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The Scriptorium

Servants of the Lord

In our appointed garden. Psalm 119.123, 124

Psalm 119.121-128 (3)

Pray Psalm 119.124.
Deal with Your servant according to Your mercy,
And teach me Your statutes.
I am Your servant;
Give me understanding,
That I may know Your testimonies.

Sing Psalm 119.124, 125.
(Leominster: My Heart Doth Overflow)
With mercy greet me, Lord, Your servant, ever true;
teach me the wonders of Your Word, and set my heart on You!
Help me to understand and serve You day by day,
Lord, lead me by Your good, strong hand, and keep me in Your way.

Read Psalm 119.121-128; meditate on verses 124, 125.

1. How did the psalmist describe Himself?

2. What did he seek from the Lord?

The idea that we are created to be servants is very old. Indeed, it goes all the way back to the garden of Eden (cf. Gen. 2.15). The word translated “tend” by NKJV is actually the word “serve” – that same word root by which the psalmist identifies himself here. This is important, because it shows us that serving is first a matter of place, not tasks, and not even people. You can’t serve unless you understand the place God has appointed for you. In our case, not a garden, but a Personal Mission Field.

Staying with Adam for the moment, we can understand “serve” – as in serve the garden – to mean apply ourselves heart, mind, and strength to bringing out the goodness God has invested in the things He has placed around us, so that the goodness of God might increase in the land of the living (Ps. 27.13). That requires knowledge of what God intends for His creation, and that knowledge comes from His Word, beginning in His statutes and testimonies – His Law. Thus, to fulfill our calling as servants, we need the Word of God. We need His Spirit to teach it to us (Ezek. 36.26, 27) so that we understand and know it well, and can obey it unto the glory of God.

And if – as in the case of Adam – God happens to put people in our Personal Mission Garden, then our job is to work at serving them so that they realize more of the goodness, beauty, and truth for which God created them. And in doing that, the best we can do – as those who know His Word – is to point them to Jesus, the Word of God incarnate, by our lives and words.

What if everything in your Personal Mission Garden – all the stuff, every place, and all the people – bore the fragrance or provided a glimpse of Jesus? We are the frail vessels God intends to use for His praise and glory, as we serve everyone and everything with the grace and truth of God (2 Cor. 4.7, 15).

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
A garden is defined as a planned space, usually outdoors, set aside for the cultivation, display, and enjoyment of plants and other forms of nature. The single feature identifying even the wildest wild garden is control.

And God has placed us each in our own Personal Mission Garden. Just think of it! And the many beautiful possibilities displayed there. Our family, our homes, our friends, our neighbors, our churches, our communities, our callings are all a part of this beautiful garden. Under the control of the Holy Spirit and His loving guidance and power.

We are called to lovingly serve and tend and weed and fertilize and prune this space into which we have been placed (Eph. 2.10). And we have been given the task by our heavenly Father, Who will teach us and give us understanding in the how-tos of holy horticulture. He will train us in how to cultivate and manage this precious ground of other people’s hearts and lives. The very first place of occupancy that God created for mankind was a garden: “The LORD God planted a garden…and there He put the man whom He had formed” (Gen. 2.8).

We, too, have been given this same work, to serve and tend. It is the “place God has appointed for” us. He has already gone to the nursery center and has equipped us with the seeds to sow and a good watering can. (1 Cor. 3.6) “For we are God’s fellow workers…” (1 Cor. 3.9).

Our request to the Master Gardener is this: Deal with us in Your mercy and teach us how to do this work. We are Your garden workers, and we need understanding in how to make our gardens bloom for Your honor and glory. We need to know Your ways, Your words, and Your testimonies (Ps. 119.124, 125). You know how to do this best; so we will be in Your Word daily, learning from You, longing to be more like Jesus, and rejoicing to be Your servants.

I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses;
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses.
And He walks with me,
And He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share
As we tarry there,
None other has ever known.
C. Austin Miles

For reflection

1. Does thinking about your Personal Mission Field as a garden enrich your thinking at all? Explain.

2. Why do we need to be grounded in God’s Word to fulfill our calling as servants?

3. How does your garden grow? Whom will you serve today with the grace and truth of God?

This prayer then must be resolved thus: Lord, deal gently with me, and manifest thy goodness towards me by instructing me in thy commandments. Our whole happiness undoubtedly consists in our having that true wisdom which is to be derived from the word of God; and our only hope of obtaining this wisdom lies in God's being pleased to display his mercy and goodness towards us. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Psalm 119.124

Pray Psalm 119.128.
Ask the Lord for mercy and grace according to your specific needs today, that you might serve Him and others well.

Sing Psalm 119.128.
(Leominster: My Heart Doth Overflow)
Speak, Lord, and let us hear, the precepts of Your Word,
and know Your Presence ever near - our good and sovereign Lord!
Your ways are right and true; I hate each lying way;
Your precepts let me ever do and never from them stray.

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website,, 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.

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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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