PROMISE TO GOD a ALEPH
! Bible Reading: Psalm 119:1-8 Key Verse: Psalm 119:7-8- “7 I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments. 8 I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.”
Key Words: I will praise thee (verse 7), I will keep thy statutes (verse 8)
Most scholars agree that the human writer of Psalm 119 is unknown. But this
we do know, God is the Author of all His Word. Although, I will confess to you… I believe that David is the human writer of Psalm 119. Every verse in Psalm 119 mentions God and the Word of God. The psalm contains seventy prayer requests. The psalmist refers to himself 325 times and mentions his sufferings 66 times. The psalm is broken down into eight-verse stanzas. Each of the twenty-two stanzas is identified with the Hebrew alphabet. Always The first eight verses of Psalm 119 show us what will praise happen if we make God’s Word the center of our lives. " We will be undefiled (verse 1), and God. " We will do no iniquity (verse 3). The psalmist closes the psalm with a two-fold promise. First of all, he promises to praise God; and secondly, he promises to keep the statutes of God. Booker T. Washington describes meeting an ex-slave from Virginia in his book Up From Slavery: “I found that this man had made a contract with his master, two or three years previous to the Emancipation Proclamation, to the effect that the slave was to be permitted to buy himself, by paying so much per year for his body, and while he was paying for himself, he was to be permitted to labor where and for whom he pleased. “Finding that he could secure better wages in Ohio, he went there. When freedom came, he was still in debt to his master some three hundred dollars. Notwithstanding that the Emancipation Proclamation freed him from any obligation to his master, this black man walked the greater portion of the distance back to where his old master lived in Virginia, and placed the last dollar, with interest, in his hands. “In talking to me about this, the man told me that he knew that he did not have to pay his debt, but that he had given his word to his master, and his word he had
never broken. He felt that he could not enjoy his freedom till he had fulfilled his promise.” Are you keeping your promise to God?
What to do: ! Keep your promise to God.
WHERE TO HIDE GOD’S WORD b BETH
! Bible Reading: Psalm 119:9-16 Key Verse: Psalm 119:11- “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”
Key Words: Thy word have I hid in my heart
The more we know the Word of God, the more we love God. The more we
love God, the more we will love the Word of God. As someone has said, “It’s like a spiral stairway to Glory.” We do need to enthrone God’s Word in our hearts. Remember Joseph. When Potiphar’s wife made improper advances toward him, he said in Genesis 39:9b, “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” The old excuses of: “Everybody else is doing it;” “We love one another;” “I don’t see anything wrong with it” - did not cut ice with Joseph. Why? Because Joseph loved God; and as a result, he loved the Word of God. We need God’s A man in Kansas City was severely injured Word to be in in an explosion. Evangelist Robert I. Sumner tells about him in his book, The Wonders of the Word our heart! of God. The victim’s face was badly disfigured, and he lost his eyesight as well as both hands. He was just a new Christian, and one of his greatest disappointments was that he could no longer read the Bible. Then he heard about a lady in England who read Braille with her lips. Hoping to do the same, he sent for some books of the Bible in Braille. Much to his dismay, however, he discovered that the nerve endings in his lips had been destroyed by the explosion. One day, as he brought one of the Braille pages to his lips, his tongue happened to touch a few of the raised characters and
he could feel them. Like a flash he thought, I can read the Bible using my tongue. At the time Robert Sumner wrote his book, the man had “read” through the entire Bible four times. How many times have you read the Bible through, and how many verses have you hid in your heart this year alone? About time to start, don’t you think?
What to do: ! Do not make excuses; just hide God’s Word in your heart.
MEDITATION g GIMEL
! Bible Reading: Psalm 119:17-24 Key Verse: Psalm 119:23- “Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes.”
Key Words: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes.
The word meditate means “to concentrate on one thing.” We are told in Joshua 1:8 that we are to meditate day and night in God’s
Word. Think constantly on the Word of God. In our text verse, the psalmist says that no matter what others are saying about me, my focus is on the Word of God. What a great attitude! An attitude we each need; and when our meditation is on God’s Word, it is certainly “worthwhile meditation.” I read the following article in regard to meditation: “‘This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written To meditate is to therein: for then thou shalt make thy way concentrate… prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.’ Joshua 1:8. New Agers have stolen and perverted the concept of meditation so that many contemporary Christians seem uneasy with the term. Joshua noted the need for it centuries ago. Liu Chi Kung placed second to Van Cliburn in the 1958 Tchaikovsky Competition. A year later, he was imprisoned during the Cultural Revolution in China. For seven years, he was denied the use of a piano. Soon after his release from prison he was
back on tour, and the critics were astonished that “his musicianship was better than ever.” The obvious question was, ‘How?’ One critic said, ‘You had no chance to practice for seven years.’ Liu replied, ‘I did practice, every day. I rehearsed every piece I had ever played, note by note, in my mind.’ Meditating on God’s Word allows us to live above our circumstances.”
What to do: ! Dedicate yourself to meditate on God’s Word today and everyday.
THE CLEAVING SOUL d DALETH
! Bible Reading: Psalm 119:25-32 Key Verse: Psalm 119:25- “My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.”
Key Words: My soul cleaveth unto the dust
If David is the author of Psalm 119 (and I believe that he is), then something
has brought David low. Something now has David lying prostrate on the ground. It could be King Saul’s persecution of David, Absalom’s rebellion, David’s adulterous relationship with Bathsheba, the death of his baby boy, or even the death of Absalom. Whatever it is, something has humbled David. Humility is not a bad thing; it is the cure for envy, jealousy, strife, and division – just to name a few. Martin Luther reportedly told of two mountain goats that met each other on a narrow ledge just wide enough for one of the animals to pass. On the left was a sheer cliff, and on the right a steep wall. The two were Defeat pride with facing each other, and it was impossible to humility. turn around or to back up. How did they solve their dilemma? If they had been people, they would have started butting each other until they plunged into the chasm together. But, according to Luther, the goats had more sense than that. One of them lay down on the trail and let the other literally walk over him – and both were safe.
So the next time pride raises its ugly head in your heart, defeat it with humility.
Remember, humility was good enough for Jesus and David; it ought to be good enough for us as well.
What to do: ! Let your soul cleave to the dust. If it worked for David, it will work for us.
