Who are we?

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.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Prayer that is heard (Psalm 119:145-152)

In this section of the psalm, the psalmist reveals the intensity of his prayer life with regard to his awareness of the necessity of keeping God’s commandments. Verse 145 shows that his whole being was involved; this is not surprising because all true prayer is a cry from the heart. Mere lip prayers go no higher than the ceiling.

Verse 146 further shows that obedience to his God was the priority in the psalmist’s life. He wanted to be delivered from his various enemies, but the reason why he wanted to be delivered was so that he could observe God’s testimonies. The psalmist realised what all true Christians know, which is that they are saved by Jesus in order to serve him. 

In verses 147 and 148, the psalmist tells us at what times of day he prayed. He prayed early in the morning (he rose before dawn, and dawn in the Middle East is about 6am) and he prayed after the sun had set (which in the Middle East is about 6pm). Perhaps he is telling us that he could not have set times of prayer during daylight hours because his time would be taken with everyday matters. Or he is telling us that the best way to begin each day and to close each day is with prayer and meditation on the Bible. Or maybe he is saying that structured prayer times are essential for a meaningful spiritual life.

How does he know that God will hear him? The answer is his understanding of God’s covenant loyalty (or steadfast love). While the psalmist knows that he is sinful, he also knows that his God is completely just when he answers such prayers for deliverance (v. 149). The reason why he is just is because answered prayer is one of the blessings he freely gives to those he has pardoned. 

Daily the psalmist sees both his opponents and his God drawing near to him (vv. 150-51). This is a good way to understand each day. His opponents draw near to confront him because he obeys God’s law, and his God draws near to him because his obedience to that law delights God. The psalmist realised he could not please God and the opponents of God at the same time. Every day, he would please one or the other. And it was his desire to ensure that he pleased God.

In verse 152, the psalmist expresses his delight that whatever happens in the future God’s laws will remain as the only way to please him and live a fulfilled life. This is a reminder that other notions about life and how to live it all disappear eventually. A future containing the prospect of total obedience is the same as anticipating the life of heaven in the next world. And we get foretastes of it as we obey our God day by day. 

No comments:

Post a Comment