Do not forget…do not neglect…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Psalm 119  Taw vs. 169-173

 Let my cry come before you, O LORD;

 give me understanding according to your word!

  Let my plea come before you;

deliver me according to your word.

 My lips will pour forth praise,

 for you teach me your statutes.

 My tongue will sing of your word,

 for all your commandments are right.

Let your hand be ready to help me,

 for I have chosen your precepts.

  I long for your salvation, O LORD,

 and your law is my delight.

  Let my soul live and praise you,

and let your rules help me.

 I have gone astray like a lost sheep;

seek your servant,

for I do not forget your commandments.

The plea for understanding is a continual thread throughout Psalm 119.  With the request is acknowledgment that true understanding is given by God.  His word is given to give us life, salvation, peace, comfort and righteousness.  Jesus, the spoken Word fulfilled, answers the psalmist’s frequent cry for salvation.  We are so blessed!  We have the spoken Word, now written; we have the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ; we have the constant presence of the Holy Spirit, our comforter.  And yet we forget and wallow in our self-pity parties, decrying our situations in life, losing the joy of the Lord.  The psalmist so sought after what we have at our disposal, to take or to leave it.  The psalmist knew the power in the combination of the Trinity.  We do well to appreciate what we have and give God praise for it.  We do well to take our collective eyes off our situation and do as the psalmist led; look to the Word and presence of God Almighty.  Let us be diligent students of the  gift of God’s word; let us pray with the psalmist for understanding as we meditate upon God’s principles.  Let us give thanks for this gift of life and love so freely given by our Creator.

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His law is sweet…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Psalm 19

The heavens declare the glory of God;

​​And the firmament shows His handiwork.

 ​​Day unto day utters speech,

​​And night unto night reveals knowledge.

There is no speech nor language

​​Where their voice is not heard.

​​Their line has gone out through all the earth,

​​And their words to the end of the world.

​​In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun,

Which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,

​​And rejoices like a strong man to run its race.

Its rising is from one end of heaven,

​​And its circuit to the other end;

​​And there is nothing hidden from its heat.

 ​​The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul;

​​The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;

The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;

​​The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;

 ​​The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;

​​The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.

 ​​More to be desired are they than gold,

​​Yea, than much fine gold;

​​Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

 ​​Moreover by them Your servant is warned,

​​And in keeping them there is great reward.

Who can understand his errors?

​​Cleanse me from secret faults.

 ​​Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins;

​​Let them not have dominion over me.

​​Then I shall be blameless,

​​And I shall be innocent of great transgression.

 ​​Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart

​​Be acceptable in Your sight,

​​O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.

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His ways are described as:

Making us wise

Reviving our souls

Giving us joy

Giving us light

They are everlasting, righteous, sure, precious and sweet.  Whether we keep them or not they remain and are true.  We are blessed when we recognize that truth and walk in them.

Those who obey them(God’s laws) will live by them.

Ezekiel 20:8-20

But they rebelled against Me and would not obey Me. They did not all cast away the abominations which were before their eyes, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt. Then I said, ‘I will pour out My fury on them and fulfill My anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt.’ 9 But I acted for My name’s sake, that it should not be profaned before the Gentiles among whom they were, in whose sight I had made Myself known to them, to bring them out of the land of Egypt.

10 “Therefore I made them go out of the land of Egypt and brought them into the wilderness. 11 And I gave them My statutes and showed them My judgments, ‘which, if a man does, he shall live by them.’ [fn2] 12 Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the LORD who sanctifies them. 13 Yet the house of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness; they did not walk in My statutes; they despised My judgments, ‘which, if a man does, he shall live by them’; [fn3] and they greatly defiled My Sabbaths. Then I said I would pour out My fury on them in the wilderness, to consume them. 14 But I acted for My name’s sake, that it should not be profaned before the Gentiles, in whose sight I had brought them out. 15 So I also raised My hand in an oath to them in the wilderness, that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them, ‘flowing with milk and honey,’ [fn4] the glory of all lands, 16 because they despised My judgments and did not walk in My statutes, but profaned My Sabbaths; for their heart went after their idols. 17 Nevertheless My eye spared them from destruction. I did not make an end of them in the wilderness.

18 “But I said to their children in the wilderness, ‘Do not walk in the statutes of your fathers, nor observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols. 19 I am the LORD your God: Walk in My statutes, keep My judgments, and do them; 20 hallow My Sabbaths, and they will be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the LORD your God.’

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The man who obeys them(my statutes and my judgments)  will live by them.  So they will know that I the Lord made them holy.

” I gave them My statutes and showed them My judgments, ‘which, if a man does, he shall live by them.’ …”

“… they might know that I am the LORD who sanctifies them….”

Three times the Lord mentions also, the keeping or not keeping of the Sabbaths as holy.  Three times He talks of following His commands, being obedient.  He goes on to remind them of what he has done for them, and in contrast what they have done in disobedience, going after their own ways.  He stays the final, complete judgment upon them showing mercy for his name’s sake.  But there is punishment, there are consequences.  A reminder that what we sow we reap.

