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The Scriptorium

Living and Powerful

Never forget that. God doesn't. Psalm 119.49

Psalm 119.49-56 (1)

Pray Psalm 119.55, 56.

I remember Your name in the night, O LORD,
And I keep Your law.
This has become mine,
Because I kept Your precepts.

Sing Psalm 119.55, 56.
(Wycliff: All for Jesus)
In the night Your Name attends me, as I keep Your holy Word;
and Your precepts all befriend me, as I keep them, glorious Lord.

Read Psalm 119.49-56; meditate on verse 49.

1. What does the psalmist want God to do?

2. Why?

The ז (ZY-in) stanza of Psalm 119 begins with a very important insight: God remembers His Word.

Wait. Is there some danger He might not? Like He might forget something that He promised? Or fail to keep His Word because it slipped His mind?

Not at all. The Hebrew verb zah-CAR (זָכַר‎) is typically translated “remember” but it’s meaning is much more active than we typically associate with that word. So, for example, Moses wrote that God “remembered” His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob when Israel was in Egypt. That is, He was continually attending to it, carrying it out actively and powerfully to accomplish the deliverance of His people.

The writer of Hebrews describes the Word of God as “living and powerful” (Heb. 4.12). This gets at the sense of what the psalmist means here. He wants God to “remember” His Word, to make it a living and powerful agent in his soul, causing him to hope and be encouraged and to bring forth new life in him (v. 50). For unless the Spirit of God works with the Word of God in us, we will not benefit from our reading or study. But if we couple faithful reading and study with continuous prayer that God’s Spirit will be at work within us, teaching us His Word and making us willing and able to do what pleases God (Jn. 14.26; Phil. 2.13), then we will truly know the living and powerful Word working to transform us into the image of Jesus Christ.

God’s Word is filled with precious and very great promises, all of which resolve into Jesus (2 Pet. 1.4; 2 Cor. 1.20). We partake of the divine essence – His living and powerful Word – as God actively applies those promises to us, and we, filled with hope, eagerly reach out our hands and hearts to receive them.

A world of wickedness surrounds us. (vv. 50, 51, 53). We need to “remember” God’s Word (v. 52), knowing that He will do so also as we look hopefully to Him in prayer.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.16.
Sometimes, because we are human and sinful and lazy and curious, we might wonder, “Why?”
Why are we to remember?
Why do we care if God remembers?
And remembers what?
Why do we have to obey?
Why do we care?
Why should we care?
What is the point?
What’s all the fuss?
Aren’t we already saved?

Well the answer to all of these questions is this: we are to be more like Jesus. Long and short. Quick and simple. Straight up. That’s the answer. The whole truth, nothing but the truth, so help me God. Seriously.

“But if we couple faithful reading and study with continuous prayer that God’s Spirit will be at work within us, teaching us His Word and making us willing and able to do what pleases God, then we will truly know the living and powerful Word working to transform us into the image of Jesus Christ.”

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you
in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,
as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness,
that through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,
by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises,
that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature,
having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Pet. 1.2-4).

“Partakers of the divine nature.” Why? To be like Jesus.

“But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2.16). Why? To be like Jesus.

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above,
where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.
Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3.1-3). Why? To be like Jesus.

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…” (Phil. 2.5). Why? To be like Jesus.

And then why all the fuss? Why should we care? What is the point? Simple.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves;
it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which were prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2.8-10). Why?

Because the people in your Personal Mission Field are in dire need of you to be like Jesus,
and for the good works that Jesus wants to do through you.

This is their hope, and ours (Ps. 119.49).

For reflection
1. Why should we be encouraged to know that God “remembers” His Word?

2. What is God trying to do in your life with His Word? What evidence do you see that He is making progress?

3. How can you encourage your fellow believers to keep seeking Jesus in the Law and Word of God?

Those that make God’s promises their portion, may with humble boldness make them their plea. He that by his Spirit works faith in us, will work for us. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Psalm 119.49-56

Pray Psalm 119.49.
Thank God that He “remembers” His Word and actively works to increase its power in your life. Call on Him to remember His Word for everything that lies ahead of you this day.

Sing Psalm 119.49.

(Wycliff: All for Jesus)
Lord, remember all the good Word You have spoken unto me!
For I ever hope in You, Lord as I serve You joyfully.

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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