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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Psalm 119:65-72 - Gratitude for God's Faithfulness

The ninth section of the psalm focuses on the faithfulness of God. In verse 65, the psalmist acknowledges that the Lord has ‘dealt well with your servant,... according to your word.’ Of course, every believer should be able to say the same, but they are not able to say it until they spend some time thinking and recalling the ways in which God has done so. Merely repeating the words of the psalmist is not the same as realising personally what God has done for us.

One essential aspect of God’s faithfulness is his ongoing instruction of his people (vv. 66, 68). Today, we limit instruction to the mind or to what people learn about a particular detail or task. In the Bible, divine teaching affected the whole of live simultaneously. If a person was taught to love the Lord, he revealed what he had learned by thinking about God, by speaking about him (or to him), and by obeying his commandments (v. 70). The prayer petitions of the psalmist reveal he was divinely instructed. He asked to be taught how to obey.

The psalmist had undergone a time of affliction (vv. 67, 71). He does not say what the affliction was (perhaps it was derision, v. 69), but he does say that it was profitable for him because through it he learned what God wanted. Sometimes the only way in which God is able to instruct us is to bring something into our lives in which we have to focus on him and his requirements. They may be painful times, but we will soon appreciate that they are also profitable for our souls.

What is the outcome of divine teaching? In addition to practising God’s will, we will realise that God’s Word (its stories, its instructions, its promises, and its warnings) is more useful than all the riches of the world (v. 72). Ask yourself honestly, ‘Would you rather have a Bible or one million pounds?’ Your answer will tell you what your real interests are.

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