“Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live,
And keep thy word.”
To think that all the Earth is the Lords and the fullness thereof, to think that not only does it all belong to the Lord but that he gives to whomsoever he will all he desires to give, to think again moreover that those who are his own will inherit not only eternal life, though that would suffice me; not only eternal communion with Christ, though that would be my only full desire fulfilled; but we shall inherit that which is his own, that which our Lord inherits!
We are partakers of the heavenly calling (Heb 3:1), partakers of Christ (Heb 3:14), partakers of the Holy Ghost (Heb 6:4) partakers of the inheritance (Col 1:12), partakers of the benefit (1 Tim 1:6), partakers of the fruits (2 Tim 2:6) Partakers of his grace (Phil 1:7), partakers of his promise (Eph 3:6) together with the partakers of the sufferings (2 Cor 1:7) and partakers of the afflictions of the gospel (2 Tim 1:8).
In all this, it is difficult to see how the Lord has not dealt bountifully with us. O that we would “keep his word”
“Open thou mine eyes,
That I may behold wondrous things out of thy law”.
O to think of the pure beauty of this verse, it’s incredible and truthful simplicity and petition to the Lord who opened the eyes of he who was born blind. “Open thou mine eyes”. Eyes closed by vanity, closed by sin, closed by pride, closed by our own hands, unwilling to see and unwilling to behold the true wonder of Christ and his word.
But what wonderful things are there to truly behold? My sin exchanged for the righteousness of God (Phil 3:9) How? he who knew no sin, became sin for us (2 Cor 5:21) ….What? How can this be? By his stripes we are healed…(Isa 53:5), he bare our sins in his body (2 Pet 2:24), he gave his life as a ransom….(Mat 20:28) Why would he do such a thing? Because he loves me (John 3:16, 1 John 4:19, Rev 1:5), but what love is this? Love that passes knowledge (Eph 3:17-18)
Could my eyes possibly be open to this? Are these just some of the wondrous things to behold out of his law? Please, please O Lord, Open thou mine eyes!!
“I am a stranger in the earth:
Hide not thy commandments from me.”
It is not the years, but even more so the months and even the weeks that roll by in the which I could consider myself more and more a stranger in the earth. It seems almost daily that the men of this world make new commandments displacing that which God had ordained to govern the world in righteousness. It is to these commandments, decrees and political partialities that I find myself increasingly estranged. Ideas are floated, statements are made, laws are enacted and all seem to nod their heads or shrug their shoulders; either agreement or complacency marks their affiliation to this world.
But those who are called the children of the most high look forward to a home in heaven where the commandments of the Lord govern, where the light of the Lord of glory shines in perpetual daylight, and shared in a communion of a multitude who also found themselves strangers in the earth. We then comfort ourselves while on the earth with the word of God; reading, studying and memorizing it, so it can never be hidden as we sojourn while Jesus tarries.
“My soul breaketh for the longing
That it hath unto thy judgments at all times.”
Jesus said “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matt 5:6), the hunger those who are the Lords have for Jesus and the longing thirst we all desire for the written manifestation of the righteousness of Christ, imbedded deeply within our hearts that all our living is done in the light of it, is a longing that breaks the soul.
Scripture uses the words ‘soul’ and ‘heart’ synonymously in this context, we gain understanding of it when seeing how often the two words share commonality in the same verse throughout scripture. Deuteronomy is where our Lord brings to us the Golden rule, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” (Mt 23:37).
It is now that the law of God is written upon the hearts of those who have been born anew (Heb 8:10-13). But the keeping of it is that which we long for, often with tears as David did (Psalm 119:136). We now see through a glass darkly, but not forever (1 Cor 13:12).
“Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed,
Which do err from thy commandments.”
Upset we often become when we see man turn from the commandments of God. There are times when we find ourselves so angry at being even the victims of their revelry, thinking it so unfair to be harmed either physically or financially, though nevertheless unjustly. We risk to think to ourselves to what end do we then be faithful to the commands of the Lord when these ‘proud’ gain from our loss? Why do the wicked prosper (Jer 12:1, Ps 37:1)?
But do they prosper? “Why yes” you tell me, “they have gained at my expense, certainly they prosper”. But they do not prosper! They have been rebuked by the Lord and are cursed for their error. They would live life thinking to themselves that to gain from the loss of another is benefit, until they come to their end and discover that they would give all they had in life for a single drop of water to cool their tongue in death (Lk 16:24). No, there is no prosperity for any who turn from the commandments of God, cursed they are.
“Remove from me reproach and contempt;
For I have kept thy testimonies.”
There are those who would “live Godly in Christ Jesus” who shall suffer persecution, for this shall apply to all who would do so (2 Tim 3:12). There was a time past in our life that we “wrought the will of the gentiles”, that is, we lived life according to the same manner in which the world does, everything from all forms of lusts and drunkenness and revellings and idolatries. But now our heartfelt desire has been changed from within to keep the testimonies of the Lord, to the point at which Peter reminds us that “they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:” (1 Pet 4:4).
This is the reproach the psalmist identifies; this is the contempt he seeks the Lord will remove from him for doing nothing more than personally keeping the testimonies of the Lord. But we are also counted as sheep for the slaughter, and we are so for the Lords sake (Rom 8:36). We are to be willing to stand alone, confident that if the world will see us fall, we will yet stand at the last day, for our hope is not in man, but in Christ.
“Princes also did sit and speak against me:
But thy servant did meditate in thy statutes.”
There is no guarantee that those who are in authority over we who meditate upon the statutes of the Lord, will not sit and speak against us. The prophet here recognizes this same effect that occurs upon him. But rather than take heed to the rising trials, his focus and meditation is upon the statutes of the Lord; the word of God.
This is what we are to think upon. The Bible is what we are to meditate about. True meditation is upon that which illuminates our minds and not upon nothing. Our thoughts on scripture takes our minds away from that which would afflict us and places it upon the one who saved us. In this our trials are minimized in both heart and mind, in this we joy in tribulations also (James 1:2).
Our thoughts then should not give space to those who govern our bodies, this will not bring comfort. But every meditation upon the word of God will govern our hearts and we will certainly find rest for our souls. Think on these things. (Phil 4:8)
“Thy testimonies also are my delight
And my counsellers.”
It is with great sadness that I do consider how few Christians read the testimonies of the Lord, let alone have them as their delight. Nothing is promised to change and transform us, nothing is promised to bring us greater comfort, nothing can even convert the soul, other than the testimonies of God.
It was asked of Paul when consideration was made of the great salvation that is wrought among the gentiles, through the death of Christ, What advantage then hath the Jew? To which his reply emphatically affirmed “Much every way, chiefly, because unto them were committed the oracles of God” (Rom 3:1-2).
This is their advantage; and not just as an addendum, but “chiefly”. Unlike all the nations of the world, it was the word of God in the Old Testament that counselled the people of God. But those who have in hand the completed word of God number many who delight not to even look upon it. But if they will turn and begin to delight in his testimonies, they will find no greater counsellers.