In this mini-study on certain sections of Psalm 119, let’s skip down to the section corresponding the Hebrew letter “Lamedh”, starting in verse 89.
Your word, LORD, is eternal;
it stands firm in the heavens.
Your faithfulness continues through all generations;
you established the earth, and it endures.
Your laws endure to this day,
for all things serve you.
Psalms 119:89-91 NIV
Here, we find that three things related to God are persistent and consistent.
God’s Word is eternal. While the Bible describes life across many centuries, along with multiple cultures, the core truths that it gives us don’t change over time. There are no discoveries that will prove it wrong, and no true epiphany that can contradict it. I like scientific discoveries, even when they change a model that was previously held, but God’s Word was true from the start, and will remain so for all time.
God’s faithfulness continues. Unlike us, who have each probably broken our share of promises and let our share of good friends down, God remains the same (see Hebrews 13:8). Think about how many times you’ve said that a friend or family member has changed, whether for the better or for worse. People change over time, and sometimes from day to day (especially when we get hungry!) God, though, is unchanging. He is always loving, always just, always holy, and always everything else that He is.
God’s laws endure. Rather than right and wrong changing on a cultural whim, it is culture that moves into or away from God’s Word. The immutable principles of righteousness are – I believe – a reflection of God’s own character, and not something that He just “made up”. In the same way, we shouldn’t expect right and wrong to be defined by the fluctuating opinions of human beings, especially since none of us has the perfection and wisdom to know universal truths in the way that God does. God is in charge of (or “sovereign over”) His creation.
Continuing in verses 92-95, the author realizes that God’s laws aren’t just “nice to have” principles, or academic concepts that we need to learn for an upcoming test. Instead, they led to salvation. Just to clarify, though, it appears from reading through these verses that God is the one who saves, but this is accomplished as the author pursues God’s law.
And, in regard to verse 96, I think of what Jesus said in Matthew 5:48, where He called us to be perfect, even though He knows that we sin. We are justified – declared righteous – through His sacrifice, so we are pronounced to be righteous (spiritually perfect), but our bodily and behavioral perfection still seems like more of a “stretch goal”. As a result, I wonder if the author of this psalm is saying that human perfection is just a target that we never reach, in contrast to God’s commands, which are greater and unassailable?
In any case, do you feel like you’re out of options, whether from illness in your body, sorrow in your heart, lostness in your soul, or pressure from other people? If so, I encourage you to read the words of this psalm, and join in the prayer of both committing to God’s Word as your compass and map, and asking God for His salvation. No one else but God can offer that.
As we pause before looking at another section of Psalm 119 in the next article, in light of the psalmist’s passion for God’s torah, let’s ask ourselves some questions:
- Are we as enamored with God’s instructions as the author of this psalm was?
- Are we desperately seeking more and more of God’s Word, both through the Bible and through Jesus Christ?
- Do we look to God’s commands as the answer to our problems, whether our issues are internal or external?
- If this psalm were to be set to our favorite kind of music (which may vary by individual), could we honestly sing along, with the same testimony about the torah?
Now, I’m not here to judge you if you don’t answer each of those questions with a resounding “Yes!” I was personally convicted as I read these passages when preparing for the original lesson (from which this series of articles was taken). Sometimes, I don’t feel much like reading the Bible or praying in the morning.
However, if we really think about it, I would hope that we can agree with the truth that is found in these passages: God’s statutes, precepts, words, commands, decrees – whatever we may call them – are the answers to our questions and the solutions to our problems.
From Sunday School lesson prepared for October 23, 2022
- The Lookout, October 23, 2022, © 2022 Christian Standard Media.
- Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
- The College Press NIV Commentary, Psalms, Volume 2, Walter D. Zorn, © 2004, College Press Publishing Co., Joplin, MO.