Oh, that it were a “just do it” sort of thing. That obedience was solely a matter of the will. That walking in the way was what you did by default once you set your heart on the way. But it doesn’t work like that, does it? Loving and learning the Scriptures alone isn’t enough when it comes to properly directing our steps. For, as an old southern gospel song reminds me, “I can’t even walk, without You holding my hand.“
This morning, it’s back to the A,B,C’s . . . actually it’s back to the Aleph, Beth, Gimel’s. Began reading in Psalm 119, the psalm that outsizes all other psalms. 176 verses parsed into 22 stanzas of 8 verses each. Each sentence in each stanza beginning with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet, each stanza working its way through the Hebrew alphabet from Aleph to Taw. Yet, each stanza focused on the same grand theme, the multi-faceted glories of God’s word and the child of God’s call to walk according to His word. And this morning, right out of the gate, a reminder: I can’t even walk without You holding my hand.
The songwriter begins with how “happy”, or how “blessed” are those who are blameless because they obey His decrees. Those who keep from doing wrong because they are too busy walking in His ways. Those who seek Him with all their heart and thus have set their hearts to learn His righteous judgments. But then, in the middle of this song of desired obedience, a chorus of intense longing.
If only my ways were committed
to keeping Your statutes!
(Psalms 119:5 CSB)
A pause for self-assessment. A deep sigh of longing. An acknowledgment of great need. I can’t even walk without You holding my hand.
Even the heart set steadfastly on His word is prone to wander. The will given sincerely over to His will, still swayed by self-will. The living sacrifice, placed by itself on the altar, has an innate tendency to want to wiggle off the altar. While happy are those who walk according to the LORD’s instructions, needful are they as well.
Needful of an abiding, constant, inner work which daily renews commitment to His statutes. Needful of a limitless store of abounding, heaven-supplied grace ready to recalibrate the good intentioned pilgrim when they wander from the way. Needful of an ever-flowing fountain, drawn from Immanuel’s veins, from which our continuing need of forgiveness is met, and our sin-tainted souls are again cleansed from all unrighteousness. Needful of a faithful, loving Father ready to intervene again and again in order to complete the work He has begun in those He has called to be His children. Ready to help them in their desire to know the blessedness of obedience.
If only my ways were committed to keeping Your statutes! They are, O Lord, help Thou my lack of commitment. For I can’t even walk without You holding my hand.
By Your grace. For Your glory.