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The Scriptorium

Law and Salvation

They are inseparable. Psalm 119.41

Psalm 119.41-48 (1)

Pray Psalm 119.41, 42.

Let Your mercies come also to me, O LORD—
Your salvation according to Your word.
So shall I have an answer for him who reproaches me,
For I trust in Your word.

Sing Psalm 119.41, 42.
(Dix: For the Beauty of the Earth)
Let Your mercies come to me, Your salvation by Your Word.
From reproaches set me free, for I trust in You, O Lord.
Let my life an answer be for those who may question me.

Read Psalm 119.41-48; meditate on verse 41.

1. What does the psalmist seek?

2. Where did he expect to find that?

It’s important to keep in mind that the Law of God is all about salvation. Not earning it, but enjoying it.

Only after God had delivered His people from Egypt and gathered them to Himself at Mt. Sinai did He give them His Law. Israel was not required to keep the Law to be saved from their bondage. They were saved by God’s grace. Then He gave them the Law so that they could enjoy Him and His salvation to the full extent.

Here, as we begin the ו (vav) section of Psalm 119, the psalmist expresses His great desire. To know the salvation of the Lord is to dwell within His steadfast love (Hebrew: חֲסָדֶ֣ CHE-seh-dah). The steadfast love of the Lord sends His Spirit to save us from sin, then surrounds and sustains us, swarms us with His goodness, strengthens us to obey Him, shapes us into His likeness, assures us of His favor and forgiveness, and sets our hearts to obey and enjoy Him forever.

No wonder the psalmist prays, “Let me have more of that great salvation, Lord!”

But we may only realize this great boon according to the Word of the Lord, beginning with His Law. The Word of God leads us into His steadfast love where we work out our salvation in fear and trembling (Phil. 2.12). We do not work for our salvation; rather, we work out the salvation God has graciously given us so that we may enjoy more of His steadfast love day by day.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.16.
The Dash. As the Grammar Desk Reference states, “The dash is the most dramatic punctuation mark you can deploy within the interior of a sentence. Use it sparingly.” It then goes on to explain several uses of the almighty dash. The definition that fits the usage in Psalm 119.41 is: “A dash can be used between an independent clause expressing a generalization and an independent clause, a phrase, or a single word that restates, explains, or provides an example of the generalization.”

Thus, the psalmist asks God to “Let Your mercies come also to me, O LORD—Your salvation according to Your word” (Ps. 119.41). His mercy—His salvation.

And in His Word is where we read about this mercy and salvation:
“And for their sake He remembered His covenant, and relented according to the multitude of His mercies” (Ps. 106.45).
“Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness” (Lam. 3.22, 23).
“And His mercy is on those who fear Him…” (Lk. 1.50).
“But God who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) …” (Eph. 2.4, 5).

Paul sums the whole of this thought up in his letter to Titus:
“But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared,
not by works of righteousness which we have done,
but according to His mercy He saved us,
through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,
whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs
according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3.4-7).

His mercy—restated, explained, and exemplified in His salvation.

Magnanimously, lavishly, and liberally used.

For reflection
1. Why is “mercy” or “steadfast love” a good way of summarizing the salvation we have from the Lord?

2. How does the mercy of God – His salvation – relate to His Law?

3. We are saved and have eternal life. But is there more to God’s salvation we have yet to receive? Explain.

There can be no doubt, that, in mentioning the mercy of God first, and afterwards his salvation, the Psalmist, according to the natural order, puts the cause before the effect. By adopting this arrangement, he acknowledges that there is no salvation for him but in the pure mercy of God. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Psalm 119.41

Pray Psalm 119.48.
Ask God to give you something from His Word to “take in hand” throughout the day, something you will actively and consistently carry out at every opportunity to express the salvation He has given you.

Sing Psalm 119.48.

(Dix: For the Beauty of the Earth)
To Your Law I lift my hands to embrace and hold it dear.
In Your truth my glad heart stands, knowing You are ever near.
I will meditate, O Lord, on Your statutes and Your Word.

T. M. and Susie Moore

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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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