“I have not departed from Your laws, for You Yourself have taught me.” -Psalm 119:102
The psalmist has kept his feet from evil, planting himself on the narrow way. He is not willing to leave the path even when the road is long, the terrain treacherous. He loves God and seeks to follow His ways no matter the cost. Through His laws, the Lord has taught the psalmist. This man values such blessing and will not easily discard his lessons.
This reminds me of the times in my own life I have been tempted to discard the lessons from my faith and walk away. When I am in the valley of despair, or allow Satan to run the show with my thoughts, I find myself here. What has encouraged me to persevere is Peter’s own response to Jesus in John 6. Jesus just finished preaching to the people on eating His flesh and drinking His blood. Talk about a way to thin the crowd! The day before Jesus performed the miracle of feeding five thousand men (plus women and children) with five loaves of bread and two fish. Instead of seeking Jesus for miracles, the Lord challenges the crowd to feed on Him instead (spiritual food), not just the material blessings He can provide them. The Bible says from that day on, many followers turned back and no longer followed Him.
Jesus then turns to His disciples and asks the all important question, “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Peter’s response is priceless. He answers, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:68-69).
When Satan tempts you to despair, to walk away from following Jesus and lose all hope, cling to the promises of God. What does the Bible have to say about who God is and what He has done for His people, sinners such as us? His past and present faithfulness will put wind in your sails for His future graces. His grace today is sufficient.
If you are a Christian your soul is preserved because those in Christ Jesus are no longer condemned. We are loved with an everlasting love, bought and redeemed by the blood of the Lamb! The afflictions and discouragements meant for evil can be used to refine and burn away the dross in our hearts, measured by our response. Through the flames we learn more of who God is, and experience His power at work in us. He is faithful to deliver you over and over through His mercy, which is new each day. I’m reminded of the old hymn which says, “The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose/ I will not, I will not desert to His foes;/ That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,/ I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!”
Knowing God through His Word, His Law and the Gospel is a sweet mercy- a taste of heaven. His Spirit teaches us through the living and active Word. This is our joy and hope as we cling to the Father on our pilgrim journey.
“Blessed is that man, though attacked on all sides, that has maintained his ground with firmness. He has exhausted the devil’s quiver of all its arrows and yet exhibits no symptoms of surrendering […] They that expect to enjoy what God promises will be sure to perform what God commands;” -Thomas Lye
Grace upon grace,
Growing deeper: Isaiah 40; 43:1-2; 46:3-4; Romans 7:21-8:11; James 1:2-18