THE PROMISES OF GOD
I feel constrained in the Spirit to turn to Psalm 119 for a while and to look at the promises laid up for the obedient Christian.
We thought in the last study about the wisdom, knowledge and understanding that the four characters in Daniel enjoyed because of the time they spent alone with God.
Well we can do no better than to look at the life of David and the succeeding generations who followed the same pathway seeking the Lord first in everything.
David had come into relationship with the Living God as a boy but he recognised that he needed instruction from the Lord all along the path of life.As a boy, as a young man but hen at the end of his life he was still seeking to know the mind and will of God for his life, it is so easy for us to rest on our achievements.
David longed to build the Temple but that was not Gods desire, it was for Solomon to build it so as to bring him closer to the Lord him self, father could not do it for him.
The opening thought of v 1 is 'the way' the all important path that we should be walking along because it brings us to the Living God continually.
Our life is a journey and we are travellers making progress towards our eternal home, we are here for a short while on earth before we move on into eternity.
The Christian life is a course of action, the procedure adopted that will transform our life on earth and our eternal destiny.
We are not migrants in search of a better life but we are pilgrims walking in the right direction towards the Promised land of heaven.
Now having been born again of the Spirit of God, having been forgiven of our sin and been turned around to follow in Gods direction we are being changed all the time.
Conversion is only the beginning of the new life in Christ, we have the rest of our days to prepare ourselves for the presence of the Living God.
Our conversion in Christ is the opening up or the restoring of communications with the Creator God who delights to commune with His children.
The thought in v 1 of 'the way' is the behaviour and pattern of living for those seeking to walk after Gods pattern or ideal of living.
The 'law of the Lord' is set out as the pattern that we need to follow if we are going to bring honour, praise and glory to our heavenly Father.
The enemy will dry us up spiritually by distracting us with all manners of things that fill our time and dissipate our energy so as to slow us down in seeking the Lord through His word.
It is a battle royal between the flesh and the Spirit and so often we pander to the flesh and given in to the carnal nature instead of standing on the promises of God.
To gain mastery over the flesh we need to come to v 2 'to seek with our whole heart' now that means the putting of the old desires, habits and pleasures so as to put on the new life in Christ that brings us fresh goals, aims and ambitions.
The old desires are to satisfy the flesh whilst the new goals are to have a life that mirrors Christ's image in us.
The old habits are carnal practises that we find very hard to give up because they are our life but the new aims are to bring us into 'Gods ways of thinking and being.
The old pleasures are nothing more than trying to satisfy our earthly nature that is going to return to dust when we pass from this scene into eternity.
Where as the new nature has ambitions or strong desires to become a godly person that will bring pleasure to the heart of God through our obedience to His word.
Now to help us on our way along that right pathway called the path of righteousness we find that our education is progressive, we are ever learning and our Father has put these promises in His word to encourage us to seek Him daily v 5.
There is a difference between a 'command' and a 'promise' that are worth pondering on because they are vital thoughts for each of us to get hold of.
A 'command' v 4 is the established and appointed pattern of living, these are the set down rules that require our inner commitment and obedience to if we are going to meet Gods requirements.
His 'promises' are His announcements or proclamations that will be fulfilled in us as long as we fulfil the conditions laid out in them.
Every promise has conditions that we should apply to our life so that we can receive the gracious gift given as a promise in scripture.
In the opening eight verses we find three important facts about the conditions that are necessary for us to obtain the promises of God.
First there is the direction that we are walking in, we cannot expect the holy God to pour out His promises on unholy people.
We can be born again but not necessarily walking along the right path, we are so prone to get into cul de sac going round in circles until we drop.
Still seeking to satisfy the flesh when we should be seeking to have a restored soul and spirit in the Lord Jesus Christ.
To walk in the path of righteousness demands obedience to Gods word and that means walking in the right direction that is laid out in His word.
Secondly there is 'seeking the Lord' with our whole heart, there are three types of heart in scripture there is a cold heart of Revelation 3 v 15 along with the warm heart.
These are the two clear cut ways of living the cold is a life without God in it whilst the other has God at the centre of it.
The third heart is the 'luke warm' heart Revelation 3 v 16 that has no conviction about the way it is wandering around on earth, it wants the benefits of grace but refuses to live under the demands of God.
The Lord Jesus has some very clear words to say about these lukewarm Christians 'He will spew them out of His mouth', figuratively speaking He will vomit because of their abhorrent or repugnant behaviour.
There are many in Christendom that are walking in such a life style today half hearted in their commitment and they wonder why things are not going as they thought they should being Christians.
The third word is 'not be ashamed' v 6 the word ashamed means disappointed, or confounded by the situations that we find ourselves in.
The trials and troubles that we face are the God given opportunities that will bring us closer to the pattern that our Father has set out in His word that we should become.
There is a shame that is external where we let our guard down and revert to the old nature and others feel the affect of our discretions.
There is a shame that is internal and the soul seeking to walk on the right path knows this full well, the lost opportunity to witness for the Lord, that laxity of tongue that brings discredit on the Lord.
Shame caused by our displaying characteristics of the old life, gossip, rumours, back biting
when these should have died when we were crucified with Christ.
Now the observant soul will seek to keep themselves pure by keeping the communications sweet with the Lord and upright in our walk in the Church.
The promise of God is that such a person who ever they are will be truly 'blessed' they will walk in a straight line, they will rejoice as they go and they will be satisfied with their lot.