Tag Archives: God’s Law series

God’s Law ~ conclusion

God's Law series conclusion

I read through the weeks of this study and found myself dwelling on a couple of thoughts.

1 – Anytime God’s law is talked about, it uses words that imply an expected action or regulation handed down and given by one in authority. There is no wondering about the giver or the expectations. It is all right there in the words given. It IS authority.

2 – Joy and peace coming in knowing God’s word, in learning His law, in understanding His principles. That joy, that peace, is found nowhere else – only in God and His law.

I have found myself much encouraged by taking time to go through each of the words that are used to describe God’s law in Psalm 119. Each of the words really brought home to me how important God’s principles, His Law, is.

I know in my heart that God had these words written down in a particular way, that they have been translated to help us understand and that God’s hand was in all of that. But, I don’t always recognize that the words used are meant to strengthen my understanding, to increase my joy and my hope, to help me day by day. This study has really shown that to me and I am so grateful for those moments.

There are just a few words left that I noticed in my readings and I want to share those few with you today.

Testimonies – Found in verse 24, and probably others I didn’t notice before, this word draws my attention to the fact that this is truth straight from God. Isn’t that what you think about when you hear someone giving their testimony? That person is speaking the truth of what happened to them. The same is true when God uses the word – it is God’s truth and His words. That really helps me focus in on the importance of God’s words, his Law.

Salvation – Salvation is the word found in verse 81. “My soul faints for Your salvation, But I hope in Your Word.” In this use, salvation is something that is needed for life. Not only does God’s Law bring the hope referred to in the second half of the verse but it brings life. A life like no other is available but only through God’s Law, through His Word.

Counselors – I know I saw this word used in several places but only wrote down verse 24. In the same verse where the word testimonies was used, we see the word counselors in reference to God’s Law. Counselors are wise people who you trust to advise you in the way to go. What a wonderful description of God’s Law – wise words to show me the way I should walk, how I should be, what I should do.

There has been such encouragement for me in studying the descriptive words used as synonyms for God’s Law in Psalm 119. I hope you have found even a bit of the encouragement from it I have.

Blessings,
At Home.

God’s Law – statute

God's Law statutes

A statute – makes me think of very thick, very difficult to understand legal books. Written in “legalese.” Those are full of statues, right? Legal definitions and laws are often referred to in terms of statutes. And that is right.

Statute: a written law passed by a legislative body; a rule of an organization or institution; (in biblical use) a law or decree made by a sovereign, or by God. (from Google dictionary search)

This last definition is labeled as archaic, old. But it is really the most up-to-date, relevant set of laws and decrees we need to know about.

God’s word was written down as law by those he chose. They wrote down the words He gave them. They did not choose what they wanted to write. So, when we look at the Bible, we should be seeing a law book.

There is definitely more than “law” in the Bible but we need to not be so quick to dismiss that which we should be living by. Laws are what we are given to help us be successful within a specific society. If you go to Canada, you abide by Canadian law. If you go to Iceland, you abide by their laws, their statues. So, why do we not so readily abide by the statutes, the laws written down by God, if we want to be a part of His kingdom?

I propose that it is that we have strayed and been led astray by some false teachings, which sound so nice that we readily agree to treat them as God’s law, His statutes. It is easy to do, isn’t it?

I am easily led by the Evil One to become relaxed in my approach to my life, to live according to what I want, what sounds good to me, what sounds nice or easy or pleasant. As a child of God, I am not to listen to that false teacher who is trying to lead me away from God.

Psalm 119 has many places where God has used the word statute (in the NIV). Looking at the theme among these verses I see a repetition. This repetition is a thing in God’s word, isn’t it? Could it be that I need this repetition because I am hard-headed? Don’t answer that, please. I already know that I am.

  • being blessed because I keep his statutes
  • rejoicing in the statutes and seeing them as great riches
  • being set aside from those who do NOT keep the statutes
  • statutes are a delight
  • holding fast to the statutes
  • being turned toward the statutes and away from selfish gain
  • speaking boldly about the statutes
  • being careful to turn steps toward the statutes
  • being brought together with those who understand God’s statutes
  • obeying the statutes and being preserved
  • pondering statutes, even when the wicked are waiting to destroy
  • meditating on the statutes
  • statutes are a heritage, a joy forever
  • being taught to understand the statutes
  • statutes are trustworthy and righteous
  • God’s statutes are going to last forever; they have been established that way

So much in Psalm 119 is there to encourage, to remind. God has not just thrown something together here – this has been created, established, planned.

God’s law – His statutes – are here for me, not for his control. They are here to preserve my life. To give me joy. To strengthen me in time when others are hurting me. To give me a reason to be still. To give me something worthy to think about, to ponder, to consider. To give me food for thought.

And in having these statutes, I have law, legal standards and rules to follow. You see, as a human, I need rules to follow. If I don’t have these rules, I will follow my heart and my heart is fickle. It goes wherever “feels” good right now. I need to have my head in control, knowing what God has given me.

So, I meditate on God’s law. And in doing so, I see God’s love. I see God’s plan. I see the strength that God has built into His creation, of which I am a part. I am built to follow statutes and so I do, God’s. God’s statutes give me guidance, strength, peace, and joy. A path to follow and a place to go. Heaven. I don’t want to follow any other path.

