Tuesday, June 11, 2013

That's What the Promise is For (Psalm 119:41-48)

May your unfailing love come to me, O Lord,
your salvation according to your promise;
then I will answer the one who taunts me,
for I trust in your word.
Do not snatch the word of truth from my mouth,
for I have put my hope in your laws.
I will always obey your law,
for ever and ever.
I will walk about in freedom,
for I have sought out your precepts.
I will speak of your statutes before kings
and will not be put to shame,
for I delight in your commands
because I love them.
I lift up my hands to your commands, which I love,
and I meditate on your decrees.
Psalm 119:41-48

There is a rootedness about this stanza that I love. God's love is unfailing, salvation can be counted upon
because it is according to God's promise. We have answers for taunts simply because we are rooted in God's word (makes me think of the parable of the seeds). I have put my hope in God's laws (here, I think we can read into "laws" all of God's word to us, including his promises made and his promises kept in Christ). When we are rooted in God's love, we can say things like, "I will always obey your law, for ever and ever," because we have been freed from our sin and are drawn into joyful obedience through faith and love. How could we do anything else?

My mind has a mental picture in this stanza, from the roots to the air -- "I lift up my hands to your commands, which I love."

Our church's new youth pastor has claimed Isaiah 61:1-3 as the theme passage for his ministry (remember, this is the passage Christ read when he began his earthly ministry):

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
    he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
    and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor,
    and the day of vengeance of our God;
    to comfort all who mourn;
 to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
    to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
    the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
    the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.

Byron's stated goal for his ministry is that our young people become "oaks of righteousness." And as I picture the roots put down based on God's promises in his Word and the soaring love and praise of strong branches reaching into the sky, I was reminded of these oaks of righteousness.

Speaking of God's promises, I was also recently reminded of this song, which I think I first heard back in early 2010. "I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free." "I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts." "Let's go dancing in the minefields... that's what the Promise is for."

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