Interesting how you can read passages from the Bible that you’ve read multiple times before and this time they take on a new light. You pull out the gems that you’ve mined before from God’s word and now, when you hold them up to the light, they shine in a different way–another facet presented, a slightly different glory evident. Such is the case with my reading of Psalm 119. For the last three or four readings, what’s stood out, almost above the exaltation of God’s word, is the desperation of the songwriter’s circumstance. Here’s a sampling:
Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me,
I do not forget Your law.
The insolent smear me with lies,
but with my whole heart I keep Your precepts;
their heart is unfeeling like fat,
but I delight in Your law.
Let the insolent be put to shame,
because they have wronged me with falsehood;
as for me, I will meditate on Your precepts.
My eyes long for Your promise;
I ask, “When will You comfort me?”
They have almost made an end of me on earth,
but I have not forsaken Your precepts.
(Psalm 119:61, 69-70, 78, 82, 87 ESV)
The songwriter’s loving the Word, because he’s known what it is to cling to the Word.
And maybe what’s punctuated it even more this morning is my reading in the gospel of Luke where Jesus is tempted by the devil (Lk. 4:1-12). Kind of a dumb idea, I’m thinking, if you’re the devil. Tempting the Son of God? Really? But maybe the devil knows just how weak the flesh really is. Perhaps thought God had gone too far in pursuit of His lost creation and that taking on flesh just might be His undoing. And thus, the confuser, the manipulator of truth, takes his best shot. And how does Jesus hold fast? How does He stand, though the cords of the wicked ensnare Him, the insolent smear Him, and His enemy tries to make an end of Him? With the word of God– “It is written!”
There are many reasons to feed regularly and deeply on God’s word. Many reasons to delight in His law, to meditate on His precepts, to know about the promises. Reasons like knowing God, knowing ourselves, and being transformed in the likeness of Christ through the renewing of our minds. But how about this one? Survival!
Getting through the day. Walking in the valley. Enduring the storm.
Fighting off despair. Saying, “No way” to the accuser’s pathetic shame tactics. Keepin’ on keepin’ on when all you want to do is curl up in the corner and wait for His coming.
The word of God really is the anchor that holds.
Don’t know how folks can do some of the harder things of life without a lifeline. How some can navigate paths which, at times, seems so random and without purpose. How people can makes sense of a world that makes little sense apart from the divine sense of the One who created and sustains all things. How they deal with being tossed all over the place by the sea of life without being tethered to something other than themselves.
So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of His purpose, He guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul . . .
(Hebrews 6:17-19a ESV)
Our anchor lies in what God has said. We’re heirs of the promises He has spoken. We’re recipients of what He has guaranteed. Holding fast to the hope He has communicated. Knowing that it is impossible for God to lie. And in that, we have an anchor for the soul.
I’m impressed this morning with the fresh realization that the songwriter’s “love letter” to the Word wasn’t born out of some intangible, ethereal, theoretical valuing of the God’s revelation. But was born out of the testing of that Word in dealing with the nitty gritty, and often extremely difficult and compromising, circumstances of life.
“It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” ~ Jesus
(Luke 4:4 ESV)
Every word . . . the anchor that holds.
By His grace. For His glory.