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The Scriptorium

In Lawless Times

We need law keepers. Psalm 119.121-128

Psalm 119.121-128

Pray Psalm 119.126.

It is time for You to act, O LORD,
For they have regarded Your law as void.

Sing Psalm 119.126, 127.
(Leominster: My Heart Doth Overflow)
The wicked scorn Your Word; let us be strong and bold
to act for You our sovereign Lord, and love You more than gold.
How precious is Your Word, no treasure on the earth
compares to it or to You, Lord, of holy, matchless worth.

Read Psalm 119.121-128; meditate on verse 126.

1. In the psalmist’s mind, what time was it?

2. How could he tell that was the time?

In our age as in every other period of human history, the greatest need is love. And the virtue which is in shortest supply, especially in our day, is love.

How can it be that what the world needs most is most rarely known? Jesus explained: “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold” (Matt. 24.12). To many Christians, this is an enigmatic statement. What is “lawlessness”? Since most Christians have set the Law of God aside – thus joining in the ranks of those in the unbelieving world who regard God’s Law as “void” – defining “lawlessness” can be difficult.

But it shouldn’t be. Jesus said that all the Law of God can be summed up in terms of love for God and neighbors (Matt. 22.34-40). The Law of God, far from being a useless burden to cast off and ignore, is our mandate and handbook for love. Ignore the Law – void it in any way – and your love for God and others will grow cold. And if love grows cold in the Church, imagine how rare that precious commodity must be in the world beyond the pale of faith.

It is time to act for the sake of love. To do justice and righteousness (v. 121), seek more of our great salvation (v. 123), study God’s Law and all His Word for greater understanding (v. 125), cherish the commandments and precepts of God more than all other things (vv. 127, 128), and, convinced of the rightness of God’s Word, to hate every false way and keep to the righteous path (v. 128).

If only believers would act more in line with the prescriptions of this stanza, they would find God active in meeting and empowering them to bring the warmth of His love more palpably to our world.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“You are my King, O God; commands victories for Jacob” (Ps. 44.4) – and for us!

Before Jesus explained that lawlessness would abound, causing the love of many to grow cold (Matt. 24.12), He answered a question about divorce from the ever-present and irritating Pharisees: “He said to them, ‘Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so’” (Matt. 19.8).

We have been duly warned that lawlessness and the hardness of a person’s heart arouse the ire of God, and of the godly. When Jesus sent out seventy disciples to go “before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go,” He instructed them that whatever city they entered and the people received them, and they healed their sick, they were to say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” Conversely, to the cities that did not receive them they were to say, “The very dust of your city which clings to us we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near you” (Lk. 10.9, 11).

The Kingdom of God was near them regardless of their response to it. The positive people and the negative people. Law-keepers and Law-voiders. The godly and the ungodly. Believers and unbelievers alike. “Because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them” (Rom. 1.19). The them in this verse is all of mankind. We all know of God and have been exposed to His Kingdom. We are all culpable. Will we harden our hearts unto lawlessness, or open them unto life and love?

But when we are sure that we are living on the right side of the Law of God—not regarding it as void, and in the Kingdom of God’s own Son (Col. 1.13)—then we can wholeheartedly pray with David:
“This You have seen, O LORD; do not keep silence.
O LORD, do not be far from me.
Stir up Yourself, and awake to my vindication,
to my cause, my God and my Lord.
Vindicate me, O LORD my God, according to Your righteousness;
and let them not rejoice over me…”
“Let the LORD be magnified, Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.”
“And my tongue shall speak of Your righteousness and of Your praise
all the day long” (Ps. 35.22-24; 27, 28).

“In Lawless Times” let us “love Your commandments more than gold!” (Ps. 119.127). And then take this fearful and precious message into our Personal Mission Fields because the Lord is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3.9).

For reflection
1. How or in what sense does the Kingdom of God “come near” those who do not believe in Jesus? Do you have a role in this?

2. How should having been “conveyed” into the Kingdom of Jesus Christ affect the way we live each day?

3. Why is the Law of God – and all His Word – so important for full and abundant Kingdom living?

The commandments of God are positive and negative, specific and general, restrictive and permissive. Yet most important, they help a person to identify his or her way in a world that is filled with confusion, sin, and error. Earl Radmacher (1931-2014), NKJV Study Bible Note on Psalm 121-128

Pray Psalm 119.123, 124.
Pray that  God will give you a greater understanding of His Word, a deeper commitment to obedience, and more opportunities to encourage your fellow believers in loving God and His Word.

Sing Psalm 119.123, 124.
(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.

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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