Preservation and Power

153″Look upon my suffering and deliver me, for I have not forgotten Your law. 154 Defend my cause and redeem me; preserve my life according to Your promise. 155 Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek out Your decrees. 156 Your compassion is great, O LORD; preserve my life according to Your laws. 157 Many are the foes who persecute me, but I have not turned from Your statutes. 158 I look on the faithless with loathing, for they do not obey Your Word. 159 See how I love Your precepts; preserve my life, O LORD, according to Your love. 160 All Your words are true; all Your righteous laws are eternal.” -Psalm 119:153-160 Resh

The psalmist prays for the Lord to preserve him three times in this prayer. He asks God to preserve his life according to His promise, laws, and love. This octave is similar to the previous Qoph (vv.145-152). There are parallels in the writer’s petition, reflection of the wicked, and praise of God’s eternal words. Verse 160 emphasizes what is said earlier in verses 151-152, proclaiming God’s words as true and eternal. In both octaves the psalmist is in distress, petitioning for the Lord’s deliverance (vv.145-149/153-154). He is surrounded by the wicked, who are God’s enemies, in verse 150 and vv. 157-158. Whether these prayers were written over the same affliction or separate matters, I do not know. But the psalmist once again places his cause and trust in God’s hands. He is asking for the Lord to be his defense, Jehovah Maginnenu. 

The psalmist’s prayer and example are ours to imitate. His faith brings him to trust in God’s promises, His law, which demonstrates God’s perfect justice, and His covenantal love, which knows no end. The same God the writer cries out to is the same Lord whose strong arm rules with complete power today. If we ever need to be reminded of God’s transcendence and sovereignty, especially in a world where wickedness and confusion rule the day, look no further than the Bible. Like in the days of Noah, right up until the flood, evil seemed to be winning. There were 400 years of silence from God’s prophets before the Light of the World broke through. Then everything changed. Jesus came in the silence of night, unassuming, as a baby. The King is coming again but this time, all the world will know it. He will come as a warrior on a white horse. In the end, the psalmist’s prayer is fully answered in the future deliverance of God’s people at the end of Time. This too, is our great hope, as we look back on God’s past faithfulness, His present help and future graces.

Grace upon grace,


Growing deeper: Isaiah 40; Matthew 24:36-44; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18; Revelation 19:6-16


A Pilgrim’s Progress

“Yet You are near, O LORD, and all Your commands are true.” -Psalm 119:151

It is for the psalmist’s benefit to remember these two important truths. God is always near to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:17-18; 145:18) and all His ways are right (Deuteronomy 32:3-4; Psalm 18:30). God’s character and promises are eternally true, since He is unchanging and does not lie. These are essential weapons for the Christian solider. God did not create mankind to then separate Himself from us. The Lord made you and I for fellowship with Him, to worship Him. If God did not want anything to do with us, then He never would have sacrificed His Son for helpless sinners. Fear not. The Lord is with you. He is with every one of His precious saints through the Holy Spirit.

Knowing with confidence God’s Word as revealed Truth is a source of comfort and encouragement. When chaos ensues, and the enemy chases you, hold on to the Gospel. We read it, meditate on it, carrying God’s promises in our hearts, asking for His wisdom and help to obey each day. God has not left believers to themselves. Christians enjoy the gift of prayer, seeking an audience with our Creator at any time. He has given us His very words in the written Scriptures. Day after day creation proclaims God’s faithfulness and beauty. The Lord directs His love in the blessing of Christian fellowship as we image Christ to one another through our obedience. May He give us clear eyes of faith to see with an eternal perspective today. We have the loving embrace of our Heavenly Father and His Truth to guide us on our pilgrim way.

Grace upon grace,


Growing deeper: Deuteronomy 4:7; Psalm 19; John 14:15-21; 17:17


The True and Better

“Hear my voice in accordance with Your love; preserve my life, O LORD, according to Your laws.” -Psalm 119:149

Hear and preserve, according to Your law and love. The wonderful blessing of being God’s child is His willingness and delight to hear our prayers. Whether it be an incense of adoration, thanksgiving, repentance or petition, we have access to the throne of Grace at all times. Why would God acknowledge creatures of the dust? Because He loves us. Just as His wrath is great toward unrepentant sinners, so great is His love for those who come to Him in simple faith. The Lord is perfect in justice and in love. This is also why God preserves His people with everlasting life. In the Lord’s rich mercy He has not left us to ourselves, to endure eternal separation from Him. His law was perfectly fulfilled in the only One who could keep it, His Son. Jesus Christ exchanged His robe of righteousness for our sinful rags. I wear His righteousness now, as do all who know Christ as their Savior. Therefore, God will preserve our lives forever. The depth and beautiful mystery of law and love have met at the Mercy Seat, permanently and sufficiently satisfying the holy payment of sin. 

