Exploring Psalm 119 from a scientist’s perspective: Chet
Peter Gray-Read BSc MSc
57 Thou art my portion, O Yahweh: I have said that I would keep thy w ords
David can declare on the basis of what is in his heart, on the basis of his experience and evidenced by the Torah, on the basis of his peoples national calling:
Thou art my portion O Yahweh:
My daughter asks the searching question: Is he your treasure?
We have to make it personal… Have you chosen him rather than fame and fortune, rather than Mohamed, rather than self-rule / independence? Is he enough?
As a consequence of this confession / affirmation he restates his promise:
I have said that I would keep thy words. It can’t be otherwise. Jehovah can’t be your portion if you ignore his word. It would make you a hypocrite. It is not just a poetic expression, a nice phrase… it is a heartfelt commitment that has consequences. It is like a marriage vow. I am choosing you… for better for worse, for richer, for poorer. But we know that choosing Yahweh is always for our best. Even if the way ahead is martyrdom it is still the best… we look to the eternal reward
We could ask the question: How big a portion?
Is the size of the portion is up to us… or is it up to Him? What does the Torah say? Thou shalt love Yehovah your Elohim with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength. God says He is a jealous God. We can’t just give Him a part of ourselves – it has to be all
58 I entreated thy favour with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word
I find this in some ways perplexing but then also illuminating. Perplexing because having expressed dedication and commitment I would have thought it’s a ‘done deal’. Not exactly sit back and enjoy the ride… but you have joined up – you’re wearing the uniform… However, David does not see it that way. Yes I’ve declared my intentions but I’m not assuming I have special status. I need to show that I’m serious. I will seek God’s favour with my whole heart. I don’t want anything else taking my focus off Him. He was constantly seeking to know God better, the closer we get to God the more we appreciate the need for His mercy over our short comings. The brighter the light the more our flaws and stains are exposed but his mercy is there for us, he still says ‘Come…’
59 I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies
We can’t receive revelation without responding. God will not keep showing us things if there is no change or if we fail to pass it on…
When we seek to obey there will always be fresh challenges needing fresh testimonies. You want a new testimony… then obey, turn your feet to the new way. Where your feet go you go!
60 I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments
Delayed obedience is disobedience… I know this only too well. We have to obey promptly – it has been a continual struggle for me to order my day so that I can rise early to seek the Lord. But then we still have to act and follow through. It’s the story of the two sons in Matthew 21:28 One refused to go… repented and went, the other said yes… but did not go. Which of the two did the will of the father?
I heard a clear call to mission in my early twenties was full of enthusiasm but delayed and did not follow through much to my regret. The Lord is merciful and He brought me back but please - spare yourself the pain and obey the call to the end…
61 The bands of the wicked have robbed me: but I have not forgotten thy law
How do we respond when the enemy strikes? Give up?
We are in a war… fight on… we cannot lose. In fact the battle is won. But the weapons of our warfare are not carnal. We can’t fight as the enemy does. We can’t use terrorist tactics against terrorists and cause innocent casualties … sadly it does happen. Western powers have been guilty of terrible military campaigns against other countries to a very dubious end. Modern Israel has ‘not forgotten thy law’. She tries to wage targeted strikes and takes great measures to avoid collateral damage but the final victory has to be spiritual, ideological, and motivational. Hearts and minds
The weapons of our warfare are …mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. So what do we put in their place? It is already there! These principalities and powers are opposing one thing – the knowledge of God
The Judaeo – Christian God: Elohim is love and in him is no darkness at all. The final victory has to be love. So let’s join together in praying… ‘Thy Kingdom come…’
62 At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments
The phrase ‘at midnight’ may be generic for times of great trial. It may also be actual midnight – it was for Paul and Silas. How often has their testimony encouraged us? It could have been a ‘pity party’ but no, they had such confidence in God and his sovereignty – all things work together for good for those who love the Lord… that they sang thanks and praises to Yahweh and it was Earth shaking! Now my singing may have that ring to it… but this was ‘Jailhouse Rock’ as my pastor called it. Sometimes we may have to wait to see Yahweh’s righteous judgements… he is merciful and slow to anger, but the last picture of him in Revelation is with feet of burnished bronze, that speaks of judgement – when he walks the earth again
63 I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts
It’s great to have fellowship and companionship as Ecclesiastes 4:9 says ‘Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.’ There is often an immediate oneness in spirit even if we have not met a particular believer before. Particularly if we see doctrine in the same way …of them that keep thy precepts. Today I am almost hesitant to call myself a ‘Christian’… it has such a varied meaning, such a range of beliefs… I prefer ‘disciple of Christ’, or follower of Jesus
64 The earth, O LORD, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes
When the ‘eyes of our heart are open’ we can see the fingerprints of God’s mercy everywhere. Without His ‘general grace’ we would not be here. He holds all things together. Science can progress because there is a divine order to creation. There are principles and laws to discover, and we are made in His image endowed with the capacity to understand. As believers ‘we have the mind of Christ’ 1 Corinthians 2:16. How amazing is that!
God’s statutes in the Torah allow for the nation to walk with God, and once a year the high priest actually entered His presence with the blood of a slain animal to cover his sin and that of the nation. How privileged are we to be able to enter freely through the new and living way. Let us enter in
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