Consider. When we consider something we think carefully about it. We consider many things within a day. We consider what we will wear, what we will eat, where will go, what we will do. Some of these things become automatic over time but we also consider, or think carefully about, things of weightier matters. We consider whether or not to go to college, take the new job, marry that person, have a child. These decisions are far more important than deciding what to wear on any given day. Yet there is another thing of far greater value to consider: the eternal state of our soul.
Taking the time to consider how our smaller decisions impact our final destination is important. When we face our sinful state with eternity in mind we begin to realize we are completely helpless to save ourselves. This realization should send us to our knees in prayer. Considering our sinful state causes us to cry out like David, pleading for God to "Consider my affliction and deliver me!"
Sin is our affliction. God is our only chance for rescue. Jesus is our Rescuer. He stands before God as our advocate and pleads our case before Almighty God. Not only is Jesus our Lawyer, He is our Argument. It is His blood, His righteousness that He pleads on our behalf. We learn this in Hebrews 9:11-15:
"But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance."
And in Isaiah 61:10 we learn it is Christ's breastplate of righteousness that we wear:
"I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robes of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels."
With Christ's breastplate of righteousness placed on us, we have the mark of salvation over our hearts. We are accepted by God. We have been delivered from eternal death.
Gathered manna from Psalm 119:153-154 is:
Considering our affliction of sin revives our desire for rescue.
How often do you consider your sinful state? What does this consideration prompt you to do? Where do you turn when you feel afflicted by sin?
Looking around at the wickedness of this world we can begin to lose all hope. It seems salvation is impossible for so many. The refusal of the wicked to seek, know, and obey God is indeed a refusal of His salvation. Many times in Scripture we are told the type of person who will not inherit eternal life. One such place is Galatians 5:19-21:
"The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God."
Through this and other Scriptures we see how close we all are of being lost forever. We have all sinned. Before accepting Christ as Savior none of us have God in our thoughts, in our hearts, in our words, or in our actions.
Psalm 10:4: "In his pride the wicked man does not seek Him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God."
Psalm 14:1: "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.' They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good."
Psalm 12:3-4: "May the Lord silence all flattering lips and every boastful tongue - those who say, 'By our tongues we will prevail; our own lips will define us - who is lord over us?'"
Titus 1:15-16: "To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and their consciences are corrupted. They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient, and unfit for doing anything good."
Without God, salvation is far from the wicked. But God is never far, even from those who refuse to believe. His mercy keeps Him close. Psalm 103:8-12:
"The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will He harbor His anger forever; He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us."
God is near. His salvation is complete. But we must ask Him for that salvation. It is His desire to redeem all people; even the most vile among us. Peter tells us:
"The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some count slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."
2 Peter 3:9
Gathered manna from Psalm 119:155-157 is:
Considering God's gift of salvation revives our concern for the wicked.
How have your mind, heart, words, and actions changed since accepting Christ? What is your attitude toward the unbelieving? Who do you know that needs God's gift? How can you pray for them? Ask God to guide you in your witness to this person.
Though we need to have compassion for the eternal state of the lost, we should not tolerate their wickedness. Like David we should be disgusted when the wicked disgrace God's Word because they are disgracing God by default. When God's Word has revived us we will have an urgency for the lost. We will be joyful when a sinner repents and comes to faith. Jesus said:
"In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." Luke 15:10
We will also be sorrowful when a person rejects the truth. Like Jesus we will cry out for their souls. With revival of God's Word in us comes a sensitivity to the heart of God. Revival causes us to begin to think like Jesus, feel compassion and sorrow as He did, speak as He spoke, and act as He acted. Revival of God's Word in us sparks our love and deepens our desire for His Word.
At the beginning of this section we see David crying out to God: "Consider my affliction."
At the end he is crying out: "Consider my affection."
David's affliction fueled his affection. As we consider our affliction of sin and turn to God our love for Him grows. Our affliction should fuel our affection. The apathy of the wicked toward God's Word should fuel our affection for His Word.
Gathered manna from Psalm 119:158-160 is:
Considering how the wicked disgrace God revives our love for Him and His Word.
How has revival of God's Word in your life given you urgency for the lost? How has revival of God's Word in your life made you sensitive to His heart for others? How has your sin affliction fueled affection for God? For His Word?
Gathered manna from Resh (Psalm 119:153-160) is:
Considering the eternal truth of God's Word revives our strength to stand firm in affliction.
While our affliction should fuel our affection, for many that is far from true. Many face the trials of life with frustration; their affliction fuels anger instead. They become angry at others, angry at themselves, angry at the situation, and angry at God. This was not the case with David. He had learned to be content in God alone, to look up instead of out when trials came his way.
Several years ago as I was walking through a long trial I was becoming angry that God had not yet moved in my situation. I was waking often during the night, rising long before the dawn to cry out to God. On one such occasion I was in a hotel room with my husband and our two youngest children. In order to keep from waking them, I went onto the balcony. As I sat there in the darkness listening to the waves of the ocean, my eyes strained to see. Suddenly the words, "Look up" trailed through my mind. I looked up. There in the night sky, as always, were millions of stars. Their beauty so breathtaking I forgot my troubles and stared up in awe. I heard God whisper, "Train yourself to look up."
