Lately I’ve spent a fair amount of time listening to music. This is something I haven’t enjoyed for a while. A few months ago my brain was too full to add another layer of noise.
I’m currently painting my dining room. The process took some prep work, including removing old trim and patching walls. This has presented a perfect occasion for listening to music, and a favorite has quickly become Sandra McCracken’s album Psalms.
While patching with joint compound, then sanding (just to repeat the process two more times) her ballads of Psalms have soothed, pricked, and bolstered me. One track in particular has caught my heart, Flourishing.
A song based on Psalm 119, it’s beautiful instruction has been rolling around in my mind. It challenges me and grows my desire to know God more and live in a manner worthy of Him.
In Psalm 119 verses 33-40 the psalmist petitions:
“Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes; and I will keep it to the end.
Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart.
Lead me in the path of your commandments,
For I delight in it.
Incline my heart to your testimonies,
And not to selfish gain!
Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
And give me life in your ways.
Confirm to your servant your promise,
That you may be feared.
Turn away the reproach that I dread,
For your rules are good.
Behold, I long for your precepts;
In your righteousness give me life!”
I’m always changing my mind on what my favorite Psalm is, so I guess I’ll just say that this one is my current favorite. With 176 verses, Psalm 119 is the longest psalm and longest chapter in the whole bible. The main themes are those of a love for God’s law, and a strong desire to to live in obedience to it. Throughout the psalm, these themes are woven with the psalmist’s recognition of failing to obey the full law and his need for forgiveness.
And this is my reality. I love the Word of God, and I desperately want to live my life in obedience to it. But I fail. Daily. And that is why John 3:17 is such good news.
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
God sent His Son Jesus to keep the law for us. He did it because just like the psalmist, we never could. By His perfect obedience we are set free from condemnation by the law. And this should grow in us a desire to please Jesus, the One who is worthy of all our praise.
So out of my love and thankfulness to God, Psalm 119 hits true. I pray that the psalmist’s words would be my own, and that going forward I would:
- Desire to know His Word more-and delight in it
- Lay down my own desires and be affectionate for His ways
- Daily ask the Lord to turn my eyes from worthless things, and preserve my life according to His ways
- Remember God’s promises, His character, and revere Him-for He is worthy
- Not dread His reproof, but instead be quick to proclaim the goodness of His rules
- Long to obey His commands, because His righteousness preserves my life
Won’t you join me in these things going forward? It is in Him that we can truly live life, flourishing.