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.

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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.

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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)

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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,

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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.

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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?

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.

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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.

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