Journal Ps 119:153-176 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “Great is your mercy, O Lord; give me life according to your rules…Consider how I love your precepts! Give me life according to your steadfast love…I hope for your salvation, O Lord, and I do your commandments…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.” Excerpts from Ps 119:156; v159; v166; 174-175
Observation: I am struck by how different the Psalmist speaks verses how I speak. I don’t talk like this; I use different phrases and words. So different, in fact, I wonder if I worship the same God he does?
Analysis: Ok, not really—but it makes me think and consider. I must think about it; I shouldn’t gloss over the differences, especially if the Holy Spirit is highlighting it.
I think of this sentence (which started me on this rabbit trail): “…give me life according to your [BLANK].” If I were to place this on a “fill in the blank” sort of questionnaire, I would probably finish it with “GRACE.” No surprise there, I think.
What puzzles me is that I don’t readily think of any number of words that would go into that blank. Oh, I can come up with a dozen or so words, but the FIRST word? The first word would not be RULES.
And that bothers me.
Going back to an earlier post about “the first thing that pops up in my mind? That is the idol of my heart” and considering “Can I make grace an idol?” Difficult to think about and I do not have a ready answer.
I believe what is certain is that if I stop at “GRACE” and never learn of the Gospel past “GRACE”, somehow, I am not doing what is expected of a believer and that is Pursuing Him.
Do I long for His presence, but am bored with His Word? Do I like the feeling I get when exerting myself in demonstrative worship, but can’t work up the gumption to sit with a book and a pencil and paper and study precepts? Doctrine? Do I like easy to read stuff but avoid old, dead, guys? Can I get excited at strong preaching or do I like lukewarm, non-offensive, obliquely referenced preaching? Do I get offended easily when confronted with the Word of God?
Do I actively and mentally equate the following: Life—rules; Precepts—life; Hope of salvation—doing commandments; longing for salvation—delighting in the Law; Let my soul live and…your rules help me.”
Candidly, I don’t. Not all the time, anyway. I work at this…not well, not often enough, but yeah, I work at this. It is the cumulative work of decades to get to where I am.
Today I am thinking about the 15-25-year-old folks in the local church. 15-25 is where most of my growth happened in me (at least I think so). When I see 15-25 people, do I think I see reflections? If I don’t, why? Is it me? Is it them? This weighs on my heart and I don’t know why.
Prayer: Lord, only You know. Only You. My grandchildren are not far from this time.
Cause revival. AMEN.