Grace upon grace,


Growing deeper: Leviticus 16:1-19; Hebrews 7:23-28


Judgement and Grace

“It is time for You to act, O LORD; Your law is being broken.” -Psalm 119:126

This verse shifts to a petition of action. It is not a demand, for who can order the Lord what to do? Rather, out of zeal for God’s Kingdom and honor, the psalmist cries out for the Lord to move swiftly. God will not allow wickedness to go unpunished- He will not be mocked. Yet God does not operate on our timetable. He is not bound by Time, for He created it. He is slow to anger, longsuffering, not wishing any to perish in Hell for everlasting wrath. I once heard a pastor say that Hell was made for Satan and the demons. It was never God’s intention to have image-bearers dwell in torment. We were made for Eden. Yet it doesn’t prevent image-bearers to rebel against God either. Rebellion and an unrepentant heart will suffer the consequences with eternal judgement. 

Even the Lord Jesus took action when His Father’s house was turned into a marketplace instead of a house of worship (Matthew 21:12-13). We too can follow Jesus’ example of standing for holiness by upholding God’s laws. As redeemed sinners, we hold two truths together. The law reflects as a mirror of our true selves, mercifully, leading to repentance. Grace is now the freedom of every Christian. Just as we have been lavished in His grace, so we extend grace toward others. As the Christian matures in faith we see both extremes of legalism and grace abused as deceptive. We must stand for God’s standard as the psalmist does, crying out for justice. And yet the psalmist can boldly pray this request knowing he is securely kept by God, resting in the shadow of the Almighty. His sins are forgiven, his debt paid in full with the future blood of his Savior, Jesus Christ. Even if the psalmist’s (or our) feelings wax and wane, the facts remain. God does not give up what He has already bought with the sacrifice of His One and Only Son. Be of good courage and take heart, God will act for His people because He has already overcome the world, starting with Death.

Grace upon grace,


Growing deeper: Psalm 2; Psalm 91; Romans 5:20-6:23; 16:17-20


Treasuring wisdom

“I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on Your statutes.” -Psalm 119:99

This verse nicely follows the previous one on wisdom. The psalmist here speaks of his insight now compared to his teachers. His teachers were first his parents, then the religious leaders. He has learned more than the dutiful Jewish student, diving deeper into God’s storehouse of treasure. Only those with  seeking hearts find what they seek. God gives them eyes of faith to mine the precious jewels found in Scripture. This kind of insight is worth more than all the riches in the world. Earthly wealth will lose its luster one day and eventually burn up in God’s Kingdom. Wisdom from God is eternal for all His students. 

Grace upon grace,


Growing deeper: Matthew 6:19-21; Proverbs 3:13-26

Blessings of wisdom

“Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me.” -Psalm 119:98

To be wise. Even better is to be wiser than our enemies. This doesn’t imply higher academic marks or a more comprehensive head knowledge of the Bible. Atheists will read God’s Book for merely intellectual purposes, remaining untouched by the deeper truths the Lord has layered in Scripture. The way in which a believer is wiser than an unbeliever is through understanding the spiritual realities that exist. This only comes by faith.

Our purpose is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. We see the purpose of our lives through the living and active Word of God. It is not a dead history book. Believers not only take in what we read and hear from the Bible, but digest the truth in meditation, then act accordingly through obedience. Do you believe all of Scripture to be true and trustworthy? Our answer will determine how we approach studying God’s commands, how we live, and how we relate to God Himself. God’s words are spiritual food, nourishment for souls on earth. May God be gracious to bless you with wisdom in thought, speech and action. May our sin nature (our enemy) not rule over us. Let us seek and pray for wisdom like the psalmist.

Grace upon grace,


Growing deeper: Ephesians 6:10-18; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Sweet words

“Oh, how I love Your law! I meditate on it all day long.

Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me. 

I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on Your statutes. 

I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey Your precepts.

I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey Your Word.

I have not departed from Your laws, for You Yourself have taught me.