THE PLEAS OF THE PSALMIST h HE
! Bible Reading: Psalm 119:33-40 Key Verses: All eight verses Key Words: me; my; mine
The psalmist is not only singing, he is also praying. His prayer involves at least
1. Teach me (verse 33); 2. Give me understanding (verse 34); 3. Make me to go in the path (verse 35); 4. Incline me...unto thy testimonies (verse 36); 5. Turn me (verses 37 and 39); 6. Stablish me in thy word (verse 38); and 7. Quicken me in thy righteousness (verse 40). All of the psalmist’s requests are for God to make him “righteous.”
Donald Grey Barnhouse tells the following story about the righteousness of God: “Along the Avenue Louise in Brussels are several stores that sell nothing but lace. I looked at the exquisite scarves, veils and handkerchiefs in the windows and decided to purchase a handkerchief for my mother. The two old sisters who ran the store showed me some handkerchiefs; I was rather astonished at the price and asked them if they could explain why they were so costly. “It was a few months after World War I, and I still wore my army uniform. The ladies had no other customers at that time of day and seemed pleased to tell the young American officer about their wares. One of them spread a roll of black velvet on the counter, and then began to show the lace against this contrasting
background. I was initiated into the mystery of bobbin lace, and a few knots were tied for me in order to show me the method of making it. “Finally, they went to their safe and took out the marriage veil that had just been completed for the wedding of the Duchess of Brabant. Rather gingerly, I took hold of the edge of it – the thing was valued at over ten thousand dollars – and began to look at it more closely. One of the ladies immediately lifted the black velvet that I might use the contrasting background to bring out the intricacies of this Brussels rose-point lace. From that day on, I have always been interested in the beauties of lace, beauties which two old ladies taught me to comprehend against the blackness of the velvet. “It is unquestionable that the glories of God’s love and mercy and righteousness and goodness, and tenderness – all of the attributes of His grace – are known by the fact that God took the black velvet of man’s sin and threw the web of His grace against it.”
What to do: ! It would be good if we all asked the Lord to teach us, give us, make us, incline us, turn us, stablish (establish) us, and quicken us.
THE TRUSTWORTHY WORD w WAW
! Bible Reading: Psalm 119:41-48 Key Verse: Psalm 119:42- “So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word.”
Key Words: for I trust in thy word
The psalmist uses the personal pronoun “I” twelve times in these eight verses, and on every occasion but one he is referring to his life and love for the Word of God. Surely, he sees God’s Word as worthy of his trust. There is a great example of trust and dedication to God’s Word found in the life of Russian, Anatoli Shcharansky. “Anatoli Shcharansky, a dissident Soviet Jew, kissed his wife goodbye as she left Russia for freedom in Israel. His parting words to her were, ‘I’ll see you soon in Jerusalem.’ But Anatoli was detained and finally imprisoned. Their reunion in Jerusalem would not only be postponed, it might never occur. During long years in Russian prisons and work camps, Anatoli was stripped of his personal belongings.
His only possession was a miniature copy of the Psalms. Once during his imprisonment, his refusal to release the book to the authorities cost him 130 days in solitary confinement. Finally, twelve years after parting with his wife, he was offered freedom. In February 1986, as the world watched, Shcharansky was allowed to walk away from Russian guards toward those who would take him to Jerusalem. But, in the final moments of captivity, the guards tried again to confiscate the Psalms book. Anatoli threw himself face down in the snow and refused to walk on to freedom without it. Those words had kept him alive during imprisonment. He would not go on to freedom without them.” Now, let me ask you, do you love and trust God’s Word as much as Anatoli?
What to do: ! We have the trustworthy Word of God; read it, memorize it, live by it.
SONGS IN THE HOUSE z ZAIN
! Bible Reading: Psalm 119:49-56 Key Verse: Psalm 119:54- “Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.”
Key Words: my songs in the house
The psalmist was continually wrestling with problems and adverse situations.
These problems and situations were caused by wicked men who hated David because of his Godliness. In spite of all this, David clings to God’s Word. As a matter of fact, it is because of God’s Word that David is able to have a song both in his heart and mouth. His father was a successful barber, so everyone assumed young George would follow in the family trade. Unfortunately for his dad, George was more interested in music. Unfortunately for George, his dad thought musicians were nothing more than “vagabonds.” At age seven, the of Weissenfels accidentally heard George Do you have Duke playing around on an organ. The Duke encouraged a song in George’s father to develop his son’s obvious talent. Since a Duke’s request was not to be taken lightly, your heart? George was given lessons while his father hoped the boy’s love for music would pass. Mr. Handel was
mistaken. His son’s passion only grew, and he became the “Celebrated Saxon.” George Friedrich Handel believed his music was a gift from God and composing was his calling. It is said that Handel’s music was a result of God’s Word flowing from his heart.
So I ask you, is there a song in your heart?
What to do: ! Make sure Godly music is a part of your life.
ROBBED j CHETH
! Bible Reading: Psalm 119:57-64 Key Verse: Psalm 119:61- “The bands of the wicked have robbed me: but I have not forgotten thy law.”
Key Words: The bands of the wicked have robbed me
The psalmist had suffered mental loss, but he still had not lost his joy because he still held to God’s Word. Our joy in life does not come because of circumstances, but often our joy is in spite of circumstances. The following story illustrates the power and importance of joy in our lives. The story is taken from A. B. Earle, a pastor of years gone by: “An incident occurred in one of our meetings near Boston that taught me a great lesson in leading souls to Christ. I can never lose sight of it. “A lady connected with one of the city churches, but residing in that place, found she was not the humble, happy Christian she once was. She came to me, asking how she might obtain anew the joy of salvation; she felt she loved Jesus but so faintly that the warmth and power of that love were gone. The conflict was long and severe. On one occasion she said to me: ‘My husband has become skeptical. He rejects the Bible. It is of no use to speak to him. I have scarcely any hope of his being converted. But, oh, that I could enjoy the Savior’s love as I used to!’ “At last the desire of her heart was granted, and all the joy of her first love to Jesus was restored to her. And now, though she had been a Christian, and a kind, careful wife and mother, she seemed almost like another person. The false representations of religion were ended. Its sweetness and happiness shone in
every feature of her face, gave melody to the tones of her voice, and added a new charm to all she did. “She went about the house singing the songs of Zion. Anything that was not sinful that would make her husband happier and her home pleasanter, she cheerfully performed, saying but little, however, about the change in her feelings; she did not need to, it was so apparent. Her husband saw it, and compared her present state with her past. Somehow this led him to look into his own heart. The conviction was forced upon him that religion was a reality, and one he could not do without. “Some four days after this change in his wife, I called on him to learn why he rejected the Bible and religion. I asked him to be frank with me and tell me if he had no desire to be a Christian. “He replied: ‘Mr. Earle, I have said nothing about it to my wife; but sir, I feel I am a lost sinner and if you will pray for me, I will kneel down with you right here.’ And, pointing to his wife, who was at that moment passing through the room with the tears on her bright face, he continued: ‘That woman, my own dear wife, has had more power over me for a few days past than everything else put together. She has been a professor of religion for years, but I knew she did not enjoy her religion, and I said if that was all there was in religion, I did not want it. But for the last few days she has looked and acted almost like an angel; and sir, I cannot stand it; there is a power in her sweet, happy face that melts my heart. I cannot withstand the attraction of such a religion.’ “And all this because the joy of salvation was restored to the heart of that Christian wife! Oh, the power of Christ’s love when it burns and glows in the heart!” There is power in a joyful spirit.
