Updated: Jul 21, 2019
Have you ever watched someone knitting or crocheting? Maybe you know how to weave yarn together in such a way something beautiful emerges. My older sister learned how to tat when she was younger and when she finally had her little girl she made the most adorable hand smocked dresses with hand tatted lace trimming them. We have an aunt that has crocheted a blanket for every one of her great nieces and nephews despite the fact that she's losing her eyesight. Unfortunately, I have never learned the craft of hand weaving beautiful things. It has always intrigued me and I have attempted a couple of times to no avail. I have concluded the sad fact: I am not a weaver of yarn.
God, on the other hand, is the Master Weaver. His Word contains the most exquisite woven tapestry of all time. As we read the Bible one strand of thread begins to stand apart from all others. Sometimes this thread seems to have disappeared completely from the tapestry, getting lost among stories of floods and nomads walking the earth. Tales of powerful plagues and bloodstained doorposts. Sagas of crossing seas on dry ground and wilderness wonderings. Narratives of shepherd boy versus giant and kingships and battles. So many places this one special, crimson thread seems non-existent. Though we don't always recognize it, this thread is the seam of the entire tapestry, the thread that holds it all together.
In Psalm 119:41 David declares: "May Your unfailing love come to me, Lord, Your salvation, according to Your promise." This promised salvation is contained in the tapestry of God's Word. Paul tells us in Romans 10:17:
"Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word about Christ."
Before any of us can believe the word about Christ we must hear the word about Christ. There can be no salvation where there is no sharing of God's Word. God's word contains promise after promise about His mercy, grace, and His lavish love for humanity. God's promise of salvation began in the garden and continues throughout the pages of His Word. Go back with me to Genesis 3. Adam and Eve have broken fellowship with God through disobedience. God comes seeking their company only to find them hiding because they are naked and ashamed. The ensuing conversation is a perfect picture of the "blame game"! Adam blames Eve, Eve blames the serpent; nobody wants to take responsibility for this infraction. God, because He is holy, must issue punishment. This punishment comes in the form of a curse; first to the serpent, the agent of the sin; then to Adam and Eve, the perpetrators of the sin.
To the serpent He says:
"Cursed are you...And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." Genesis 3:15
This verse is the first glimpse of the thread of redemption. Biblical scholars call this the protoevageluim, meaning the first announcement of the good news, the first promise of Messiah. www.answersingenesis.org
The KJV uses the word "seed" in place of "offspring". The Hebrew is zerah which can mean en masse or lone. The pronoun "he" in the latter part of the verse is singular clearly pointing to one man who will strike a deadly blow to the serpent. Genesis 3:15 gives us the "who" of God's promise. Genesis 3:21 gives us the "how".
"The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them."
Blood was shed to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve. Blood would need to be shed to redeem all humanity from the nakedness of sin. This blood stained yarn is entwined throughout the Old Testament and is the seam stitch tied securely to the cross of Christ. Time and time again we see God's promise of a man, a Savior, Messiah. We see it in the story of Noah and the saving of his family from the flood. We see it in Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Joseph. We see it in Moses and the Israelites, in God's miraculous deliverance from Egyptian slavery and provision in the wilderness. We see it in David and his defeat of Goliath; his fleeing from the wrath of Saul; his rise to kingship. This blood stained yarn is what David speaks of in Psalm 119:41, God's promise of salvation as seen in His word.
Once we have accepted God's generous gift of salvation we must do as David suggests in verse 42, we must trust in God's word to be the only answer to our critics. Those who do not believe the Gospel message will criticize believers at every turn. Some will be openly hostile. Some will quietly question. Still others will observe our lives for evidence against our witness. Regardless of who our critic may be and the method of their criticism, Peter and Paul give us some sound advice about answering them.
"But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect..." 1 Peter 3:15
"Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." Colossians 4:6
"Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage - with great patience and careful instruction." 2 Timothy 4:2
Always be prepared with grace-filled words, seasoned with the salt of God's love. Knowing God's word prepares us to fight our biggest critic, Satan himself. That's because God's word is active and alive and sharpener than a double edged sword. Knowing God's word gives us strength to wield well the sword, stabbing the lies of Satan, slashing them to shreds with God's truth.
Gathered manna from Psalm 119:41-42 is:
Knowing and trusting in God's word provides all the answers our critics need.
How well do you know God's Word? What is one thing you can do today to better prepare for the ongoing battle with our critic?
Being prepared with grace-filled words means memorizing God's Word, hiding it in our hearts and having it in our mouths. Like David we need to plead with God to never take His Word from our mouths. Having God's Word in our mouths is proof of our salvation.
"But what does it say? 'The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,' that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved." Romans 10:8-10 NIV
Placing our hope in God's Word leads to the desire to obey His Word. Our obedience is evidence of our love for God and His Word. Jesus said:
"If you love Me, obey My commandments." John 14:15 NLT
And later in John 14 He concluded:
"Those who accept My commandments and obey them are the ones who love Me. And because they love Me, My Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them." John 14:21 NLT
Our love for God leads to our obedience to His word which always leads to freedom. Many people fear surrendering to God because they feel they will lose all freedom over their lives. The opposite is actually true. Total surrender to God leaves us free to pursue His will for our lives. Knowing God's Word, having it in our mouths, obeying it, and being devoted to it; this is where true freedom lies. Jesus said in John 8:
"If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free...So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."
Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 3:17:
"For the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."
Placing our hope in God's Word gives us freedom to live the life He designed for us to live. Like David, we can proclaim: "I walk in freedom because I love Your Word!"
Gathered manna from Psalm 119:43-45 is:
Hope in God's Word brings true freedom.
Where does your hope lie? How can you place your hope in God's Word today? What one thing do you need to do differently in order to obey God's Word today? Where do you need to walk in the freedom God offers through His Spirit? How can you do this?
