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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.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Single-mindedness (Psalm 119:113-120)

The psalmist continues his meditations on God’s Word. In this section he begins by contrasting himself with the double-minded person (v. 113). Usually when a person has double of anything, say money or possessions, he or she can do more with it. A double-minded person, however, cannot do anything. Such may wonder how they can find out what to do, especially as there is so much conflicting advice out there. The information we need is found in the Bible. The psalmist himself had discovered the preciousness of God’s Word – he knew that he loved it because it guided him through life day by day.

He had discovered that what the Bible says is true, therefore he would persist in his hope. It has many promises of protection to those who practise its requirements – the Lord hides and shields those who trust in him from spiritual danger (v. 114). Therefore, the psalmist had no intention of keeping company with any who intended to break God’s commandments (v. 115). Of course, it is interesting that the ones whom God keeps are the ones who don’t wish to depart from him.

The psalmist knew how to use the promises found in God’s Word – they became petitions in his prayers (vv. 116-17). We know that we are reading the promises correctly when we use them in our prayers. A wise believer will ask God constantly to uphold him, not only so that he will be kept from falling, but also so that he will be enabled to live out God’s commandments. The psalmist’s strongest desire was to obey God from his heart.

Another motive that the psalmist had for obeying God was the punishment that he would inflict on those who disobey him (vv. 118-20). Even although the psalmist had been delivered from the penalty of sin, he still trembled at the thought of an angry God. A Christian should never think lightly of God’s attitude towards sin.

James Boice wrote that ‘Verse 120 should be read carefully, prayerfully, and with repentance by every Christian, particularly the evangelical Christians of our day. It is speaking of a reverent awe of God, an important element of walking uprightly before him. There is precious little of this spirit today. Instead of being in awe before God, many in our day seem to regard him more as a buddy, which only shows that we do not know much about God at all. And isn’t that why there is so little truly godly conduct and why we are so much like the world?’

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