What to do: ! Let God’s Word rule your life and joy will rule your spirit.
The bands of the wicked have robbed me: but I have not forgotten thy law. At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments. I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts. !"#$%&''()&*'+*,&
GOD AIN’T DEAD m TETIT
! Bible Reading: Psalm 119:65-72 Key Verse: Psalm 119:71- “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.”
Key Words: It is good for me that I have been afflicted
Surely, the last thing we think about during affliction is the fact that it is good. As you read the Word of God, you find that affliction is good. Paul had a thorn in the flesh, and he asked God on three occasions to remove it, but God said, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” Paul’s affliction allowed him to experience the grace of God. We read in II Corinthians 1:4, “Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” Our affliction allows us to comfort others when they are going through a time of affliction. It actually becomes a ministry. It was the affliction of the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace that revealed the power and deliverance of God. So the psalmist is right when he says, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted.” I am not a connoisseur of great art, but from time to time a painting or picture will really speak a clear, strong message to me. Some time ago I saw a picture of an old burnedThere is out mountain shack. All that remained was the nothing lost as chimney...the charred debris of what had been that family’s sole possession. In front of this long as God is destroyed home stood an old grandfather-looking alive and in man dressed only in his underclothes with a small control! boy clutching a pair of patched overalls. It was evident that the child was crying. Beneath the picture were the words which the artist felt the old man was speaking to the boy. They were simple words, yet they presented a profound theology and philosophy of life. Those words were, “Hush child, God ain’t dead!”
That vivid picture of that burned-out mountain shack, that old man, the weeping child, and those words “God ain’t dead” keep returning to my mind. Instead of it being a reminder of the despair of life, it has come to be a reminder of hope! I need reminders that there is hope in this world. In the midst of all of life’s troubles and failures, I need mental pictures to remind me that all is not lost as long as God is alive and in control. What to do: ! Remember, God does not do things to us but allows things for us.
LET JESUS COME INTO YOUR HEART y YODH
! Bible Reading: Psalm 119:73-80 Key Verse: Psalm 119:80- “Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; that I be not ashamed.”
Key Words: Let my heart be sound in thy statutes
The psalmist speaks of the Lord in three ways. First of all, he talks about the hand of the Lord in verses 73 – 75. Next he talks
about the help of the Lord in verses 76 – 77, and lastly he talks about the heart of the Lord in verses 78 – 80. The psalmist is anxious to get his heart right with the Lord. The following story is taken from Al Smith’s Treasury of Hymn Histories, but it illustrates the importance of having a right heart with God. One Sunday morning Mountain Lake Park, a Methodist camp meeting ground in Maryland, was the scene of a soul-stirring and deeply moving service. Evangelist L. H. Baker had brought a searching message on “Repentance.” Among the many who had responded to the invitation was a woman whose dress and manner evidenced refinement. Mrs. C. H. Morris, well-known Gospel song composer, was present at the meeting and upon observing that the woman was having difficulty, began to talk with her. She found that her problem was one of fearing that God would not receive her. Putting her arm around her, Mrs. Morris exclaimed, “Now, just now your doubtings give o’er.” The song leader, Dr. H. L. Gilman, who had witnessed the struggle and had also gotten on his knees by the woman, added, “Just now reject Him no more.” Evangelist Baker, who also by this time had
gathered in the circle surrounding them replied, “Just now throw open the door,” and Mrs. Morris added a last appeal with, “Let Jesus come into your heart.” That morning in a most unusual way, the woman let Jesus come into her heart. That morning, also in a most unusual way, was born the chorus of an invitation song that has been the means of winning thousands to Christ. Before the close of the camp meeting that week, Mrs. Morris had written a complete set of four stanzas and had also written the music for “Let Jesus Come Into Your Heart.” God had worked in a “mysterious way” His wonders to perform.
What to do: ! Cry out with the psalmist, “Let my heart be sound in thy statutes.”
HEAVEN’S POINT OF VIEW k CAPH
! Bible Reading: Psalm 119:81-88 Key Verse: Psalm 119:81- “My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word.” Key Words: My soul fainteth
“My soul fainteth for Thy salvation: but I hope in Thy word.” Salvation is a concept of various textures and tones. The Biblical context must always determine what kind of salvation the writer has in mind. There is, of course, salvation from sin – its penalty, power, and presence. There is salvation from sorrow as well as salvation from situations. This last aspect of salvation is in view here, although we do not know what the singer’s situation was. We do know, as the Scripture puts it elsewhere, “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick.” I remember one time taking off in a plane straight into a bank of heavy clouds. The day had been completely overcast, a leaden sky scowling down on a gloomy landscape. The plane taxied down the runway, took off, and instantly a gray world enveloped us. Looking out of the window, I could see nothing except a blanket of foggy vapor so thick it even streamed down the windows. Then suddenly the plane broke through and we were above the clouds. The sky was a blazing sapphire; the sun was shining. Looking down at the clouds, now far below, I saw them transformed into things of beauty, billowing fleece of whitest wool. The blue skies
were there all the time and, seen from above, the dark clouds were already being hurried away by the wind. The Word of God is like the sun, shining always in the sky. Our frowning circumstances are the clouds. When we stare up at them from down below, they appear threatening. But when we allow God’s Word to change our viewpoint we see them as temporary troubles, soon to vanish, and, in any case, glorious from Heaven’s point of view.
What to do: ! Let God’s Word change your point of view.
