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The Scriptorium

From Reproach to Revival

God reproaches, but He also revives. Psalm 119.39, 40

Psalm 119.33-40 (6)

Pray Psalm 119.39, 40.
Turn away my reproach which I dread,
For Your judgments are good.
Behold, I long for Your precepts;
Revive me in Your righteousness.

Sing Psalm 119.39, 40.
(Regent Square: Angels from the Realms of Glory)
For Your holy precepts, Jesus, my whole heart longs earnestly,
for Your judgments all are good; Your Word is a delight to me!
In Your righteousness revive me! For Your goodness I would see!

Read Psalm 119.33-40; meditate on verses 39, 40.

Preparation

1. What does the psalmist not want?

2. What does he seek from the Lord?

Meditation
One work of the Holy Spirit is to convict us of sin, which He does by writing the Law on our soul and making it like a burr in our sinful saddle, so that we ache with spiritual discomfort whenever we sin (Jn. 16.8-11; Rom. 7.7). Such “reproach” is painful. It makes us aware just how unfaithful we are to Him Who loves us and gave His Son for our salvation. We would like never to have to endure such reproaches, but, like the psalmist with his tendency to covet (v. 36), we will all fall through temptation into sin from time to time (1 Jn. 1.8).

So we’d better know what to do when that happens.

The judgments of God are good, and that’s why we feel bad when the Spirit convicts us of sin. But, at the same time He reproaches us, the Spirit convicts us of righteousness. That is, He shows us the way back into right fellowship with God through His good judgments: confess your sin, repent, and seek the Lord’s path again, the way of His precepts.

If we truly long for the precepts of God – His Law and all His Word – we will hasten to them to find the word of forgiveness, renewal, and direction for overcoming our sin. That’s what this stanza of Psalm 119 has been all about. Turn away from sin when conviction comes; turn back to God and His Word. The longing expressed here matches the “whole heart” (vv. 34, 36) and “delight” (v. 35) expressed earlier in the psalm. Our psalmist sincerely desires release from the temptation to covet so that he might know the joy of God’s Law and keep to His way.

When reproach or conviction comes, listen to the judgment of God, turn back to His Word, and call on Him to revive you. As you do, His grace will meet you unto righteousness every time.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
I dread God’s reproach. Not only is His chastening unpleasant, but His disappointment is even worse. I know that His judgments are good, and I know that His judgment is good. He never makes a mistake when His Law is broken. He wrote it, He knows when it is infracted. When I break and violate His Law He knows and is displeased.

So He chastens me. Which in some respects solidifies my relationship with Him: “My [child], do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the LORD loves He chastens…for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness” (Heb. 12.5, 6, 10). He wants me to be more like Him. More resemblant of my Father. So, He deals with my sin in His own loving way.

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent” (Rev. 3.19).

“Behold, happy is the [person] whom God corrects; therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty. For He bruises, but He binds up; He wounds, but His hands make whole” (Job 5.17, 18). All to make us more like Jesus.

I long for God’s precepts because they help me, through the indwelling Holy Spirit, to live in an unreproachful way. I know more about what pleases and displeases Him, and my conscience is more readily pricked the closer I get to His Law. Sin is all the more grotesque in the light of His glorious grace.

But God must revive me in His righteousness. In His Way. And in His Word. “Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness. Revive me, O LORD, for Your name’s sake! For Your righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble” (Ps. 143.10, 11).

And then as His chastened child I hear these words of assurance: “Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come…Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (Rev. 1.4-6).

Now that’s reproach to revival!

For reflection
1. How do you know when you are being reproached by God?

2. How do the precepts of God help us in avoiding His reproaches?

3. How can believers help one another when they come under the reproach of God?

When Satan has drawn a child of God into worldly compliances, he will reproach him with the falls into which he led him. Victory must come from the cross of Christ. When we enjoy the sweetness of God’s precepts, it will make us long for more acquaintance with them. And where God has wrought to will, he will work to do. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Psalm 119.39

Pray Psalm 119.33-38.
In silence, let the Lord search your thoughts, desires, and priorities. Ask Him to shed the light of His truth on your soul, and to set you free from anything that keeps you from being revived in Jesus. Commit your day to the Lord with thanksgiving.

Sing Psalm 119.33-38.
(Regent Square: Angels from the Realms of Glory)
Teach me, Lord, and help me follow in Your perfect, righteous way!
From my heart I will observe and all Your holy Law obey.
Give me understanding, Jesus: I will keep Your Law always!

Make me walk in Your commandments, let me keep Your holy part.
I will keep Your Law unfailing; from it let me ne’er depart.
For Your Word is my delight, Lord; help me keep it from the heart.

To Your holy testimonies, turn my heart, O gracious Lord.
Let me covet nothing worthless; my delight is in Your Word.
O revive me! O revive me, in Your way, most holy Lord!

Set me firmly in Your statutes, for Your servant, Lord am I.
Fearing You in sweet devotion, let me live until I die.
Let no dread, let no reproach obscure Your judgments from my eye.

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website, www.ailbe.org, and clicking the Scriptorium tab for last Sunday. You can download any or all the studies in this series on Psalm 119 by clicking here.

What is the Law of God and how should we learn and obey it? Two books can help. The Law of God arranges the statutes and precepts of God’s Law under their appropriate number of the Ten Commandments. This book is an excellent tool for meditating on God’s Law and thinking about its application in our time. The Ground for Christian Ethics, on the other hand, explains why the Law matters and how we are to use it. You can order free copies of each of these here and here.

If you find Scriptorium helpful in your walk with the Lord, please seek the Lord, asking Him whether you should contribute to the support of this daily ministry with your financial gifts. As the Lord leads, you can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card or through PayPal or Anedot, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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