Zeal consumes me — Psalms 119:121-144

I hope your Lord’s day was good yesterday. OK, I am a preacher, but it’s more than a work day for me; it’s a day of uplift. It may be that I’m expected to be at the worship services of the church, but I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be. I hope you feel the same. Yeah, it’s true that churches, like all families, have their tragedies, dramas, troubles, and problems — but still it’s family and it’s worship of our Heavenly Father.

Covenant love teaches (Psalm 119:124) — The word Hebrew ḥesed is translated in the New American Standard as lovingkindness. Other translations call it steadfast love. But the essence of the word is covenant love, a love bound by family ties, duties, privileges, and responsibilities. And ḥesed teaches, just like fathers teach their children — not just because there are rules to be laid down, but because there is true love and concern for children and the wisdom that needs to be passed on. You can look at God’s word as being a set of rules, of course, but it’s much better to realize that God’s word — although it is required of us — is actually lovingkindness.

Unfolding God’s word (Psalm 119:130) — I guess I just like the metaphor of unfolding God’s word and having His light; that’s the way it seems to me sometimes. You can read a passage, a chapter, a book for years and think that you know what it’s saying, teaching, urging. And then one day you make a connection between that passage and another that you just read — or I read it in another version, or read it in Greek, or approach the passage with a different question than before — and the light bulbs go off, new insight is gained, aha! It’s the unfolding of God’s word. One reading through the whole Bible is good, but it’s in the reading of it over the years that deepening, insight, greater light happens. Your commitment to read this year is a great one; why not commit now to do it again next year? Who knows what might unfold, what new connection, new understanding, what light you’ll gain building on this year?

Zeal consumes me (Psalm 119:139) — How passionate are you? About baseball? About football? About your favorite band? About your hobby? How passionate you are about sin and unrighteousness? In a world that finds sin normal, tolerance the chief virtue, and perversion merely a lifestyle, it may become harder and harder for us to feel quite like the psalmist here: “My zeal has consumed me, Because my adversaries have forgotten Your words.” Psalms 119:139, NAS95. This is not a call for inappropriate judgment on others, but it is a call for us all not to become insensitive to sin — insensitive offensive or vulgar language, to worldly attitudes, to inappropriate jokes, or immodest dress. We certainly shouldn’t be involved in such things (though sometimes we are), but ought also to object to others. Yes, yes, I know it will make us “goody-two-shoes” to some of the world, but let’s dare a little reproach for the sake of Christ. Otherwise, the world just continues to descend into the abyss and some of us might well be sucked down with it, because it’s comes so “normal”. Get a little passionate.

See you tomorrow, Lord willing.

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About parklinscomb

I'm a minister for the church of Christ in Manchester NH where I've worked since the 1970's. I'm a big fan of my family, archaeology, the Bible, the Lord's church, and Gander Brook Christian Camp.
This entry was posted in Bible commentary, Christianity, Old Testament and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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