GOD’S TAKING OUR PICTURE l LAMED
! Bible Reading: Psalm 119:89-96 Key Verse: Psalm 119:89- “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.” Key Words: Forever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.
The Word is permanent because it is the Lord’s word. That is why God does
not have to change His mind. In His omniscient wisdom, God knows everything – everything possible and everything that is. He is acquainted with every fact, every detail, about everything and everyone in Heaven, earth, and hell. He may be invisible to us, but we are not invisible to Him. He saw Adam and Eve hiding in the gard en, saw Cain murder his brother, heard Sarah laugh in the privacy of her tent. One of the first revelations of God occurs on the Bible’s opening page: seven times the Holy Spirit says, “And God saw.” God knows every detail about everything that has happened in the past. He knows everything going on right at this moment throughout all the vast reaches of space. He knows every event, from God is the smallest to the greatest, that will ever happen in the ages and eternities to be. If it were possible for something always to happen that God did not know about, He would cease to watching! be omniscient; He would cease to be God. When Donald and Simmie Godwin took their fouryear-old grandson camping at Lake Superior, they got a basic theology lesson. When a bad thunderstorm came up, the little guy was
fascinated by the flashes of “whitening.” He watched the sky light up for several minutes then gave his commentary: “Look! Jesus is taking my picture.” Our activities and attitudes never escape the attention of God. It is as if God were constantly taking our picture.
What to do: ! Always act and think as if God is watching – because He is.
WISER THAN THEY m MEM
! Bible Reading: Psalm 119:97-104 Key Verse: Psalm 119:98- “Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.”
Key Words: thy commandments hast made me wiser than my enemies
Geoffrey Bull, recounting his experience in a Chinese communist prison camp, tells of three years he had to live without a Bible. The communists hoped to cut him off from his source of spiritual solace and strength. It was a vain hope. He had for years been storing up that Word in his heart. Then they began brainwashing him. He describes the nagging and noise, the scrutiny and spying, the tension. He tells how they would threaten him with execution – threats always baited with a promise of pardon if he would reform and acknowledge his crime against the people. The tension was Study of aggravated by ceaseless provocation and baiting, by God’s Word attacks on his integrity and self-respect, and by endless prying into his thoughts. From morning to will sharpen night, day after day, month after month it went on – your wits. argument, haranguing, criticism, and struggle. Every movement he made was under intense scrutiny. Officials, wardens, fellow prisoners kept at it. For fear of their own future they dared not relent. There was no love, no peace, nothing but indoctrination and examination. The whole thing was aimed at a single end: to bring his mind into captivity to Marx. In the end they gave him back his Bible. Geoffrey Bull describes the ecstasy with which he once again held it in his hands: “Ringing in my ears were forty months
of man’s words, man’s wisdom, man’s arguments, man’s hurt. Now on the page before me ran the quiet yet pungent words of Holy Scripture: ‘Where is the wise...where is the disputer of this world?’” Long after his release he wrote, “Even today, I feel like running up and down the corridors of learning shouting out: ‘Yes, where is he?’ After the mad haranguings and fanatical ragings of the Marxists, let me ask...’Where is the wise? Hath not God made the foolish the wisdom of this world?’” Geoffrey Bull’s tormentors had their wits sharpened by enmity. His mind was sharpened by God’s Word. He was wiser than they.
What to do: ! Study the Word of God; it will make you wiser than your enemies.
AN HERITAGE FOR EVER n NUN
! Bible Reading: Psalm 119:105-112 Key Verse: Psalm 119:111- “Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.”
Key Words: Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage forever “Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.” An heritage is something we inherit. The most priceless heritage we have is the Bible. Nothing can compare to it down here. The Bible, however, is like some other inheritances people receive – it yields its treasures only under certain conditions. A man owned a vineyard, and his sons believed their father to be very Put the Word of God wealthy. Since he was secretive about it, to work in your life, they could not be sure, but they hoped to inherit a fortune when he died. On his and it will rejoice deathbed he told his sons that the secret your soul. of his wealth was to be found in the vineyard. The boys immediately began to dig, hoping to find the treasure they believed to be hidden under the vines. They toiled for months, being careful not to damage the vines. In the course of time they
dug over every inch of the vineyard and discovered nothing. But that fall their vineyard produced the finest crop of grapes on record. Then they realized what their wise old father had done. He had forced them to stop loafing around and instead to cultivate the vineyard. The secret of his wealth was the vines, which, properly cared for, would keep them rich. Our heritage, too, is priceless but it will not yield its wealth to us without work. When we work at it, the Bible never fails to yield its riches to our souls.
What to do: ! Put the Word of God to work in your life, and it will rejoice your soul.
THE HIDING PLACE s SAMECH
! Bible Reading: Psalm 119:113-120 Key Verse: Psalm 119:114- “Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.”
Key Words: Thou art my hiding place
The psalmist shares with us his emotions in these eight verses. In verses 113 to 117 we see the psalmist trusting. He says in verse 114 that God is his hiding place, but then in verses 118 to 120 we see the psalmist trembling. See verse 120. He says “my flesh trembleth.” The psalmist knew that it was a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God. The two thoughts before give us a picture of mankind. Either man is trusting or he will end up trembling. The psalmist chooses to trust in God as his hiding place. “Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in Thy word.” We need a hiding place when danger threatens: we need a shield when danger makes its thrust. A hiding place suggests that the danger, though real enough, is not yet at hand. It can God is the safest still be averted perhaps. A shield is needed when the hiding place no longer affords hiding place. protection. The danger has become immediate, a present-tense peril. The psalmist’s first line of defense against his foes is God, and his final line of defense against his foes is God. He has no other defense, nor does he need any. His hope is not in his friends or family, in his own resources or resolution, in his skill
with sword or spear. His hope is in God and in God’s Word. Since that cannot fail, his victory is assured. The Great Wall of China is a gigantic structure, which cost an enormous amount of money and labor. When it was finished, it appeared to be impregnable. But the enemy did break it – not by breaking it down or going around it or under it – they did it by bribing the gatekeepers, proving we are only as strong as our weakest link. No wonder David turned to God and declared God as his hiding place, for in Him there is no weakness.
What to do: ! Let God be your hiding place today and every day.
IT’S TIME x AYIN
! Bible Reading: Psalm 119:121-128 Key Verse: Psalm 119:126- “It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void thy law.”
