Monday, October 27, 2014

A Thought for Monday 27 October 2014

“You are my portion, O Lord; I have said I would keep Your words.  I entreated Your favor with my whole heart; be merciful to me according to Your word.  I thought about my ways, and turned my feet to Your testimonies.  I made haste and did not delay to keep Your commandments.  The cords of the wicked have bound me, but I have not forgotten Your law.  At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You because of Your righteous judgments.  I am a companion of all who fear You, and of those you keep Your precepts.  The earth, O Lord, is full of Your mercy; teach me Your statutes.”  Psalm 119:57-64 NKJV

This portion of the psalm reminds me of a story I read recently that speculated about the spiritual foundation that compelled Abram to answer The Lord so readily when he was called to pack up and move to a new land.  It is difficult to believe Abram had no clue prior to that moment when he left the only world he likely knew.  There had to be something he was already well aware of, something he had discovered beyond himself.

It could not have been Torah, of course, because Abram was before that Covenant.  Could it then maybe have been Abram who “thought about my ways” and rationally considered there had to be more?  Jesus encourages us to “seek” in order to “find”; and it seems very unlikely we will find anything we are not seeking.  Abram likely lived in the midst of many “gods” people had created for themselves, “gods” that demanded human sacrifice or other practices that did not seem to be so uplifting, so life-enhancing.  So if we are witnessing “gods” that seem to do more harm than good, would we not seek something else?

If we dare to look more closely, we might see that Abram’s time was not much different from our own.  Though the “gods” of our time are not necessarily made of stone or wood, there is state-sanctioned human sacrifice.  There are also many other things – and persons – we will eagerly put ahead of The Lord.  Yet in doing so we rarely consider that these “gods” are designed by us to serve us – they’re not real!  We can claim to be “saved” and we can readily recite the “first and great commandment”, but this does not necessarily mean we have “thought about our ways” – not seriously.  It is much easier to proclaim John 3:16 and then go about our business. 

The psalmist, however, is trying to point out the rationality of Torah, The Lord’s instruction, Israel’s story; and the many failures Israel encountered when they tried to go it alone in demanding their independence.  Even in the many stories within The Story, there are those encounters with The Eternal One which reveals His presence.  And the favor found in the sight of the Almighty is that favor which reveals our complete trust in Him – by embracing His words and seeking greater meaning rather than seeking New Testament excuses to distance ourselves from those words.

We will not always know where The Lord will take us when we give ourselves completely to Him, but this is pretty much the point of faith; trusting The Lord completely so as to obey Him completely – even if we do not fully understand – and trusting that the greater purpose beyond ourselves will be served. 



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