Is this message relevant for today? Do we see a disrespect of God, a desecration of his Sabbaths, a turning away from following his commands to follow the laws of humanity?  Do we see a rising of a love of the creation rather than the creator?  Those idols were representations of the creation, they were expecting the creation to guide, lead, and provide for them, rather than looking to the Creator.  Does this make sense?  Would we look to an object such as a motor vehicle, made by man, to find a solution to a malfunction or would we ask the one who made it?  Do we go to the manual that comes with it or ask the vehicle itself?  How silly is that?  We have the Creator to go to, we have the manual to consult, the Scriptures, why would we look to ourselves?  Why would we trust the sayings of humanity?  And yet that is what we tend to do, believers and unbelievers alike.  We possess within us as believers, the Holy Spirit who grants remembrance and understanding.  We possess the availability to turn to our God, in trust and faith in Him for the guidance we need.  We can say He is our God.  Echo what He says:

“…I am the LORD your God.’…”

Submission demonstrates freedom…

Acts 21:17-26

And when we had come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present.  When he had greeted them, he told in detail those things which God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry.  And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord. And they said to him, “You see, brother, how many myriads of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law;  but they have been informed about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs. What then? The assembly must certainly meet, for they will hear that you have come. Therefore do what we tell you: We have four men who have taken a vow. Take them and be purified with them, and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads, and that all may know that those things of which they were informed concerning you are nothing, but that you yourself also walk orderly and keep the law. But concerning the Gentiles who believe, we have written and decided that they should observe no such thing, except  that they should keep themselves from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality.”   Then Paul took the men, and the next day, having been purified with them, entered the temple to announce the expiration of the days of purification, at which time an offering should be made for each one of them.

 Showing submission to the leadership of the day and time, Paul complies with the request.  The question remains; if Paul was teaching one direction why did he act out its opposite?  If Paul taught we are free to worship in spirit and truth as Jesus said, we are free of the bondage of the law, then why did he comply with the laws?  Jesus said: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and strength and your neighbor as yourself.  All the other elements of the law stem from these two.” (My paraphrase)  We comply out of love for God and one another even if we are free from its bonds.  Paul could either refuse or comply, he chose to comply.  He chose to love and encourage, he chose to defer to the wishes of the others and in doing so demonstrated his total freedom, to do or not to do.

The law has not lost its force…

Luke 16:16-18

 “Until John the Baptist, the law of Moses and the messages of the prophets were your guides. But now the Good News of the Kingdom of God is preached, and everyone is eager to get in.  But that doesn’t mean that the law has lost its force. It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the smallest point of God’s law to be overturned.

 “For example, a man who divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery. And anyone who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.”

 “… that doesn’t mean that the law has lost its force. It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the smallest point of God’s law to be overturned….” 

“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. ” We recognize His authority and the authority of the law that was given by Him.  We also recognize the forgiveness from sin given through the sacrifice of His son.  How then shall we live?  His Son, Jesus, clearly lays it out for us.  The law was not done away with, it was fulfilled.  Are we following the commands of Christ? If not, we need the law for we are lawless in that place.  Forgiveness remains, done once and offered for all time.  The consequences of breaking the law, the need for a constant shedding of blood is covered in Christ’s death and resurrection.  But the law hasn’t lost its force.  Following the teachings of Christ places us in compliance with the law.   The question that arises for each of us to answer, truthfully, honestly between ourselves and God is this; are we following the teachings of Christ? 

 The answer to that question shows in our daily walk through life.  How then shall we live?  The answers are seen by all in our conversation, our actions which give proof to our thoughts.  How are we known?  Can others see Christ in us?  Are we His hands reaching, His voice teaching, His feet going, His body of believers doing?  Or do we look more like the Pharisee;”…You like to appear righteous in public, but God knows your hearts. What this world honors is detestable in the sight of God…?   …the Good News of the Kingdom of God is preached, and everyone is eager to get in…”  We are the Good News, do those who cross our paths hear and see it?

What is lawful?

Luke 6:1-11

On a Sabbath, while he was going through the grainfields, his disciples plucked and ate some heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands. But some of the Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath?” And Jesus answered them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those with him?” And he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”

 On another Sabbath, he entered the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was withered. And the scribes and the Pharisees watched him, to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath, so that they might find a reason to accuse him.  But he knew their thoughts, and he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come and stand here.” And he rose and stood there. And Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?” And after looking around at them all he said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” And he did so, and his hand was restored.  But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.

 There is a difference between harvesting and eating what is needed to remain healthy and strong.  There is a difference between eating enough of the consecrated bread to keep strength and moving into the temple to occupy it.  Jesus asked the question: is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?  It might be said the harvesting could lead to greed; it might also be said the taking of more than was needed in the place of worship would also be greed or disrespect.  Attitude then is what is being addressed.  The watchful eye of the Pharisee had become oppressive and manipulative. 

 Take away –  We exercise care in the making of rules and enforcing them.  Are the restrictions serving a purpose of protection or oppression?  Are the restrictions in line with the commands of God and His nature?  Do we have the right to judge another?  Are we doing good or harm in the keeping of laws, the making of laws, the judging of laws?  How does this relate to our daily lives, everyday living?  How does this affect our interactions with others?  Attitude says a lot; do we move in respect looking out for the good of others or are we moving in disrespect and oppression similar in nature to bullying?  Take care how we judge, take care how we try to manipulate others, take care to be living with an attitude of love and concern for others.