Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Settled Law Leading To a Settled Life - Psalm 119 (part 11)

"Forever, O LORD, Thy word is settled in the heaven.
Thy faithfulness continues throughout all generations;
Thou didst establish the earth, and it stands.
They stand this day according to Thine ordinances,
for all things are Thy servants.
If Thy law had not been my delight,
then I would have perished in my affliction.
I will never forget Thy precepts,
for by them Thou hast revived me."
(Ps 119:89-93)

God's Word, which Psalm 119 tells us much about, is said to be "settled". It is unmoving, steadfast, unshakeable, certain, secure, and solid. It doesn't change with the seasons or alter with the tide. It is a firm foundation! We can count on the word of God and because of its settled nature it is the ONLY safe place upon which to build our lives. More on that in a minute.

Why is the law of the LORD such a trustworthy thing? Because of the One who is the Author of it. It is the Word of GOD and as such it is a reflection of the Holy and Righteous Judge of all the earth. It is His Word. 2 Timothy tells us that it is the very breath of the Living God and David in this Psalm reminds us that this God's "faithfulness continues throughout all generations." We can trust what He has said and what He has said is recorded for us on the pages of the Bible.

This settled law has many, many practical benefits for our life - benefits for the good times and for the bad times of our life. Here our attention is, once again, drawn to the grand and glorious blessing that the word is to us in the trials of life.

"David was in affliction and was ready to perish in his affliction" (Henry) but the law of His all-wise and sovereign God was the preserving delight that kept him from sinking in the floodwaters of sorrow. "If Thy law had not been my delight, then I would have perished in my affliction."

In the law of God, David found the promises of God and they were indeed a firm foundation in the midst of crumbling circumstances. I am reminded of Rippon's great hymn "How Firm a Foundation."

"How firm a foundation, you saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in His excellent Word! What more can He say than to you He has said, to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?

'Fear not, I am with you, O be not dismayed; for I am your God, and will still give you aid; I'll strengthen you, help you, and cause you to stand, upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call you to go, the rivers of sorrow shall not overflow: for I will be with you, your troubles to bless, and sanctify to you your deepest distress.

When through fiery trials your pathway shall lie, my grace, all-sufficient, shall be your supply; the flame shall not hurt you; I only design your dross to consume and your gold to refine.

The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose, I will not, I will not desert to his foes; that soul though all hell should endeavor to shake, I'll never no never, no never forsake.'"

That well known hymn is a great summary of this well known Psalm. We have a firm foundation which is laid out for us in God's excellent Word. Are we leaning upon, fleeing to, and resting in that settled Law? Are we trusting the promises of that word in the deep waters and fiery trials? If not we need to. With David we need to delight in this gloriously settled Word of God.

That is the very thing our Lord Jesus was pointing us to at the end of the sermon on the mount. He proclaims to all who will listen:

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man, who built his house upon the rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock."
A life built on the settled and firm foundation of the Rock of God's Word is secure - no matter what storms assail it. There is no hurricane so intense that it can cause this home to tumble. We need to remember that and we need to build our lives upon it. The sand shifts and the house built upon that sandy soil will topple. David knew these things to be true and therefore David delighted in the firm foundation that was carved deep into the statutes of God.

David went through alot of testing trials. He had ample opportunity to test and try whether or not these things were true. Much had happened to him - many things that I am certain he would have liked to forget in his life. However, there was one thing he was determined to remember and never forget - the precepts of God. "I will never forget Thy precepts." And why? Because David knew that "by them Thou hast revived me."

Dear friends, are you need of reviving mercies in the afflictions of life? I surely am. With David, in the grace of Christ, may we flee to the settled Law that we might live a settled life, may we build upon it, delight in it, and never forget it.

In His glorious grace,

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed your testimony in the sidebar. And you have chosen a "great hymn" indeed to comment on! Almost every word of "How Firm a Foundation," after the first stanza, is taken from Scripture.

    If you enjoy reading about our hymns and their authors, I invite you to check out my daily blog on the subject, Wordwise Hymns. A brief article on "How Firm a Foundation" can be found here...