Key Words: It is time for thee, LORD, to work “It is time for Thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void thy law.” As though we can tell God when He ought to go to work! Like Job, we think we have all the answers. Like Job, too, we find that we really know nothing at all about the great issues, of the working of those “wheels within wheels” of His will. The only person that can pray like that, with any authority or assurance, is a person who lives close enough to the Lord to know God’s Word very well. Such a person can appeal to God on the basis of intimate knowledge of His will. Daniel could do that. He had so thoroughly mastered the Word of God as given to Jeremiah, he had so marked the passing of the years, he was so conversant with the signs of the times that he could pray, “It is time, O Lord, for Thee to work.” George Mueller also could do that at times. He was so sensitive to the leading of the Lord in his life that he could say, in effect: “It is time, O Lord, for Thee to work.” On one occasion, George Mueller was sailing down the Saint Lawrence into Montreal to keep an appointment he knew to be in the will of God. A heavy fog came down and the ship reduced speed to a crawl. The captain of the ship was a believer, so Mr. Mueller approached him and asked him if they would make Montreal on time. The captain said, “Not unless this fog lifts at once.”
Said George Mueller, “Very well, we shall ask the Lord to take the fog away.”
He knelt down and, in a simple prayer, made his request. When the captain was about to pray, Mr. Mueller gently put his hand on his arm. “Don’t you pray,” he said. “Why not?” the captain asked.
“You don’t really believe the fog will lift. Besides, it has already gone!” said Mr. Mueller.
What to do: ! Live close to God and then you will know when it’s time for the Lord to go to work.
LOOK WHERE THE LIGHT IS p PE
! Bible Reading: Psalm 119:129-136 Key Verse: Psalm 119:130- “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.”
Key Words: The entrance of thy words giveth light
In his book on Psalms, John Phillips says, “God’s Word gives light. People can shut light out of their life, of course, and remain forever in the dark, or they can open the windows of their soul and let that light flood in. “Light reveals dirt. There was a time when I lived in a cold climate, where every year storm windows had to be put in place to help keep out the cold. That annual chore always necessitated washing windows. The storm windows, stored all summer, had to be cleansed of the dust and dirt that had accumulated on them. The regular windows had to be cleansed, too – by strict order of the lady of the house. Finally, after an exhausting day, the last storm window would be fitted into place, and with a sigh of relief I would sit back, thankful that the job was done for another year. The next day the sun would come out and the slanting rays would shine on the windows and reveal the streaks, the spots, the places that were missed. The light revealed the dirt. The windows had looked quite acceptable in yesterday’s shadows, but in today’s sunshine all the grime was conspicuously revealed. “Light reveals disorder. Things might be badly out of place in a room; and, as long as it is dark, it makes no difference. But when the light is turned on, the mess
and muddle can be clearly seen. Just so, God’s Word reveals the disorder in our lives. “Light reveals direction. A man stumbling through the darkness may have no idea where he is or what immediate perils lay at his feet. Light changes all that. It gives us a sense of direction, enabling us to see signposts and landmarks. This is one of the chief blessings of God’s Word. It gives light.” If we are to find truth, we must search for it in the light of God’s Word.
Instead of trusting God’s Word, modern-day thinkers insist on using human wisdom alone for answers to eternal questions. The tragedy of this situation was graphically illustrated in a humorous skit performed by Karl Vallentin, a Munich comedian. Walking on a stage where everything was dark except for a small area under a street lamp, he began to look for something on the ground. He told the policeman who came on the scene that he was trying to find a key, whereupon the two continued the search. Finally the officer asked, “Are you sure you lost it here?” “Oh, no,” said Vallentin as he pointed to a corner, “it was over there, but here is where the light is!” What to do: ! Make sure you are walking in the light of God’s Word.
WE LIVE BY THE WORD x TSADHE
! Bible Reading: Psalm 119:137-144 Key Verse: Psalm 119:138- “Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful.”
Key Words: Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful “Thy testimonies that Thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful.” It is impossible for God ever to lead us astray, for Him ever to ask us to do any wrong. In the halls of the American Congress one finds two kinds of people, the legislators and the lobbyists. The politician is there to make the laws. The pressure groups are there to influence those laws, to see that the only laws passed are the ones their particular group wants. The gun lobby wants no laws that will interfere with the right of people to own weapons. The pro-abortionist wants no laws that will restrict a woman’s right to end unwanted pregnancies. The sexual deviant wants
laws that will protect his lifestyle. Thus it is with our laws. All too often, instead of being righteous and faithful, they simply reflect the interest of whichever side can bring the most pressure to bear on politicians. God’s laws are not like that. He is not swayed by public opinion. He is not running for office, nor is He running this planet along democratic lines. His laws are not influenced by polls or pressure groups. God’s laws are righteous and faithful. They are impartial, imperial, and impeccable. They are magnificent in scope and substance. In His law, God has spoken to moral issues, political issues, and social issues. He has spoken His mind about sex, sanitation, and stealing. He has spoken about diet and dress, family and financial matters, warfare and welfare. There is not one topic in God’s Word left to our imagination. Every Word of God is righteous and very faithful.
What to do: ! Live by the Word.
REDEEMING THE TIME q QOPH
! Bible Reading: Psalm 119:145-152 Key Verse: Psalm 119:148- “Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.”
Key Words: that I might meditate in thy word
Someone once said: “Long before his bed became a wrack, he would pray. Lying in bed waiting for
sleep to come, he would pray. ‘Mine eyes prevent [anticipate, forestall] the night watches, that I might meditate in Thy word.’ He turned those moments before sleep came into good use. He composed himself for sleep by prayerfully turning over the Word of God in his mind. In other words, he had what today we Use your time wisely on things would call a quiet time. “Surely most of us waste far too much time. that matter! Someone has calculated that the average believer, if he lives to be 75 years of age, spends 25 years asleep, 17 years at work, 6 years in traveling, 7 ! years in dressing, 9 years in watching television, 6 years being sick, and only 4 years in prayer and Bible
study. Imagine 4 years out of 75 preparing for eternity, less than half the time spent watching television. Suppose we converted half the travel time, mostly idle time, into praying or memorizing Scripture instead of daydreaming. Suppose we invested most of the time spent dressing engaging our minds in prayer. Suppose we took an hour less sleep at night and devoted the time to concentrated Bible study. Suppose we cut two-thirds of the time spent watching television and devoted that time to reading the Bible, studying the Word, and praying for family, friends, missionaries, and all those hundreds of other things we say we are too busy to pray about. Why, we could increase the time we spend in prayer and Bible study by 19 years. Instead of a paltry 4 years, we would spend 23 years in getting ready for the judgment seat of Christ. “F. W. Boreham used to tell the story of a gypsy he knew in his youth. She would come to the village green near where he lived and open her chest of treasures. From that chest she would take all kinds of things, fingering and fondling the items one by one and offering them for sale. She would announce the price, permit no haggling, offer the item, and unless it was purchased at once, back it went back into the chest. On no account would she take it out again and give the people standing around a second chance to purchase it. The bargain had to be taken at once or the chance was gone. “Redeeming the time,” says Paul. God offers each one of us a fleeting moment of time. We can seize it and freight it down with something for eternity, or it passes back unredeemed into God’s keeping to be a witness against us at the judgment seat. Life’s golden moments never return. This wise old singer made it his plan to buy up the time.”
