In the second half of the first strophe of Psalm 119, the writer describes his longing for God’s Word, and ends with a commitment of obedience. Take a look at this passage for yourself in Psalm 119:5-8.
Most of the time, when you read something, you expect the author to build his case and then, at the end, present his conclusion. But Psalm does just the opposite. In this first strophe, we see the introduction to the entire passage in the first three verses, but we also see the crux of the entire thing in verse 8, where the writer, likely David (although Hezekiah, Ezra and Daniel are also possibilities), states his commitment to obedience to God’s commands.
Since the first three verses are the introduction, the rest of this stanza is directly connected to it. God has set the standard for obedience to his decrees, and the psalmist expresses his desire to comply. In order to do so, he realizes that there must be a strong will to obey. In verse 5, he wished his ways to be “steadfast” or “established,” which means to be prepared, to make firm, to be resolved to stand firm upon God’s commands.
Because of his integrity in this matter, the writer knows that no shame will result. And this is true: standing firm upon God’s Word, and holding tightly to his values will never result in shame, but praise and joy will be the result, just as we see in verse 7.
There is plenty of security in the cemetery; I long for opportunity.
I have long been a history buff. And one of the genres I enjoy within the category of history is the “what if” idea, such as, “What if this had happened instead of that?” That is kind of the take on history that Jeremiah Johnston uses in his book Unimaginable.
First of all, I expected something a bit different than what Johnston presents here. I’m not sure what I really expected, maybe something more imaginative, more fictional, but that’s not the purpose of this book. Instead, what Johnston has done is look at history and show what it would look like if Christianity did not exist. What I did not expect, perhaps blindly on my part, is that he would draw from history those things which already point to what it would look like in such a world.
That sounds a bit confusing, and I’m not sure how to articulate it very clearly. Maybe an example would help. Without Christianity in our world, there would be no value to the human life. And if life holds no value, then things such as slavery, abortion, euthanasia, communism, fascism, and more would run unhindered. But we have already seen in history how those kinds of things have affected the lives of millions. Slavery is an institution we have fought for ages, around the world in various forms. Abortions occur in epidemic proportions. Communism and fascism have cost the lives of countless millions of people. And the list could go on.
It’s kind of depressing. Johnston shows what a world without Christianity would look like, and we see that it is our world.
On this day in history: In 1624, riots occurred in Mexico when it was announced that all churches were to be closed. In 1892, Triangle magazine in Springfield, MA, published the rules for a brand new game. The original rules involved attaching a peach baskets to a suspended board. It is now known as basketball. And in 1967, the first National Football League Super Bowl was played. The Green Bay Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs of the American Football League. The final score was 35-10.
Today Is National Hat Day! It’s also Martin Luther King Jr. Day, so celebrate with a hat!
Why Do Canadians Say ‘Eh’? – I went to college with a couple of Canadians, and this was always a question I wanted to ask, but never felt like I could. Now I know. And so do you.
Use A Balloon to Improve Your Pop Up Flash – As a photographer who prefers landscape photography, this isn’t going to be something I use much. But for those who take candids or portraits, this could be a handy thing to keep in their bag of tricks.
Primitive Technology – This guy builds a small “bed shed” where he can sleep, using nothing but what he finds in the woods. I found it pretty interesting.
With a new year comes a new memorization goal. For this year, I want to memorize all of Psalm 119. This week, we will begin with an overview, and the first four verses. Take a look at them for yourself.
Psalm 119 is the longest of all the psalms, at 176 verses long. It is also the most complex of all the psalms, being written as an acrostic, with eight verses for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. There are twenty-two strophes to this psalm, corresponding to each letter, with eight verses in each, possibly as a connection to the eight different words used to convey God’s Word that are used within.
If you memorized the letters that break up the sections of this psalm, you would have the entire Hebrew alphabet memorized, and this could have been a literary device to help teach the written language in Old Testament times.
The key concept to Psalm 119 is God’s Word. There are eight different terms used to communicate this found in these verses. Let’s look at each briefly. Many of them overlap in English, and so it may be a bit confusing. But each term stands on its own in the original language.
When God wants to educate a man, He does not send him to the school of graces but to the school of necessities.
One of the most critical disciples that you can develop for your spiritual growth is the discipline of daily Bible reading. This isn’t the only habit that will facilitate spiritual growth, but it is one of the most foundational. And it’s not as difficult as most people imagine.
As a minister, I spent a lot of years reading the Bible as I was studying for lessons or messages, and assuming that was enough to fill me personally as well. It wasn’t. But I wasn’t mature enough to realize it at the time. And then, I joined in with a couple of other guys to read the Bible daily, and complete it within a year. A whole new level of spiritual growth opened up to me during that year.
I was blown away! I had no idea that I was missing out on some significant growth by not spending time daily with God’s Word, just for my own personal relationship with him. That year opened up my eyes to the realization that I needed to make sure this habit was a non-negotiable part of my life. And while it took some time to get it rooted that deeply, it was well worth every bit of the effort.
Those first years after that realization hit, I managed to read daily most of the time, but not really consistently. So I decided to develop a plan. The Bible Reading Plans that I offer to subscribers here is the culmination of that plan. I created a booklet that contains three different plans to successfully read the entire Bible in a year’s time. Why three? Because I wanted to share this with the teens in my youth ministry, and I knew that not all of them would want to read the Bible the same way I would, or that someone else would. So I incorporated three different plans.
One was simply straightforward, from Genesis to Revelation, throughout the year. The second was a mix, some Old Testament, some New, some of the Gospels, and some from Psalms. The third was more coordinated. It placed passages together that needed to be understood together, or at specific times of the year. For example, when you read of David’s sin with Bathsheba, you would also read Psalm 51 that week, because that is David’s repentance of that sin. Or you would read the Resurrection passages around Easter. And for several years, I renewed this booklet, dating it for that specific year.