PSALM 119: 65-80

You have dealt well with your servant,
    O Lord, according to your word.
Teach me good judgment and knowledge,
    for I believe in your commandments.
Before I was afflicted I went astray,
    but now I keep your word.
You are good and do good;
    teach me your statutes.
The insolent smear me with lies,
    but with my whole heart I keep your precepts;
their heart is unfeeling like fat,
    but I delight in your law.
It is good for me that I was afflicted,
    that I might learn your statutes.
The law of your mouth is better to me
    than thousands of gold and silver pieces.

Your hands have made and fashioned me;
    give me understanding that I may learn your commandments.
Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice,
    because I have hoped in your word.
I know, O Lord, that your rules are righteous,
    and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
Let your steadfast love comfort me
    according to your promise to your servant.
Let your mercy come to me, that I may live;
    for your law is my delight.
Let the insolent be put to shame,
    because they have wronged me with falsehood;
    as for me, I will meditate on your precepts.
Let those who fear you turn to me,
    that they may know your testimonies.
May my heart be blameless in your statutes,
    that I may not be put to shame!


Mark 2:17, Jesus said to the Pharisees, Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners. He was telling the most religiously devout that they did not realize how desperately they needed Him. The psalmist has realized the same thing in verses 73-80. His understanding of his dependence upon God has had a profound affect upon his life. 

The psalmist does in our text what he does often – he throws out an idea up front so that we know how to process what follows. Verse 73 follows this pattern, Your hands have made and fashioned me. God is sovereign, He is the Supreme Authority and is under no one. There are two delusions that keep us from really understanding this truth: 

  • We believe that we are autonomous. 
  • We believe that we are self-sufficient. 

Autonomy 

Autonomous means “self-governing or independent”. When we think that we have autonomy or are autonomous, we are saying, I am my own king – make my own rules – determine my own course – rule my own life. Verse 73 declares that we have been made and fashioned by God. 

The creation belongs to the creator. We belong to God. He owns us. This means that we are in no way autonomous. We belong to someone else. Western culture celebrates independence, self-governing, and autonomy. It is believed to be the supreme right of every human being. To think that God is our owner makes us fear that He takes away our rights. We can feel like He is robbing us and takes away our right to be our own king

The fact is that God owns you whether you believe it or not. He has authority by right – as Creator. When we say, “I am autonomous”, we are taking from God what is His by right. We have thought that we are autonomous for so long that our perspective is completely jaded. We think that we are naturally autonomous and God wants to make us His subjects. The truth is that we are naturally subjects of God but we live in rebellion. 

This started in the garden (Genesis 3). Adam and Eve decided that they wanted to be autonomous and self-sufficient so they rebelled against God. Every person ever since has believed the same lie and continued the same delusions. 

Self-Sufficiency 

This delusion says, “I have everything I need to be what I want to be”. The psalmist addresses this falsehood too (verse 77). Paul wrote of the role of Christ in all creation (Colossians 1:15-17). All of life is in Jesus’ hands. Though the psalmist lived before Christ, he was anticipating Him to come. We now live in the fullness of God’s revelation, which is Jesus. Jesus fashioned the psalmist – all things were made by Him. The psalmist cries out to His creator, have mercy!  We are dependent on God!

If we espouse self-sufficiency and autonomy, we are saying, “I know what’s best for me and I will fight to make sure I get it!” But Jesus said, I know what’s best for you and I will die to make sure you get it! What will shape your life? Are you the ultimate? Or is Jesus the ultimate? 

Self-sufficiency and autonomy happen naturally because of the fall. Sally Lloyd-Jones said it well when talking about the Fall of Man in The Jesus Storybook Bible: 

 And still God’s children didn’t trust him or do what he said. They thought they could do a better job of looking after themselves and making themselves happy. But God knew there was no such thing as happiness without him.

God knew that Adam and Eve didn’t understand. There is no value outside of living in relationship with God. Life without Christ is just an existence. If you hear the Gospel and choose to live without Christ, you are living a rebellion – you are fighting against God. The fact that we belong to God should shape us. God wants us to experience life the way he designed it. With Him we can enjoy true life and not mere existence as a rebel. 

There is no value outside of living in relationship with God. Life without Christ is just an existence.

Dependence On God Brings Freedom

There is freedom that the psalmist experiences because of his God dependence (verse 73b). He didn’t have to have it all figured out and neither do we. When you say, “I don’t know what to do”, autonomy and self-sufficiency say, “well, you better figure it out!” The freedom we have when we trust God as owner of our life is that He says that He has all the wisdom that we will ever need. 

Verse 74 again shows that when we follow God and His Word that we will have a community that rejoices with us, cries with us, and will seek us out when we sin. They will share God’s testimonies (Scriptures) with me when I need to hear it. 

  • We can be free from the fear of what others think of us (verse 78). 
  • We can be free from thinking that our lives are a waste – it has meaning even in the midst of suffering (verse 75). 

With autonomy and self-sufficiency, your failures are yours to deal with forever – there are no do-overs, no forgiveness, and no mercy. We have a never stopping, never giving up, and forever love from God towards us. We simply have to confess and repent – payment is taken care of! That is freedom! 

Verse 80 is a cry of the psalmist for the Lord to do His work. This goes along with verse 73 , it is not a declaration of creation in his mother’s womb, but God has fashioned the man that he is today. He is saying, I belong to you and you continue to be at work in me – keep shaping me. While autonomy hopelessly says, you are the sum of all of your choices. The psalmist says,  I’m not what I will be, but by God’s grace I’m not what I was. This requires dependence on God!

 

God Is The Owner! 


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 119:65-80

Who are some cultural figures that represent independence and self-sufficiency?

In what ways does God confront your own efforts to be fully independent of Him?

Reflect for a moment on how our self-reliance is a direct export from our rebellion against God in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3).