What to do: ! Make sure you are using your time wisely on things that count for eternity.
Tick… tick… tick… What you are doing right now that will matter tomorrow?
DETERMINATION r RESH
! Bible Reading: Psalm 119:153-160 Key Verse: Psalm 119:157- “Many are my persecutors and mine enemies; yet do I not decline from thy testimonies.”
Key Words: Many are my persecutors and mine enemies
It is easy to go downhill. Anyone who rides a bike knows that. It is easy to go
zipping along on a flat road; that calls for very little effort. But going uphill is another matter. Even a slight incline calls for more determination, and taking on a steep grade calls for all the strength and resolution a person has. But going downhill? Anyone can do that. Many a cyclist, faced with a really stiff hill, will simply turn around and coast back the way he came. The reason, of course, is that he was not really going anywhere in the first place. After all, he was just out for a joyride. Being a believer, however, is no joyride. The psalmist was facing a stiff grade: “Many are my persecutors and mine enemies,” he said. Everywhere he looked he saw unfriendly faces. The temptation was to give up. “Yet I do not decline from Thy testimonies,” he added. John Phillips tells the following story. “As a boy I was brought up in a town that was avidly devoted to soccer. It was the big game. On Saturday afternoons thousands of people would flock to the stadium to see the weekly match. In those days most people walked, took the occasional bus, or rode a bicycle. Very few people had cars. When the match was over and the crowds poured out of the stadium, the sidewalks would be jammed with people walking back toward town. Anyone could have gone with that crowd. A small person could have picked up his legs and been carried along by the crowd, the people were so tightly packed. But try going against it – that was different. To go against the crowd called for determination. It was a struggle every single step.” In spite of the struggle, we need the determination of the psalmist, “Yet do I not decline from thy testimonies.”
What to do: ! Be determined to follow the Lord. It will be an uphill struggle, but be determined to stay the course.
I WILL NOT STUMBLE c SCHIN
! Bible Reading: Psalm 119:161-168 Key Verse: Psalm 119:165- “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.”
Key Words: Great peace have they “Great peace have they which love Thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” The word for offend is literally “make them stumble.” Those who love God’s Word are armored against the fiery darts of Satan; their feet are guided so they do not fall into his snares. Situations cannot make them stumble. On the contrary, they can say with the apostle Paul, “The things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel” (Philippians 1:12). Thank God for that! Scholars cannot make them stumble. They are in touch with truth itself, truth imparted by the omniscient wisdom of the Holy Spirit. The theories and philosophies of men are like surging seas, which break themselves at last against the massive headlands and coastline of the Word of God. Sovereigns cannot make them stumble. “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water” (Proverbs 21:1), said Solomon, one of the most imperious of kings, “he turneth it whithersoever he will.” A human government can do nothing that God does not permit. God has His ways of hanging this world’s Hamans on the gallows that they have prepared for His Mordecais. Sinners cannot make them stumble. The temptations they put before them do not entice them; the terrors they threaten do not intimidate. “Great peace have they that love Thy law and nothing shall [make them stumble].” Such is the peace of the psalmist. It is a peace the world cannot give, a peace it cannot take away. It is a peace that does not depend upon what happens. It is the peace of God. Do you have that peace?
What to do: ! All of our decisions should be based on the peace of God.
GIGO t TAU ! Bible Reading: Psalm 119:169-176 Key Verse: Psalm 119:172- “My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy
commandments are righteousness.”
Key Words: My tongue shall speak of thy word “My tongue shall speak of Thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness.” Our tongues usually speak our own words; and what words they are: so often deceptive, defiant, defiling, derisive, disrespectful, and damaging. James says that if a man can control his tongue, he is perfect; he can control his whole body. The tongue is an unruly member. Men can bridle wild horses more easily than they can tame their tongues. They can steer great ships with little rudders more easily than they can guide their conversation. The psalmist said, “My tongue shall speak of Thy Word.” If only we could harness our tongue like that. Of course, if our tongue is to speak God’s Word, then that Word must first get down into our heart. It is “out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaketh,” Jesus said. In recent years men have invented a new language, one never used on earth until the 20th century. No barbarian tribe invented the language. It was invented by brilliant men of science. It is a strange language. It has only two words in it, the mathematical equivalents of yes and no. It is “binary” computer language. With that language men can solve problems in arithmetic at almost the speed of light. They can use that language to guide spaceships to the stars. Programmers, who write the instructions for their computers in that new language, have an expressive word to describe the way things work out when that language is spoken to the machines they have made. It is the term GIGO. The term GIGO means: “Garbage in, garbage out.” In other words, if they put misinformation into the computer’s electronic brain, they will get misinformation out when the machine responds. If my tongue is to speak God’s Word, if that is what I am to get out, then that is what I have to put in. I shall never be able to proclaim the Word if I do not meditate on that Word day and night, saturating my soul with its treasures of wisdom.
What to do: ! Remember, it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.
A MIRTHFUL PEOPLE JUNE 23
! Bible Reading: Psalm 144 Key Verse: Psalm 144:15- “Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.”