How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

I gain understanding from Your precepts therefore I hate every wrong path.” -Psalm 119:97-104 (Mem)

This octave begins with love and ends with hate. Like the psalmist, we love what God loves and hate what He hates. God calls us to love Himself, His Word and others. We hate sin, specifically starting with our own. We rightly understand that sin ushered in a Curse, which hangs heavy over humanity. The effects of sin are seen and felt everyday in this broken world, which is why the psalmist declares his passion for God’s Word and zeal to obey. He also knows a Perfect Kingdom will be ushered in one day. Promises fulfilled and yet to be bring comfort and purpose in this life. As the psalmist looked forward to the coming Messiah, we have the distinct privilege of seeing this promised fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The Christian’s faith and hope lies in the “already and not yet” side of history as we wait on the Lord. 

As we live in the interim, before God consummates full redemption, believers can enjoy the sweetness of His Word. The psalmist loves the life giving fruit God’s Word bears. He takes the Lord’s commands seriously, not wanting to grieve his Holy Father. As a result of his emotions toward God, the psalmist pens a beautiful octave of unrestrained adoration with devout seriousness in approaching His Word. Meditation, obedience, love- in this order the Christian life flows, over and over. It is in this faithful cycle, by God’s grace, we receive sweet words of spiritual nourishment.

Grace upon grace,


The beauty of Scripture

“To all perfection I see a limit; but Your commands are boundless.” -Psalm 119:96

The earth and all that is in it will wear out. As beautiful as creation is, it groans under the Curse (Romans 8:19-23). The old Earth is wrung out like a tired dish rag, ready to be replaced with the new Earth and Heaven. It has a timetable and limits God has set in place. Yet God’s Word not only endures, it transcends Time through the Living Word, Jesus Christ. He is perfect and sufficient.

 We can fancy ourselves very civilized and sophisticated in the 21st century, but sinful ways have not changed since the Fall. There is nothing in human nature God does not address explicitly or implicitly. His Word is relevant, powerful, living and active, able to bring what once was dead to life. God is in the business of transforming hearts of stone to hearts that look like His Son’s. He does this miraculous work through the power of His Spirit and His Word. The life giving treasure we have been given in the written Word is only dear to those who love its Author. Father, move mightily in Your people, kindling an inward desire for us to move toward You as You open our eyes to see the beauty of Scripture and not wander away from Your Good Book.

Grace upon grace,


Growing deeper: Isaiah 40:6-8; John 1:1-5; 14; 2 Corinthians 3:12-18; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Revelation 21:1-5

When enemies assail us

“The wicked are waiting to destroy me, but I will ponder Your statutes.” -Psalm 119:95

The psalmist knows the plans of the wicked against him. It is helpful to remember when we too are oppressed by evildoers, it is more that they have a hatred of God than we did anything worthy of their venom. Loving the Lord our God in faithful obedience is our “crime”. Therefore persecution should not take us by surprise because if they crucified Jesus, unbelievers will afflict His people as well (John 15:18-25). Yet we look to Jesus the Author and Perfecter of our faith, clinging to God when enemies assail us. 

 Persecution is to be expected, not viewed as something strange for the Christian. When we suffer for Christ’s sake we can trust God is at work! All Christians should expect the way of the cross in this life- to be a daily living sacrifice pleases our Father. Instead of asking “why is this happening?” we must ask “what would You have me do today?” and walk in obedience. No matter how small or insignificant your obedience may seem, the loving Lord sees all. Continue to do good and place your faith in the One who loves you best. Jesus sacrificed Himself for sinners to have eternal peace with God. Set your gaze in His Word, asking the Lord to help your unbelief, doubts, or fears when you are weary and downcast. His statutes will provide comfort and wisdom to those who seek Him. 

Grace upon grace,


Growing deeper: 1 Peter 4; Romans 12:1-2

The truth we rest in

“Save me, for I am Yours; I have sought out Your precepts.” -Psalm 119:94

This cry for deliverance comes from one assured of his standing before God. The psalmist belongs to God. Knowing that the Lord will not forsake His own, the psalmist uses his adopted status as part of his plea for help. All believers have this privilege. We can confidently come to the Throne of Grace in our time of need, assured the Lord has heard us. This is our soul calm, the truth we rest in even when external circumstances swirl in chaotic warfare. God is with us, our refuge and strength, an ever present help in times of trouble. He is never late to a rescue mission, as His divine timetable and ways are always perfect. 

We wait with confident hope for God to fulfill all His promises, trusting in His goodness. If God’s children are considered the apple of His eye, then rest assured He has not forgotten you. In the “already and not yet” timeframe, let us persevere in keeping God’s holy precepts. His work on Earth is still not done. Our Father calls us to faithfully serve alongside Him to the very end.

Grace upon grace,


Growing deeper: Psalm 17; Psalm 46; Hebrews 4:14-16