David had trained himself to look up. At the beginning of this Psalm he had lamented:
"Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying Your decrees!" Psalm 119:5
Now he declares:
"I rejoice in Your Word like one who has found great treasure." Psalm 119:162
The word used here for treasure denotes the spoil of battle. In order to take the plunder one first had to fight the battle and win. The same is true with God's Word. In order to take the treasure found within His Word one must fight a battle to study, to search, to seek until the treasure of understanding is won. Fighting for time to truly study God's Word wins us the treasure of knowing Him intimately.
In Matthew 13 we read the story Jesus told of the man who found a great treasure in a field. He sold all he had in order to buy that field and gain the treasure. This should be our attitude about studying God's Word. We should be willing to let go of other pursuits in order to spend the time necessary to study. In this social media saturated world it is extremely easy to waste hours of our time scrolling through pictures and comments of other people's lives and views. What if we spent even a fraction of that time scrolling through the Bible gaining God's view on life?
Spending time in God's Word reveals His sovereignty over all of life. He is sovereign over our good times and bad; sovereign over our afflictions and trials as much as over our blessings; sovereign over our interactions with those who afflict us as much as over our relationships with those who love us. David had learned this lesson about God's sovereignty. In Psalm 118:5-7 he cried out:
"When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; He brought me into a spacious place. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? The Lord is with me; He is my helper. I look with triumph on my enemies."
Considering God's sovereignty puts an end to the lies of our enemy. The more we study God's Word for ourselves the quicker we are able to recognize the lies Satan tries to feed us everyday. Our social media feeds are filled with ammunition for his lies. Lies that say we aren't enough. Lies that say their life is better than ours. Lies that say God is blessing their ministry more than ours. Lies that say because our "numbers" are low, we are not smart enough to be of any use to God. Jesus told us Satan has been a liar from the beginning and is the father of lies. Studying God's Word, hiding it in our hearts, and training ourselves to look up are all ways we fight the battle against Satan's lies.
Gathered manna from Psalm 119:161-163 is:
Considering God's sovereignty revives our love for His Word.
What can you do to ensure your afflictions don't fuel anger? How can you train yourself to look up? Where do you spend the majority of your time? How can you fight for time to study God's Word? What lies is your social media thread feeding you? How can you combat these lies? Search God's Word for truths that combat the specific lies Satan is aiming your way.
The treasure of intimacy with God is something we each have to find for ourselves. We can't simply read what others glean from their study of the Bible and expect to grow deeper in our understanding. We can't simply listen to sermons once a week and expect to gain intimacy with Christ. We can't simply pray at meal times or when we are experiencing difficulties and expect to hear from God regularly. The Message paraphrases Colossians 3:17 like this:
"And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives - words, actions, whatever - be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way."
I think that's what David meant when he declared:
"Seven times a day I praise You for Your righteous laws."
In the Jewish culture seven stands for completeness. Learning to praise God no matter what is happening in our lives enables us to feel His presence with us. Learning to praise God in all circumstances brings His comfort and peace. Learning to praise God in all situations makes our sacrifice of praise complete. Learning to praise God no matter what means our trust in Him is complete; we have considered His sovereignty and are at peace with His control. Like Isaiah we are able to say:
"You keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You." Isaiah 26:3
Gathered manna from Psalm 119:164-165 is"
Considering God's sovereignty revives our peaceful trust in Him.
How often do you praise God? How can you turn your worry to worship of God? How can you turn your problems to praise of God? Not a flippant, "Oh, well, praise the Lord anyway" type of praise but a genuine praise of God for His sovereign control of your life.
As we learn to praise God continually our joy is sparked. We begin to realize the blessing our salvation truly is and we rejoice in this gift. This realization sparks our desire to obey God's Word. However, like David we also realize we are completely helpless to obey God. We understand what Paul told the Romans:
"Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God's laws, and it never will. That's why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to Him at all.) And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, He will give life to your mortal bodies by the same Spirit living within you. Therefore, dear bothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live." Romans 8:5-13
Realizing we cannot obey God without the help of His Spirit establishes His sovereignty over our lives. Jesus is our example of complete obedience to God. He gave His life in obedience. John tells us in 1 John 2:3-6:
"Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, 'I know Him,' and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His Word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also walk just as He walked."
In other words, we should do the things Jesus did, we must obey the Father. We must give up our sin nature in order to obey. We can only do this if we are completely surrendered to the Holy Spirit and submitted to God's lordship.
Gathered manna from Psalm 119:166-168 is:
Considering God's sovereignty revives our desire to obey.
Where are you allowing your sin nature to control your life? How can you submit to God's lordship in this area? Look up verses that will help you be obedient in this area. Commit to memorizing at least one of those verses this week. Click the "Free Download" button at the top of this post to download a prayer I pray daily to help me submit to God's sovereignty.
Gathered manna from Shin (Psalm 119:153-168) is:
Considering God's sovereignty revives our devotion to Him and His Word.
I pray we will all consider and be revived this week!
Until next time,
God bless and keep you,
1) Read Psalm 119:153-168. Mark every reference to God's Word.
2) Prayerfully answer the questions in this lesson.
3) Read the book of Jonah (its only 4 short chapters!). Answer the following questions:
What was the state of Jonah's heart and mind when God first called him?
How did Jonah's attitude about the people of Nineveh cause him to disobey?
What were Jonah's afflictions?
How did his afflictions fuel his affection?
How did Jonah's attitude change as he learned to submit to God?
What was the outcome of his submissive obedience?
What other lessons can we learn from Jonah?