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Lived and Spoken

Our witness is both/and. Psalm 119.43, 44

Psalm 119.41-48 (3)

Pray Psalm 119.43, 44.
And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth,
For I have hoped in Your ordinances.
So shall I keep Your law continually,
Forever and ever.

Sing Psalm 119.43-45.
(Dix: For the Beauty of the Earth)
Lord, take not Your Word from me, for I trust it day by day.
I will walk in liberty as Your precepts I obey.
I shall keep Your truth, O Lord, for I hope in all Your Word.

Read Psalm 119.41-48; meditate on verses 43, 44.

Preparation
1. How will the psalmist be able to keep the Law continually?

2. What does he want God to do for him?

Meditation
As important as it is to make sure our lives bear witness to God and His Word, it is equally important that we be ready with the Word as opportunities arise. We don’t need to plan out what we’ll say in every case or memorize a lot of outlines or answers to objections. Jesus has promised that the Spirit will give us just the words we need in every situation (Lk. 12.12).

But for the Word to be ready on our lips, we’ll need to work hard to hide it in our hearts (Ps. 119.9-11). And not just that, but to keep it faithfully in every aspect of our lives (Ps. 119.43). The more we keep what we have learned and come to delight in, the greater will be the consistency of our lived witness, and the more we will have the words we need to give others a reason for the hope that is within us (1 Pet. 3.15).

The verb “hoped” in verse 43 indicates continuous, expectant waiting. To hope in God’s Law (ordinances) is thus to expect them to be true and reliable and to lead us into that state of happiness all people seek (Ps. 119.1-3). It stands to reason that the more we hope like this in the Word of God, the more we will read and study it, hide it in our heart and keep it, and the more it will be in our mouth when we need it.

God by His grace gives us the strength to keep His Law by the inward working of His Spirit (Phil. 2.13). His grace also is the means whereby we are ready witnesses with our words (Acts 1.8). Faith and hope engage that grace to work out our salvation in obedience and a readiness to live and speak for the Lord at every opportunity (Phil. 2.12; Eph. 5.15-17).

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
The psalmist is seeking grace for the path God has marked out in His Law. He knows that words fitly spoken are a precious commodity: “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in setting of silver” (Prov. 25.11). A beautiful visual indeed.

He has just asked God in Psalm 119.42 for good answers for those who reproach him, and now he is doubling down on that same request by asking that God would not ever allow His words to vanish from his mouth. Ever (Ps. 119.43). The word “utterly” is dramatic, but that is the mood he is going for; “Please, Lord, do not ever let me not have Your words of truth in my heart. Because if Your words are in my heart, that is what I will speak.”

Jesus talked about this very issue. He explained: “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Lk. 6.45).

And the reason the psalmist wants God’s words in his heart, coming constantly out of his mouth, is because he has found God and His way to be the biggest blessing anyone could ever experience. He hopes continually in God’s ordinances, and he wants others to hope in the same thing. He knows it is the only way to go (Ps. 119.43).

“My hope is in You” (Ps. 39.7).

“For You are my hope, O Lord GOD; You are my trust from my youth” (Ps. 71.5).
“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our heart by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom. 5.5).
“…we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 Jn. 3.2, 3).

Really, who wouldn’t want to live in that hope, and in the grace that God gives us for this amazing path to walk?

And to walk this path takes only two things:
1. Keep God’s Law continually, forever and ever. (Ps. 119.44)
2. Utterly! (For drama)

For reflection
1. What opportunities will you have today, as you walk God’s path for your life, to share something about Jesus? How will you prepare for these?

2. Why do we need to bear witness to our faith by both our lives and our words?

3. What do we mean by saying that faith and hope engage grace unto obedience? How can you make this a working principle in your life?

We need to pray that we may never be afraid or ashamed to own God’s truths and ways before men. And the psalmist resolves to keep God’s law, in a constant course of obedience, without backsliding. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Psalm 119.41-48

Pray Psalm 119.41-43.
What opportunities will you have today to encourage someone with the Word of God? How should you prepare for these?

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.

Let my words be Your words, Lord; strengthen me to keep Your Law.
All my hope is in Your Word, and I seek Your precepts all.
I will ever keep Your Word, for I trust in You, O Lord!

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.

The winds of false doctrine are exceedingly strong in our day. If we don’t recognize them, we may become swept up in them and blown off course in our walk with Lord. Our ReVision study on “Winds of Doctrine” can help you keep the sails of your soul in the wind of God’s Spirit. You can download all the studies in this series by clicking here.

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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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