As we become more and more familiar with God's Word we begin to gain confidence to speak out about our faith. Like David, we do not fear speaking before the great men of our day because we know God is with us. As He told Joshua after the death of Moses, so God says to us:
"No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you...This is My command - be strong and very courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:5,9
Our choice to know and obey God's Word comes with the blessing of His presence and His protection. God keeps His faithful servants from facing shame or disgrace. He tells us through Isaiah:
"For the Lord God helps me; therefore have I not been ashamed or confounded. Therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know I shall not be put to shame."
Isaiah 50:7 AMP
Making the daily choice to spend time in God's Word bathes our lives in His wisdom, enabling us to make God honoring decisions.
Gathered manna from Psalm 119:46-48 is:
Those who love and delight in God's Word never face shame.
Where does your confidence lie? How can you gain the confidence to boldly share God's Word? Have you set aside time daily to spend with God? What is one thing you can sacrifice this week in order to spend more time in the Word?
Gathered manna from Waw (Psalm 119:41-48) is:
Trust in and obedience to God's Word gives boldness to unashamedly speak about Him.
As we spend time with God in His Word, He begins speaking to us in personal ways. We begin hearing the promises of Scripture whispered into our souls. And those promises carry us through all life's ups and downs. In verses 49-50 David begs God to remember His promises. God doesn't need to be reminded of His promises; He is God and He never forgets. What God does desire is to hear His children reciting Hs promises back to Him in the form of prayer. There is power in praying for God to remember His promises. God tells us through Isaiah:
"As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is My word that goes out from My mouth: it will not return to Me void, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."
Asking God to remember His promise to us is to appropriate His promise in our lives. His promise of purpose that brings hope (Jeremiah 29:11). His promise of peace that brings comfort (Isaiah 66:12-13). His promise of salvation that brings life, abundant now and eternal in the heavens (John 3:15-16, John 10:10).
Gathered manna from Psalm 119:49-50 is:
God's Word brings hope, comfort, and life to the weary soul.
What promises have you heard God whisper as you've studied His Word? How can you turn that promise into a prayer? How have you found hope and comfort from the promises God has made to you? Where do you find life when you are weary? Write down one of the promises God has made to you which gives you hope. Carry this with you each day, reading it when you feel hope fading or when you need comforting or when you need assurance of His abundant life.
Once again David finds himself being mocked because of his faithfulness to God's Word. The world loves to mock us because of our belief in God. But we need to remember two things when we are being mocked:
1) The world is under Satan's control right now. Their eyes are blinded to the truth of God. This is a spiritual battle, and though it may seem Satan is controlling the fight, our God reigns, He is "large and in charge" and no mocking can keep Him down! We are on the winning side.
2) Jesus was mocked, too. He was laughed at. He was beaten. He was nailed to a tree and separated from God, all for us. He told us we could expect the same. We may not be physically beaten or crucified for our faith, but our values can sure take a beating, our reputations can certainly be crucified.
Gathered manna from Psalm 119:51-53 is:
Remaining faithful to God's Word when mocked for our faith brings us closer to Christlikeness.
How have you been mocked and scorned for your faithfulness to God and His Word? Where are you facing a battle today? Write out a spiritual warfare prayer to pray when the battle becomes fierce. Will you praise God for the privilege of suffering for Christ? Ask Him to use the mocking you endure to bring you into Christlikeness.
As we become more aware of who God is our hearts turn to songs of praise. Despite the battles, despite the mocking, despite the trials; God's Word becomes our theme song. A theme song to a hit movie speaks to the storyline of that movie. When I was a teenager the Rocky movies were popular. The Survivor song, "Eye of the Tiger" was the theme song for Rocky III. This song talks about someone getting back up after a defeat and how he has to fight to survive and keep his dreams alive. It was the perfect theme song for the movie because Rocky had lost his will to fight, he needed to rise up and do the hard work of getting back in shape to fight again.
Often when we have been under attack for a while we begin to lose hope. Fighting back becomes harder. Sometimes we simply want to throw in the towel and admit defeat. This is the very moment we need to turn to God's Word for our strength. When we meditate on God's Word, read it, study it, ponder it, memorize it, the words of Scripture become our theme song. Verses become mantras we repeat over and over again until they are part of us. Mantras become melodies of obedience to God. Theme songs of lives spent following our Lord. Notes of joyful praise wafting up to our Father.
Gathered manna from Psalm 54-56 is:
Loving obedience to God's Word gives strength for and brings joy to our journey.
What ongoing battle are you facing? Look up verses that speak specifically to what you are fighting (i.e.: If you're battling fear look up verses about fear, etc.). Choose one of these verses to be your theme song; the verse you turn to each time the battle heats up. Write it down. Let it become a breath prayer, play it on repeat in your mind until it becomes your automatic response when the critic starts mocking.
Gathered manna from Zayin (Psalm 119:49-56) is:
Making God's Word our theme song gives us strength and hope in the midst of our battles.
I hope you are falling in love with God's awesome word through our study of Psalm 119! We won't have a teaching next week as I'll be out of town. But our daily Scripture reading and writing will continue and we'll be back here on July 11th for our lesson on Psalm 119:57-72. Have a wonderful and safe Independence Day!!
Until next time,
God bless and keep you,
1) Continue to mark each reference to God's word as you read through Psalm 119.
2) Prayerfully answer the questions and do the activities found in this lesson.
3) Read Genesis 9:8-17. Why did God place the rainbow in the clouds? For whom is it a reminder? What promise has God made to you which you feel He has forgotten? The next time you see a rainbow, remember God is faithful, listen as you look. Maybe you'l hear Him whisper, "I have not forgotten. I remember the promise I made to you and I am working to bring it to pass."