Brad Libolt’s teaching from Sunday morning middle school group. He spoke on Psalm 119:33-40. He talked about the ways in which we place worthless things above Christ, thinking the things we enjoy are more important than God and forgetting that the people we love do not know him.
There is a lot of repetition in the bible, as well as in this psalm. The psalmist says the same thing over and over again to express what is really important and to express how much he loves God’s law.
33Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes; and I will keep it to the end.
We keep seeing the recurring theme that we need God to teach us his statutes. This is a way of life, not just rules to follow.
They way of God’s statutes is the walk of a Christian, so we should ask God to teach us this and to continue to walk in the rest of our life.
When we accept Christ, it changes the way we live our lives. Keeping God’s statutes is a lifelong pursuit. We will never reach a point where we no longer need to learn or grow; we should always be growing and always be living in the way of God.
34 Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart.
We need God to give us understanding, because when we understand God’s law we can observe it with our whole heart, with all of our love and affection.
We need to understand God’s word in order to love it with our whole life. For example, the more you understand a subject in school, the more likely you are to enjoy the same subject. In the same way, the more we understand and know God, the more we enjoy spending time with him.
There are three actions here.
- Attentive ears. We need to listen. If we want God to give us wisdom, we have to be willing to listen. Ears should to open and attentive.
- Inclined hearts. Incline means to stretch, or lengthen. So we need to stretch our hearts for God’s understanding, which takes humility. We need to realize that our hearts do not fully understand God, we need to be stretched.
- Call out/raise your voice. There needs to be a calling out, a request. We need to speak out and ask God for his understanding.
35 Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it.
We’ve talked about this before, how we delight in God’s commandments but we can’t always follow them. We want to follow God’s commandments but often our flesh, our sin does the opposite.
But even when we fail to follow God’s commandments, we do not fall out of his path. Although we continue to sin and fall, there is always more grace for us.
36 Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain!
This is a request for the psalmist’s heart to be stretched to the things that God has revealed about himself, not to benefit himself but for God’s glory. This can be difficult for us because we are all selfish.
37 Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.
We have a lot of worthless things in our life that distract us from the ways of God. Take down a minute to write down some worthless things that you often find yourself looking at, things that do not have any eternal value. This can include sports, video games, being cool, how people see you, getting good grades.
These aren’t necessarily bad things, but when they consume our energy and our time, they can become worthless. You can’t take sports trophies, report cards, video game scores, or a boyfriend to heaven.
But what can you take? You can take people. Who are some people in your life who are unbelievers, who you care about? What could happen if you spent the time you spend on the worthless things and instead used that time on the people you can take? What if we took that time to evangelize, to tell people about Jesus?
38 Confirm to your servant your promise, that you may be feared.
The fear of God isn’t like a fear of the dark or spiders, it is more of an awe of who he is. It is a respect, a reverence for God and who he is. God is amazing, wonderful, powerful, and big, and we should have a certain level of respect and fear of him. When we see more of who God is, the more awesome he becomes, and the more we should fear him.
When did we see the most of who God is? In Jesus’ death and resurrection. That is when we most clearly the glorification and perfection of God. God has promised many things, but his ultimate promise is that he would send a king, a messiah to save his people from their sin, and he did that in Jesus. We get to read about this and see who God is and his love and grace and mercy.
39 Turn away the reproach that I dread, for your rules are good.
This is a request for God to get rid of the shame, sin, and evil that we dread and to remind us of his grace and love.
40 Behold, I long for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life!
Our own righteousness doesn’t give us life, because we are unrighteous. It is God’s righteousness that gives us life.
We want life, we want joy, we want to see our friends to come to know Christ as their Savior. Let’s be people who walk in the path of the Lord, knowing we are secure, and sharing the righteousness of Christ that is available to all our friends and family that don’t know him.