There is one, maybe two, weeks left in this study of God’s law. As we wind down, I am curious where God will lead me next. This study of Psalm 119 has been a very good one for me. It has certainly challenged my writing and the way in which I share my thoughts. Perhaps my writing has grown from it. Regardless, I have grown from it. And that is the purpose of studying God’s Law – to grow.

See you next Friday, Lord willing.

Blessings,
At Home.

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 119, 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.

God’s Law ~ precept

God's Law - precept

I found myself somewhat stunned when I looked up the definition for the word PRECEPT.

a general rule intended to regulate behavior or thought (from a Google search for the word)

What it showed next, though, is where the big stunner came. It showed the origin and history of the word. It comes from Latin, the oldest word trace meant before and then the next part meant warn or instruct.

Put that all together, take the whole context, and a precept is a warning instruction given before we need it in order to help us make good choices in regards to our thoughts and behaviors.

When we see the word PRECEPT, then, in Psalm 119, we should know that these imply something that was intended to help. And the Psalmist really seems to get that. He knew what the precepts were worth and he took them to heart. We read over and over the Psalmist saying “I obey” or “I meditate on.” These are ongoing actions. They are not a one-and-done action. The example given us by the Psalmist is to continually obey and continually meditate on these rules God gave us in instruction before we needed them.

If we meditate on these precepts, theses laws, God is instructing us and giving us all we need to not make poor choices. To take action according to what is right and good and on His path.

I took notes on the verses that all use the word PRECEPT and I found a continual theme of knowing that these are good things that will help the writer moving forward and that any who do not follow these warning will encounter something less than cheerful. We see words such as

  • obeyed (v 4, 56 100, 134, 168)
  • meditate/consider (v 15, 78, 128)
  • understand (v 27, 104)
  • long for (v 40)
  • sought out (v 45, 94)
  • follow (v 63)
  • keep (v 69)
  • never forget (v 93, 141)
  • love (v 159)
  • chosen (v 173)

When you think of God’s law do you think along these lines? Are these your emotions regarding what God has given us? They should be. I do often feel like these. I desire to spend time in God’s word, trying to learn more, making sure I am doing what God wants me to. Plenty often, though, I don’t feel these ways. I am half-hearted in my attitude and my seeking to understand

So, what do I do on those days? I remind myself what I should be about by picking up the word of God and reading about His laws. When I read something like Psalm 119, I suddenly realize that my luke-warmness is damaging and I have to change. God warns me of that in Revelation, among a number of other places. I need to find some additional heat and I can only do that by intentionality and time in His word. So, off I go to read Psalm 119 yet again. I seem to find more each time I pick it up that makes me smile and feel a warm gratitude to the God who loves me so much that he gave me his PRECEPTS, his warnings about my behavior and thought.

I need to do more to heed these PRECEPTS. Surprises such as I found in looking at this word encourage me to seek out more in God’s laws. Until next week,

Blessings,
At Home.

 

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 ~ word

God's Law word

Last week, I read all of Psalm 119 in the New King James Version. I chose this version because it is one that we use often with the girls for Bible Bowl materials. I like the formality of the language while it is still very readable and easy for me to understand. What version did you read in?

This week, I chose to tackle “word” when it is used in reference to God’s law. It is kind of a hard one to take on. Why? Because “word” is so broad.

Definition: a unit of language, consisting of one or more spoken sounds or their written  representation, that functions as a principal carrier of meaning. (This is the first listed definition; there are several more that go on to address the meaning of word when it is used in an idiom or phrase)

Synonyms: statement, declaration, pledge, message, report, account, catchword,  shibboleth.

Let’s take a short look at that first definition – a unit of language. That could be anything, right? Word is how we share our language. Whether we are talking English, Greek, or Hawaiian, the way we share our thoughts, ideas, and more is through words. Big or small, it is how we share and communicate.

God does the same. God gives us the words we find in the Bible, his plans, ideas, and commands. God uses those units of language, no matter the translation, to communicate important statements with us. As we discussed previously with laws and commands, the words God gives are important and direct us. Or at least they should.

So when we get to “word” being used, it is not just a unit of language, the same as you or I would use. God has authority; he established that. His authority makes any “word” he gives hold sway and importance. Therefore, when we read in Psalm 119 that living according to God’s word will help a young man keep his way pure (verse 9), that should show us that “word” does not mean JUST a unit of language but rather a statement of commands, laws, that should be followed in order to please God and meet His expectations.

The following verses, in the NIV, all use “word” or “words” when referencing God’s law. When you read through each of the verses thinking about God placing these commands before you, does it direct your thoughts and ideas more to Him?

Verses:
9, 11, 16, 17, 25, 28, 37, 42, 49, 57, 65, 67, 74, 81, 89, 101, 103, 105, 107, 114, 130, 133, 139, 147, 158, 160, 161, 169

When I read through these, one after another, I hear a great theme coming through:

God, I trust you and what you have told me. I know that you are there for me, you guide me, and you protect me.

When we live in faith, knowing that the word God gives us is our everything, we have great hope and can face all those who turn against God’s word. So, the word of God has power in our lives. Not just the kind of power that fixes things but the power that upholds, encourages, and moves us forward in his footsteps.

Seek God’s word. I encourage you to read through the listing of the verses that use “word” for God’s law. When you do, write down what you notice. What theme do you see coming through? Would you share that with me? I get such great encouragement out of discussions about God’s word, his law. I would enjoy hearing from you in the comments.

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.

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