PSALM 119:41-48

Let your steadfast love come to me, O Lord,
    your salvation according to your promise;
then shall I have an answer for him who taunts me,
    for I trust in your word.
And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth,
    for my hope is in your rules.
I will keep your law continually,
    forever and ever,
and I shall walk in a wide place,
    for I have sought your precepts.
I will also speak of your testimonies before kings
    and shall not be put to shame,
for I find my delight in your commandments,
    which I love.
I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love,
    and I will meditate on your statutes.


Our focus from now through this fall will be Psalm 119. We will follow the journey and posture of the psalmist as he wrote this prayer acrostic using the Hebrew alphabet. It is a great teaching on God’s word – the law - but it is also a psalm of love. The writer uses numerous words as synonyms for what we would call the Bible: law, word, statute, commands, decrees, precepts, word, and promise. 

The first verse of our text includes the first mention of the word love. We can only be understood this passage if we have an understanding of God’s love. The psalmist makes it clear that his foundation of hope and his message is founded in God’s love. Open your eyes to the beauty of the relationship of the psalmist and His God. 

Know God’s Love 

Our message to the world must be God’s love and it must flow from our experience. Verse 41 is the foundation of everything that follows in these eight verses. There are two aspects concerning God’s love included. 

Steadfast Love
 
The Hebrew word for love here is “hesed” which means steadfast. This love is first mention in scripture in Exodus 15. It gives the story of how Moses and the people praised God for His steadfast love (hesed) because they had just walked through the red Sea on dry land and turned and saw God destroy the armies of Pharaoh that were pursuing them. The second mention of hesed is when the very same people threw gold into the fire and fashioned a golden calf to worship while Moses was meeting with God. God speaks of these words about Himself: Exodus 34:6-7. God is saying that He sees their sin and He is a God of steadfast love. God describes Himself as a God of steadfast love in Numbers 14 and Deuteronomy 5 & 7

The psalmist knows that to receive God’s steadfast love is a powerful blessing since it came after the Red Sea and the sin of the golden calf. The same love that parted the Red Sea and forgave idolatry is his. God’s love is not reserved for the deserving – rather it is heaped on the underserving! This steadfast love is given to us because of God’s promise – not our faithfulness. This love is the same love offered to you and me today – steadfast. 

Salvation Love
Verse 41 simply calls God’s steadfast love salvation. What happened at the Red Sea? Salvation happened at the Red Sea. What happened when they blatantly worshipped an idol? They could have been wiped out, but instead salvation happened. The entire covenant of God is a pledge by God to be faithful even though they would not be faithful. Steadfast love is salvation: Psalm 85:8-10; Proverbs 16:6; Romans 3:23-26.  

The greatest need that humanity has is salvation – a steadfast saving love! Salvation is a restored relationship with God. He saves us – justifies us. God’s steadfast love takes every sin and places it on Jesus. On the cross we are made clean, given steadfast love, and receive salvation – restored relationship with God. The psalmist didn’t know the fullness of God’s redemptive story – he didn’t know the full story. What he did know was that he needed Jesus – salvation. He needed God’s steadfast love to save the undeserving. He cries out for this. 

Our hope is founded in this steadfast saving love. It gives us hope. God will always have it. 

Trust God’s Love 

Once you know God’s steadfast saving love, you must live in light if its truth. What does it look like to love a God-trusting life for the psalmist? Because of the psalmist’s trust in God love, he starts living with freedom and delight. 

He experiences true freedom
Verses 44-45 declares that he will live forever in obedience to God’s Word – not in his own power – but trusting that God will be at work in him. Obedience to the scriptures brings freedom to him. The more he seeks to obey, the more he walks in freedom “in a wide place”. We often think that keeping the law of God and pursuing His rules is the absence of freedom. Charles Spurgeon said, “Holiness is not a track for slaves, rather it is the King’s highway for free men”. God’s law protects us from what is dangerous and from what will take His rightful place in our lives. 

He experiences delight
In Verse 47 he says is delight – happiness – is in God’s Word. Charles Spurgeon said, “If the gospel separates the heart from sinful delights, it is only to make room for delights of a more elevated, satisfying, and enduring nature”. The fleeting, hallow pleasures are displaced with experiences of true delight. The psalmist has discovered that delight is not found in self-centeredness – it is found in the saving love of God. Jesus declared that one of part of the greatest commandment is to “love your neighbor as yourself”.  Loving God and loving your neighbor brings joy and delight. 

Trust God’s love and find freedom and a joyful, hopeful life. 

Share God’s Love

The writer states that God’s steadfast love and salvation is the answer to those that taunt him. As God’s sent people, we have a very simple message: God has a saving and steadfast love for people. And as they trust this love, they are free and experience a life full of delight. We don’t have to make the message more palatable. We simply have to faithful in sharing this message in word and deed. Our responsibility is to share it as it’s given to us.  The hope we reflect is God’s saving and steadfast love here and now in our lives. We share the freedom and delight that we experience because of this love. 

There are many intellectual obstacles that some put up regarding the gospel. We may wrestle with some of them too. However, it’s not an intellectual problem, it is a heart problem. People’s questions do keep them from believing, it’s their heart. We simply need to engage people and show God’s love as we engage. You do not need to have it all figured out before you share. We are simply to share faithfully. We have a very simple message – but it is a powerful message – and we will not be put to shame (verse 46). 

You don’t need eloquence – you just need faithfulness. 

We are loved! 

 


IN COMMUNITY

This week, as you reflect on the message, utilize this section to help you apply what has been taught to your life. Think of friends, co-workers, neighbors, family etc., that you could meet with to have a time of mutual sharing to discuss the implications of the message.

BLESS RHYTHMS

This simple acronym (BLESS, B - Bless, L - Listen, E - Eat, S - Speak, S - Sabbath) should help you to frame your life according to the great commandment “love God” (Matthew 22:37) and the expression of that commandment in loving your neighbor (John 13:34). Each time you meet, start by discussing the rhythms of your life according to B.L.E.S.S.

Bless
Intentionally bless: Christ-followers, non-believers and those different than you.

Listen
Listen to what God is saying to you, through His Word and others.

Eat
Share a meal with a Christ-follower and also a non-believer.

Speak
Talk to God through prayer and to others about Jesus through witness.

Sabbath
Be intentional about taking time to both rest and recreate.

DISCUSS THE MESSAGE

Read: Psalm 119:41-48

What is the promise of salvation that the psalmist speaks of?

How have you dealt with opposing voices in your life?  In what ways does Gods Word play a part in your comfort to opposition?

Describe a time when you were very thankful for rules. Elaborate on this moment.