“Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them. Your statutes are forever right; give me understanding that I may live.”
Psalm 119:140, 144, NIV
Phil Lawrence is a missionary to Native Americans. He was serving in ministry on a particularly destitute reservation in South Dakota. The destitution was both physical and spiritual. During his time there, he had occasion to rub shoulders with leaders in the American Indian Movement (AIM). God spoke to him about one man in particular, Russell Means, a key leader in the Movement. His efforts to witness to this man were rebuffed repeatedly and often in unpleasant ways. Once, Phil drove hundreds of miles to meet with this man without an appointment because he sensed that God was preparing his heart to hear the Gospel. On that occasion though initially angry at Phil’s overture, his heart softened and he listened as Phil shared Christ with him. He did not make a positive response but he seemed genuinely moved by Phil’s extraordinary concern. My friend still prays for this man’s conversion.
The Psalmist teaches an important lesson in our text. When God promises something it can be trusted. The promises are time tested. My friend understood this truth when he set out on his mission to share Christ with Russell Means one last time. “My word shall not return unto me void,” (Isaiah 55:11) the Bible says. He knew and trusted that simple truth when he made his journey.
Psalm 119 is filled with teaching regarding the Word of God. We are exhorted to know the Word. “Your words light.(vs.130) Your laws are right. The statutes you have laid down are righteous.”(vs.137-138) We are taught to believe the Word because it is right and trustworthy. Perfectly in keeping with the New Testament writers, the Psalmist then teaches us that we must live the word. “Direct my footsteps according to your Word . . . I will obey your decrees . . . I will keep your statutes.”(vs.133,145,147)
QUESTION: Are you willing to make the investment to know the Word? Do you believe it? And most importantly will you live it?