Key Words: Happy is that people “Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.” David’s national goal was that his people be free from complaints and full of contentment. He realized that there was only one way for such national goals to be realized. They Happy is that people… cannot be attained by either political acumen or the pursuit of peace and prosperity in themselves. No humanistic policies will produce the national happiness envisioned by David – policies that leave God out. True political stability and national well-being must be related to God. Any nation that departs from God sows the seeds of its own disunity, whose God is the LORD. discontent, and dissolution. HAPPY IS THAT PEOPLE WHOSE GOD IS THE LORD. It should be written in the halls of Congress and in the houses of parliament of the nations. It should be written over the Senate and in the chambers of the Supreme Court. It should be written in the council chamber of the United Nations. It should be at the core of the curriculum in our schools. It should be the first essential and inviolate plank in every political platform. It should be the conviction of every politician and statesman. It should be the motto of every king, president, and prime minister. It should be drilled into the consciousness of every citizen. It should be written on the table of every human heart. HAPPY IS THAT PEOPLE WHOSE GOD IS THE LORD. No wonder our nation and the nations in general are not happy.
What to do: ! Is God your Lord (master of your life)?
BLESS THE LORD JUNE 24
! Bible Reading: Psalm 145 Key Verse: Psalm 145:2- “Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever.”
Key Words: Everyday will I bless thee
The psalmist did not say, “Everyday will God bless me,” even though He does. The psalmist wants to be a blessing to God. One way we can do this is by praising God. “Everyday will I bless Thee; and I will praise Thy name for ever and ever.” David takes both an everyday view of things and an everlasting view of things. His time was made up of days – not a day would pass without praise. He might write in his diary: “Today I praise God for sending old Barzillai to me with all those generous provisions for me and my men.” Or, “Today I praise God for bringing to naught the counsel of Ahithophel.” Or, “Today I praise God for such a competent general as Joab.” Or, “Today I praise God that Absalom is dead, even though my heart is broken. At least I did not have to sign his death warrant.” Or, “Today I praise God that He put it into my heart to grant that wicked man Shimei a stay of execution.” David determined to never let a day go by without discovering some way to weigh it down with praise. What a noble ambition for us to emulate – and all because David was looking forward to praising God forever and ever in yonder bright regions of joy. He wanted to be in practice. When he arrived on the golden Today, purpose to sands beyond the shining river, he did not want to have to start out in the kindergarten bless God with of praise and learn how it was done. He your praises. wanted to graduate from earth with high honors in the subject of praise and arrive in heaven able to take his place at once with the worthies on the other shore. At age 16 Andor Foldes was already a skilled pianist, but he was experiencing a troubled year. In the midst of the young Hungarian’s personal struggles, one of the most renowned pianists of the day came to Budapest. Emil von Sauer was famous not only for his abilities; he was also the last surviving pupil of the great Franz Liszt. Von Sauer requested that Foldes play for him. Foldes obliged with some of the most difficult works of Bach, Beethoven, and Schumann. When he finished, von Sauer walked over to him and kissed him on the forehead. “My son,” he said, “when I was your age I became a student of Liszt. He
kissed me on the forehead after my first lesson, saying, ‘Take good care of this kiss – it comes from Beethoven, who gave it to me after hearing me play.’ I have waited for years to pass on this sacred heritage, but now I feel you deserve it.” Today, why don’t you kiss God with your praises?
What to do: ! Remember that praising God is a blessing to Him.
MISPLACED TRUST JUNE 25 ! Bible Reading: Psalm 146 Key Verse: Psalm 146:3- “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.”
Key Words: Put not your trust
I read recently where someone said that millions of people have misplaced
trust – trust deposited (often sincerely enough) in the wrong person, the wrong institution, the wrong object. We sometimes hear well-meaning people say, “Just have faith.” That is a foolish exhortation. Have faith in what? Have faith in whom? Some put their faith in money, but banks fail and there are many things money cannot buy (including happiness and holiness). Some put their faith in politics, but political systems break down because of the limitations of the people who run them or the wrong philosophies they espouse. Some put their faith in religion, but religion apart from Christ is a satanic delusion and leads to a lost eternity. Some put their faith in education, but persons of equal education often differ radically on important issues. Two doctors can examine the same patient God alone is and diagnose different illnesses; two statesmen can weigh the same international situation and worthy of our recommend opposite policies; two judges can listen to trust. the same evidence and pronounce different verdicts. Nor can we put our faith implicitly in conscience. When John Huss was burned at the stake, a poor widow brought a faggot of sticks and gave them to the priest in charge of the pyre. She said, “Put them up close, holy father.” John Huss said to her, “You must hate me a great deal. What have I done to you or yours that you hate me so?”
She said, “You are a heretic. Wood is expensive and I am poor. I cannot afford
this bundle of sticks, but to burn a heretic is a good work so I have made the sacrifice.” Conscience said to John Huss, “Give your body to be burned.” Conscience said to the widow, “Give your bundle of sticks to burn him.” Conscience alone is a poor thing in which to trust. Simply to say, “Just have faith,” is foolish. Our faith must be in God, so we read in verse 5, “Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help.” Today, I trust you do not have a misplaced trust.
What to do: ! Put your trust in God.
WHAT GOD TAKES PLEASURE IN JUNE 26
! Bible Reading: Psalm 147 Key Verse: Psalm 147:10- “He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man.”
Key Words: He delighteth not
God does not delight when our confidence is in military might; God delights
when we fear Him. The word fear means “a reverent respect, to be in awe of.” One time many years ago, the king of Hungary found himself depressed and unhappy. He sent for his brother, a good-natured but rather indifferent prince. The king said to him, “I am a great sinner. I fear to meet God.” I challenge you But the prince only laughed at him. This to fear God! didn’t help the king’s disposition any. Though he was a believer, the king had gotten a glimpse of his guilt for the way he had been living lately; and he seriously wanted help. In those days it was customary, if the executioner sounded a trumpet before a man’s door at any hour, it was a signal that he was to be led to his execution. The king sent the executioner in the dead of night to sound the fateful blast at his brother’s door. The prince realized with horror what was happening. Quickly dressing, he stepped to the door and was seized by the executioner and dragged pale and trembling into the king’s presence. In an agony of terror he fell on his knees before his brother and begged to know how he had offended him.
“My brother,” answered the king, “if the sight of a human executioner is so terrible to you, shall not I, having grievously offended God, fear to be brought before Christ?” Let me challenge you to fear God!! It is where God gets His delight.
What to do: ! Fear God!!
