VIDEO Wondrous Things

Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law. Psalm 119:18

Scholars call Psalm 119 a devotional acrostic. Psalm 119 has 176 verses extoling the beauty and merits of God’s Word. The 176 verses are grouped into 22 stanzas following the order of the Hebrew alphabet. Each verse in a stanza begins with the same Hebrew letter. Verse 18 expresses the psalmist’s heart as a prayer: “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.”

What are these wondrous things? The psalmist may have used Psalm 19:7-11 as motivation. This passage groups God’s Word into six categories: law, testimony, statutes, commandments, fear (one’s response to the Word), and judgments. They are perfect, sure, right, pure, clean, true, and righteous. They revive, make wise, give joy, give light, endure forever, and are most precious. “And in keeping them there is great reward” (verse 11). No wonder the author of Psalm 119 called them “wondrous things.”.

Use Psalm 119:18 as a prayer each time you open God’s Word. Then look for the wondrous things it contains.

The Bible is God’s book, not man’s book. J. Gresham Machen


An Exposition of Psalm 119, Part One

All That You Need

God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26

Seated at the dining room table, I gazed at the happy chaos around me. Aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews were enjoying the food and being together at our family reunion. I was enjoying it all, too. But one thought pierced my heart: You’re the only woman here with no children, with no family to call your own.

Many single women like me have similar experiences. In my culture, an Asian culture where marriage and children are highly valued, not having a family of one’s own can bring a sense of incompleteness. It can feel like you’re lacking something that defines who you are and makes you whole.

That’s why the truth of God being my “portion” is so comforting to me (Psalm 73:26). When the tribes of Israel were given their allotments of land, the priestly tribe of Levi was assigned none. Instead, God promised that He Himself would be their portion and inheritance (Deuteronomy 10:9). They could find complete satisfaction in Him and trust Him to supply their every need.

For some of us, the sense of lack may have nothing to do with family. Perhaps we yearn for a better job or higher academic achievement. Regardless of our circumstances, we can embrace God as our portion. He makes us whole. In Him, we have no lack.

By:  Karen Huang

Reflect & Pray

What’s one thing lacking in your life that you feel would make you whole? How can you surrender it to God and find satisfaction in Him as your portion?

Father, thank You for making me complete in Christ. Help me to say along with the psalmist, “As for me, it is good to be near God” (Psalm 73:28).

God Is at Work in You

Philippians 2:12-13

There are many books promising a successful Christian life, but no humanly inspired technique can ever achieve the work of God. Any commitment or rededication that is based on our own effort will not last; true transformation comes from the Holy Spirit alone. That’s why the Lord wants our humble dependence on Him for strength, growth, and perseverance.

Today’s passage reminds us of these basic truths about the Christian life:

• We participate in the working out of our salvation. This isn’t referring to our initial conversion through faith in Christ; rather, it’s the process of sanctification by which we grow into Christlikeness. An obedient, holy lifestyle is something we must choose and pursue.

• We need an attitude of fear and trembling. There should be no flippancy about how we live, because God is holy and we must one day give Him an account of our life.

• God works in us. Jesus said we can do nothing apart from Him (John 15:5). He’s the one who equips and enables us to live in the way He desires.

God has not left us to do the best we can on our own. He is always at work in believers, to fulfill His desired goals for each of us.

The Prophet’s Chamber

“And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually. Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall; and let us set for him there a bed, and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick: and it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither.” (2 Kings 4:9-10)

This sparsely furnished little room, built by a kindly woman and her elderly husband, was the prototype of all the so-called “prophet’s chambers” that have been built for traveling teachers and evangelists ever since.

Little did this simple couple anticipate what fruit their kindness would bear one day. “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers,” the Bible says, “for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Hebrews 13:2). In the first place, to show his appreciation, Elisha prayed that the Lord would give them a son, and God miraculously answered (2 Kings 4:16-17).

Then, tragically, the boy died quite suddenly several years later while Elisha was at Mount Carmel, some 15 miles away. The Shunammite woman laid her son on Elisha’s bed in the prophet’s chamber, then rode hastily to find Elisha and bring him to the boy. The round trip must have taken her two days or more, and the boy’s dead body lay on the prophet’s bed in the little room all that time.

But then Elisha prayed once again, and the most amazing event took place there (2 Kings 4:33-35). For only the second time in history, a dead person was restored to life.

The Shunammite mother and her son are never heard from again. But for 3,000 years the testimony of a little chamber and the love and faith of the godly woman who prepared it as a simple service for her Lord and His prophet, and the godly mother who sacrificially loved her son, has been an inspiration and example to multitudes. HMM

Memorizing The Word

Bet

How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping Your word. I have sought You with all my heart; don’t let me wander from Your commands. I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against You. Lord, may You be praised; teach me Your statutes. With my lips I proclaim all the judgments from Your mouth. I rejoice in the way [revealed by] Your decrees as much as in all riches. I will meditate on Your precepts and think about Your ways. I will delight in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word (Psalm vv. 9—16).

