Psalm 119 is an amazing piece of poetry. In its original language of Hebrew, each verse begins with a successive letter from the alphabet. The theme is even more important. It is fitting that the single longest chapter in Scripture should be entirely focused on the Word of God.
Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word. You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees (Psalm 119:67–68).
Every single one of the 176 verses refer to God’s Word in one way or another. David understood that Scripture would guide his steps (verse 105) and keep him from temptation (verse 11).
Believers are supposed to love God’s Word so much that they read it, meditate on it, memorize it, and internalize it. When Christians are immersed in Scripture, they will remember that He is good and what He does is good.
Challenge for Today: Memorize a verse from today’s reading.
Quicklook: Psalm 119:65–72
Studies on children during recess show that in playgrounds with no fences, the children tended to play in the center of the playground. Where there was a fence the children ran all around and even hung around the fence. The parameters gave a sense of security.
I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts (Psalm 119:45).
God’s guiding principles enhance human freedom. The idea that rules give us freedom sounds contradictory. The principles found in God’s Word protect God’s people and free them to be what God created them to be. Often people think that living by the rules will cramp their style. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
The Creator knows what each person needs to function well and flourish. Unrestricted freedom is not real freedom and doesn’t increase a personal sense of security. Living within the guidelines of the Creator does.
Prayer Suggestion: Lord, help me to walk according to Your principles and live in Your freedom.
Quicklook: Psalm 119:41–48
“Tim, my dryer broke again. I need you to come over right now.”
Tim gritted his teeth. His neighbor was so demanding. He helped her out, but that didn’t mean he was her servant. “I’m headed to work, Jeannie. I’ll stop by tonight.”
Tim blew out his breath as he slammed his car door. Halfway to work, a worship song echoed in Tim’s mind—something about our hearts being broken over the same things that break God’s heart.
He clutched the steering wheel. Was that the problem? Was he trying to “do good” to his neighbor without loving her? How did he expect to win her to Christ if he didn’t love her first?
I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart (Romans 9:2).
Why? Because many of his fellow Jews had rejected Christ. Paul did not appeal to them out of anger or condemnation, but rather out of his great love for them, even to the point of personal sacrifice.
Challenge for Today: Today, let God’s love flow through you, drawing people to salvation.
Quicklook: Romans 9:1–5
“I can’t believe Rob cheated on me, Mom.” Susan pressed the phone to her ear. “It’s so hard.”
“I’m sorry, honey. But don’t worry. Romans 8:28 says, ‘in all things God works for the good of those who love him.’ I can’t see how, but God will turn this around.”
Ever heard someone throw out this snippet of Scripture in the face of a terrible situation? It is true. God does work everything for good in the lives of believers. But what is “good” in any given situation?
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son (Romans 8:29).
When people quote Romans 8:28, they usually want it to mean, “God will make everything better, and then I’ll be happy again.” He works miracles and provides strength in difficult situations, but His ultimate goal is to help believers to be more like His Son.
Thought for Today: God’s ultimate “good” in any situation is for us to become more like Jesus.
Quicklook: Romans 8:26–39
Anyone who has experienced the adoption process knows that it is not a quick or easy undertaking. Prospective parents must be willing to complete piles of paperwork and submit to a thorough scrutiny of their lives to even begin the process of adopting a child.
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15).
Paul’s Roman audience would have grasped the enormity of this concept. Romans viewed the father of a family as the absolute ruler, and any children “belonged” to him. Anyone wishing to adopt someone else’s child had to follow strict legal and cultural protocol, including a symbolic ceremony of breaking ties with the birth father and establishing new ties with the adoptive father. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, believers are legally and fully adopted into God’s family with all its rights and responsibilities.
Prayer Suggestion: God, help me grasp the far-reaching implications of my adoption into Your family.
Quicklook: Romans 8:12–17
In Biblical days, a person’s name carried great weight. Children’s names might have portrayed the enormous hope that a family had for their child. Or, a child’s name might reflect despair, anger, or political commentary. Regardless, it was expected that the child would grow up to “become” his or her name.
The Israelites understood this and understood the importance of God’s name. God revealed Himself by using various names for Himself like “Deliverer,” “Healer,” or “Provider.”
But you, Sovereign Lord, help me for your name’s sake; out of the goodness of your love, deliver me (Psalm 109:21).
David was asking God to be true to His name; to demonstrate to others that He was who He said He was and that He would accomplish what He said He would do. David acknowledged God’s sovereignty while still appealing to God’s honor and goodness.
Thought for Today: God’s name is glorified when His work is revealed in our lives.
Quicklook: Psalm 109:21–31