PRAISE THE LORD JUNE 27 ! Bible Reading: Psalm 148 – 150 Key Verse: verse 1 of each of the psalms Key Words: Praise the Lord
Does the psalmist leave anything out in regard to praising the Lord? As the psalmist closes out this great book, he does not mention a single plea or petition – only praise. Twenty-nine times he cries out “Praise the Lord.” John Wesley was about 21 years of age when he went to Oxford University. He came from a Christian home, and he was gifted with a keen mind and good looks. Yet in those days he was a bit snobbish and sarcastic. One night, “Let every thing that hath however, something happened breath praise the LORD. that set in motion a change in Wesley’s heart. While speaking Praise ye the LORD.” with a porter, he discovered that the poor fellow had only one coat and lived in such impoverished conditions that he didn’t even have a bed. Yet he was an unusually happy person, filled with gratitude to God. Wesley, being immature, thoughtlessly joked about the man’s misfortunes. “And what else do you thank God for?” he said with a touch of sarcasm. The porter smiled, and in the spirit of meekness replied with joy, “I thank Him that He has given me my life and being, a heart to love Him, and above all, a constant desire to serve Him!” Deeply moved, Wesley recognized that this man knew the meaning of true thankfulness. Many years later, in 1791, John Wesley lay on his deathbed at the age of 88. Those who gathered around him realized how well he had learned the lesson of
praising God in every circumstance. Despite Wesley’s extreme weakness, he began singing the hymn, “I’ll Praise My Maker While I’ve Breath.” Let everything that hath breath praise the LORD.
What to do: ! Spend your time praising God and you will find little time to find fault in others.
THE GODLY MAN
! Bible Reading: Psalm 1 Key Verse: Psalm 1:3- “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
Key Words: and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper
In the symbolism of Scripture, water for cleansing invariably represents the Word of God; water for drinking symbolizes the Spirit of God. Meditation in Scripture releases the river of God’s Spirit so that our lives are refreshed and revitalized. The Psalmist notes seven things that mark the life of the man who is situated by the river. His Prominence: he is like “a tree.” His Permanence: he is like a tree “planted.” Unlike the grass, which is mowed down in successive harvests, a tree sends its roots down deep into the soil. It has a deep, hidden life. His Position: he is planted “by the rivers of water.” The droughts, which bring bleakness and barrenness to others, do not affect him. He has an unfailing source of life. His Productivity: he “brings forth fruit.” His branches run over the wall, he is a blessing to everyone. His Propriety: he brings forth his fruit “in his season.” He is not a freak. There are times for fruit-bearing just as there are times for growth and times for rest. So long as we are abiding in the Spirit we need not worry about the fruit. It will come in its season. His Perpetuity: “his leaf also shall not wither.” There are two trees outside my window. One has little rust-red leaves on it just now. They look very pretty, but soon they will fall to the ground. The other tree has fresh, green pine needles. It is
an evergreen. That’s what we are to be like – not affected by the winter or the weather – always the same. His Prosperity: “whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” Everything will prosper – his family life, his business life, his church life, his personal life. Such is the godly man, the happy, happy man.
What to do: ! Be like a tree planted by the river of water or you’ll just dry up and die.
GOD DOESN’T GRADE ON A CURVE JUNE 29
! Bible Reading: Psalm 14 Key Verse: Psalm 14:1- “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.”
Key Words: They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good “They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.” The word translated “corrupt” is the same word used four times in Genesis 6 to describe the world of Noah’s day – a world so vile that God had to inundate it under the judgment waters of the flood. There are men whose works are vile even by human standards. A man who would take little children and sexually abuse them, get them hooked on drugs, or pollute their little minds is not fit to live. Jesus said it would be best for that man if a millstone were to be hung around his neck and he be cast into the depths of the sea. But there are people whose behavior is virtuous by human standards who are nevertheless pronounced corrupt by God and whose “goodness” God repudiates. When I was a boy in school our work was graded on a numerical system. When we wrote an essay, the teacher would assign so many points out of a possible hundred for composition, so many for spelling, so many for handwriting, so many for originality, so many for grammar, so many for neatness, so many for factual accuracy. A perfect score was 100. Points were deducted for failure in each area being tested. Each student knew exactly where he stood when he received his mark. Usually the teacher would write some appropriate comment on the paper, according to the grade – “Fair” “Weak” “Very average” “Disgraceful.” Only those who received a perfect score would have the comment “Good!”
Teachers in the United States often grade papers by letter rather than by number. This gives a lot more leeway. An “A” might be anything between 90 and 100, “B” between 80 and 90, “C” between 70 and 80. The final year’s grade might be averaged in much the same way. Another system is called “grading on the curve,” in which the highest in the class receives “A” and the lowest a failing mark, with the others where they fit relatively in between. This system often gives the underachieving students a better chance to pass. Well, God does not grade on the curve. God’s standards are absolute. He has only two grades: “good” for absolute perfection and “failure” for anything else. That is why He says that there is “none that doeth good,” that we have “all done abominable works.”
What to do: ! Never forget that God doesn’t grade on a curve, and fools never pass.
THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD AND SAVIOR JUNE 30 ! Bible Reading: Psalm 23 Key Verse: Psalm 23:1- “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Key Words: The LORD is my shepherd
The jobs of the shepherd are many, but one thing he is responsible for is the
safety of the sheep. Jesus is our Great Shepherd and only in Him are we safe. Today, are you safe in Jesus? Have you trusted Him as your Savior? John Phillips tells the following story: “Some years ago Kenneth Opperman was granted an interview with Pope Paul VI. During the course of the interview, Opperman asked the pope if he was saved and the pontiff related some mystical experience he had received as a boy. It wasn’t Only Jesus can save! much to go on, but at least it was a start. The visitor rephrased the question: ‘Sir, when you die, will you go to Heaven?’ The pope’s answer was most revealing. ‘Ah! Mr. Opperman, you have asked me a very hard question.’ It certainly was a hard question. If he had said ‘Yes!’ he would have demolished the Catholic Church then and there because the Catholic Church does not believe that people die and go to Heaven. According to Roman
dogma they die and go to purgatory. Then the pontiff brightened. ‘Ah, but Mr. Opperman, when I die I shall have seven hundred million Roman Catholics praying for my soul.’” What darkness! What despair! The Bible teaches us something better than that. We can say with David, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me.” Indeed we are safe only when Jesus is our Savior.
What to do: ! Trust Jesus as your Savior – not your religion.
I deeply appreciate the help of Laurie Blankenship Trisha Bookout Kathy Endicott Cathy Fortenberry Sandy Lancaster Cathy Lang Pam Lee Marie Moore Mary Parsons John and Tascha Piatt Reba Pontbriand And my lovely wife, Linda
Without God using these people to help this devotional would not have been possible.
Dr. Mike Rouse
Emphasis on the Psalms