The Eternally Faithful Word of God
July 15, 2018
We are now six months into the New Year. The New Year is not so new anymore. It’s not even a teenager. It’s hit the doldrums of the middle age years. In case you haven’t noticed, we are closer to next Christmas than last Christmas and the days are now getting shorter in anticipation of the winter months!
And since our year is “middle-aged,” it seems a good time to do a check up on how we are doing in this year. It’s time for a mid-year evaluation and a mid-course correction. I’m not concerned about our diets or exercise programs (most of us gave up on those about six months ago); I am concerned about our spiritual health and in particular the condition of our Bible intake.
Each year, at the beginning and middle of the year, we take a week to think about how we are doing in relation to our Bible intake, by examining a stanza from Psalm 119. And this is our week to do that.
And while I don’t know all the specifics about all of your lives, I do know about my life and I know a few things about some of your lives and I know that this year has not turned out completely the way you planned:
- There have been relational difficulties and even broken relationships — a friend has become a hostile enemy for some of us.
- There have been financial burdens and loss
- There have been changes in health — some big and some small, but all reflecting the fallenness of our creation
- There has been death. I was going to say “there has been untimely death,” but all death is untimely and hard and many of us have experienced the loss of someone through death this year.
- In a sentence, we have all experienced a variety of trials that have been weighty and hard. And most of them have been unanticipated.
How should we think about those difficulties? The writer of Psalm 119 helps us with that question in the twelfth stanza, beginning in verse 89. Here’s what he says: Trials are limited. Trouble is not endless (it just feels that way). God’s Word is faithful. And God’s power in His Word is unlimited.
We can summarize the theme of this stanza this way:
When you are afflicted, trust the faithfulness of God and His Word.
The theme of the previous stanza (which is why we read it earlier) is when persecuted, pursue your hope in God’s Word. In that stanza, we saw many questions that God’s people might have when they are suffering:
- Will God Intervene? (vv. 81-82)
- Has God Forgotten Me? (v. 83)
- Will God End the Persecution? (v. 84a)
- Will God be Just? (v. 84b)
- Will God Help Me? (vv. 85-86)
- Will God Be Gracious Again? (vv. 87-88)
It seems that in this stanza, the psalmist’s condition has not changed significantly; he is still suffering. But here he reminds himself of two fundamental attributes of God and His Word, and affirms his commitment to that Word in very particular ways. And as we follow his pattern, we will find that when we lean on God and His Word, there is always hope in every circumstance.
Here are two reminders of the character of Scripture and several exhortations for how to respond to Scripture:
- What is Scripture? Permanent (vv. 89-91)
- How Should I Respond to Scripture? (vv. 92-95)
- Delight in Scripture (v. 92)
- Remember Scripture (v. 93)
- Seek Scripture (v. 94)
- Consider Scripture (v. 95)
- What is Scripture? Authoritative (v. 96)
Download the rest of this sermon on Psalm 119:89-96.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website by tomorrow.