How can a young person in this decadent society hope to lead a pure life? How can one avoid wandering from the truth? How can one be protected from committing sin? By mastering God’s Word. By allowing it to control his or her life. The way to master the Word is to memorize it—-just the way a good symphony conductor memorizes a score. Then, when the spiritual battles come, the sword of the Spirit can be wielded at a moment’s notice, without fumbling for words!

The psalmist asks the Lord’s help in learning the divine decrees, then publicly recites God’s magnificent law. He rejoices in following the Lords statutes as one exults in great riches. At work during the day or in his bed at night, he runs these precepts through his mind. He doesn’t intend to neglect them because God’s law is his delight!

The Word has impacted this psalmist’s mind-set. He has not programmed his mind with trash and pornographic material that feed lust and lead to unhealthy fantasizing. He doesn’t have to live with the pressure and pain caused by an unbalanced, sick mental attitude. His life is pure because his thoughts are pure.

Personal Prayer

O Lord, don’t let me neglect your Word. As I hide it away in my heart like nuggets of gold, I am enriched. As I follow it’s precepts, I’m strengthened for the battle.

More Than Performance

My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways.—Proverbs 23:26

Many Christians live on the surface of life and rarely, if ever, look below the waterline. They do have inner longings sometimes to climb higher with God, but their response to these feelings is to focus their attention on what goes on above the waterline—the area of performance and behavior. So they try harder in terms of more Bible reading, more prayer, more giving, more Christian activities.

I would be the last person to view greater obedience as unimportant, but it is not the only, or indeed the final answer. A great mistake made by many Christians who recognize they are not receiving from God the things they ought to be receiving is to think that the solution lies solely in more spiritual effort. The assumption being that as we do more above the waterline, the problems that lie below the waterline will all come right.

Now sometimes greater obedience and more responsible effort do have this result. I have often found, for example, that when a man who falls out of love with his wife chooses a change in behavior and deliberately sets out to do loving things for her, the loving behavior can trigger loving feelings.

There is more to spiritual change, however, than a change on the surface. It can begin there, but it is not complete until the focus moves from the surface down into the depths. Those who remain above the waterline in their Christian living and resist the invitation to look beneath the surface will soon become legalists—good at performing but bad at being.

Prayer

My Father and my God, I see that if change is to take place in me, then it must take place in all of me. Help me to see even more clearly that while what I do is important, what I am in the depth of my being is even more important. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

2Tm 3:1-5; Isa 29:1-13

What did Paul say would be a characteristic of the last days?

What was the Lord’s complaint against the children of Israel?

A Faithful Witness

Acts 1:8

A gain and again the same vocation and commission is bestowed upon the apostles and disciples. To the ends of the earth and to the end of time this commission comes down to every one of the Lord’s own: “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). That embraces us. And to every disciple who has preceded, or is to follow us, is promised His divine presence in this glorious work of testifying for Him.

God needs witnesses in this world. Why? Because the whole world is in revolt against Him. The world has gone away from God. The world ignores God, denies and contradicts His character, government and purposes.

He has had His faithful witnesses from the beginning until now. As the apostle says, “He left not Himself without witness” (Acts 14:17 KJV). Down from the days of Enoch, who walked with God, to this present hour, God has always had His true and faithful witnesses. In the worst times there have been some burning and shining lights. Sometimes few and far between, sometimes, like Noah, one solitary man in a whole generation of men, witnessing for God—but one, at least, there has been. God has not left Himself without witness.

Jesus Christ, the well-beloved of the Father, was the great witness. He came especially to manifest, to testify of and to reveal the Father to men. This was His great work. He came not to testify of Himself, but of His Father. He came to reveal God to men. He was the “Faithful and True Witness” (Revelation 3:14 NKJV). And when He had to leave the world and go back to His Father, then He commissioned His disciples to take His place and to be God’s witnesses on earth.

Witnesses, you know, must deal with the facts, not theories, about what they know. Now God wants His people to witness to fact. And He wants us to be good witnesses, too. How much depends upon the character of a witness even in an earthly court! If you can cast a reflection upon the character or the veracity of a witness, you shake his testimony and take away its value. How important that Christ’s witnesses should truly represent Him and His truth.

He wants us to be faithful witnesses. Every day I live, the more I am convinced that if God’s people were to be in desperate earnest, thousands would be won. Witness! Witness! The Lord help you.

Catherine Booth, Aggressive Christianity