despise the LAW and loving the LAW.

First, the camp I do not want to be associated with – those who despise or disdain God’s law.

Let me list some verses –
v 53 – Indignation grips me because of the wicked who have forsaken your law.
v 85 – The arrogant dig pitfalls for me, contrary to your law.
v 126 – It is time for you to act, O Lord; your law is being broken.
v 136 – Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for your law is not obeyed.
v 150 – Those who devise wicked schemes are near, but they are far from your law.

Now, the number of verses here may not be large but the people spoken of in these verses, well, they are not ones I want to hang around with. They don’t follow the law that God has set before us. They don’t do as God wills. This is clear when we look at the words surrounding these people – wicked and arrogant. And the actions here are clearly those who don’t love God and his law.

Let’s counter that, though. The Psalmist does. Quite strongly.

When these people – the wicked and the arrogant – act in ways that are unkind, hurtful, and more, the Psalmist does not turn from God. In fact, he speaks very clearly about what he does during these times of persecution – he remembers the LAWS that God has given. The LAWS that are righteous. The LAWS that are holy. He does not turn away. Oh, do I need to follow that example!

v 51 – The arrogant mock me without restraint, but I do not turn from your law.
v 61 – Though the wicked bind me with ropes, I will not forget your law.
v 70 – Their hearts are callous and unfeeling, but I delight in your law.
v 109 – Though I constantly take my life in my hands, I will not forget your law.
v 113 – I hate double-minded men, but I love your law.
v 153 – Look upon my sufferings and deliver me, for I have not forgotten your law.

One verse that jumps out at me is
v 77 – Let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your law is my delight.

The LAW being his delight, the Psalmist is looking for compassion from the one who he knows holds life and death. And more than that, his words show obedience. They show love. They show respect. They show honor. And they show much, much more.

v 13 – With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth.
v 20 – My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times.
v 43 – Do not snatch the word of truth from my mouth, for I have put my hope in your laws.
v 44 – I will always obey your law, for ever and ever.
v 55 – In the night I remember your name, O Lord, and I will keep your law.
v 108 – Accept, O Lord, the willing praise of my mouth, and teach me your laws.
v 120 – My flesh trembles in fear of you; I stand in awe of your laws.
v 137 – Righteous are you, O Lord, and your laws are right.
v 163 – I hate and abhor falsehood but I love your law.
v 164 – Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws.

I am going to close this with my three favorite verses,

v 30 – I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your LAWS.

v 34 – Give me understanding and I will keep your LAW and obey it with all my heart.

v 97 – O how I love your LAW; I meditate on it all day long.

These are my goals. They are clearly stated and focused on God. I desire understanding and the only way to gain that is to meditate on the LAW of God. I have set my heart on God and his LAWS. Each day I have to refocus on these goals but that’s okay because each day that I do, I am one day closer to the understanding that God is granting to me. And each day I refocus, I am becoming more in awe of God and the LAWS that will allow me to join Him in heaven after this earthly life is done. What a blessing to have God’s LAW.

At Home.

God’s Law ~ law(s)

God's Law LAW part one

Define law. When I looked it up at Dictionary.com, here is the number one definition for the noun law:

the principles and regulations established in a community by some authority and
applicable to its people, whether in the form of legislation or of custom and policies
recognized and enforced by judicial decision.

Reread that.

  • Principles and regulations – ideas, plans, thoughts, ways to be, thing to do or not do, guiding ideals and actions, customs and policies
  • established – not random but planned, thought out, and placed
  • in a community – a group of people, no definition of big or small, but a group that has something in common uniting them
  • authority – one who has a reason and ability to be over the community, in charge of them, guiding them, responsibility
  • applicable to its people – this is referring back to the principles and regulations being something that is needed by the community

The rest of the definition goes into some fine details of how we currently see law but really think on those first few words and phrases.

Do you see the Bible that God gave us this way?

In Psalm 119, we see that the writer saw it this way. There are 44 verses that refer to God’s LAW. That is in this single chapter of the Bible. God’s LAW is there to help us, to provide us those principles and regulations that were put in place to help our community, God’s church, act in ways that are in keeping with the one who is in authority over us, God. And when we act in accordance with God’s LAW, we are blessed (verse 1).

The LAW is described throughout Psalm 119 in various ways that help us to see how important it is. In verse 7, it is described as righteous. In verse 39, the laws of God are good. Again in verse 62 we see the law to be righteous. “I know, O Lord, that your laws are righteous” – again righteous is used in verses 75, quoted here, and verse 106.

The LAW is long-standing. From verse 52 the law is described as ancient and they are comforting. “I remember your ancient laws, O Lord, and I find comfort in them.” Verse 91 tells us that “Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve you” showing us that God indeed is the being in control of these laws. In verse 160, we see the extent of the reign of the LAW – “All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.” What powerful LAWS to stand and be worth obedience through time.

From the ancient days through eternity, God’s LAW will stand. And we can get so much from it. (emphasis is mine)

Verse 18 – “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.”
Verse 29 – “Keep me from deceitful ways; be gracious to me through your law.”
Verse 43 – “Do not snatch the word of truth from my mouth, for I have put my hope in your laws.”
Verse 77 – “Let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your law is my delight.”
Verse 92 – “If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.”
Verse 102 – “I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me.”
Verse 149 – “Hear my voice in accordance with your love; preserve my life, O Lord, according to your laws.”
Verse 156 – “Your compassion is great, O Lord; preserve my life according to your laws.”
Verse 165 – “Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.”
Verse 174 – “I long for your salvation, O Lord, and your law is my delight.”
Verse 175 – “Let me live that I may praise you and may your laws sustain me.”

Our culture kind of frowns on laws and seems to think that they are overburdening. But looks that list of benefits from follow the LAW God has set before us. Seeing wonderful things. Keeping me safe. Giving me compassion and preservation of life. Something to sustain me. Great peace! Not allowing anything to make me stumble.

And

Salvation!

Is there anything better?

I am going to call this part 1 of the word LAW because there are two more big sections that the word LAW groups into. Next week, we will look at those who disdain the LAW and how the psalmist loves the LAW. Opposites.

Blessings to you all as you ponder God’s LAW and what it can do for you.

At Home.

 

 

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