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The Scriptorium

Choices

It's life. Choose wisely. Psalm 119.169-176

Psalm 119.169-176

Pray Psalm 119.171-173.
My lips shall utter praise,
For You teach me Your statutes.
My tongue shall speak of Your word,
For all Your commandments are righteousness.
Let Your hand become my help,
For I have chosen Your precepts.

Sing Psalm 119.171-173.
(Regent Square: Angels from the Realms of Glory)
With our lips we praise You, Jesus, for You teach us, full and free.
Now Your Word will ever please us; Your commandments true shall be.
Let Your hand come forth to ease us; we Your Word choose gratefully!

Read Psalm 119.169-176; meditate on verses 171-173.

Preparation
1. What did the psalmist choose?

2. What did that choice entail?

Meditation
Life is a series of choices. What to eat? What to wear? Which occupation to pursue? Whom to love? What to do next? Every choice we make entails a raft of specific actions designed to help us accomplish our choices. Even when bad things happen to us, we must choose how we will respond and what next steps we’ll take.

How much more is this true of the life of faith, the gift of salvation, and our approach to God’s Word! Every choice we might make – even down to the most everyday activities – has the potential to glorify God as Christ lives His life through us (1 Cor. 10.31; Gal. 2.20). As we have seen, Psalm 119 catalogs the actions that derive from having made the choice to learn the precepts of God’s Law. Reading, meditating, learning, obeying, repenting, clinging to God’s Word, praising, proclaiming, testifying, and more.

Why would someone make such a choice? Because those precepts – all God’s Word – are true, reliable, and wise. How can we know when we are learning them? As we delight in and love the Word of God and live out its teachings. Wouldn’t it be easier not to choose God’s Word? Then we wouldn’t have to deal with such things as conviction of sin, opposition from those who hate God and His Word, repeated lapses into disobedience, and all that time and effort required to learn so much.

But unless we make that choice, we will never know the full scope of our great salvation. We will always be vulnerable to temptation and likely to stray into sin. And the great delight and joy of knowing God in His Word will elude us, reducing our “faith” to little more than external practices.

Every choice we make defines the path we take in life, whether we will go with the flow of the world and our flesh, or walk the pilgrim journey to eternal glory, the eyes of our heart set squarely on Jesus and the precepts of His Word. Consider the many choices you will make today.

Choose wisely.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“He who keeps the commandment keeps his soul, but he who is careless of his ways will die” (Prov. 19.16).
Jesus affirmed the positive result of obedience to God’s law by saying, “…do this and you will live” (Lk. 10.28). He added that, in the same way, we prove our love for Him: “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (Jn. 14.15).

God said, “You shall observe My judgments and keep My ordinances, to walk in them: I am the LORD your God. You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them: I am the LORD” (Lev. 18.4, 5).

The psalmist’s last line to God and us is: “I do not forget Your commandments” (Ps. 119.176), which reiterates his commitment, “I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes forever, to the very end” (Ps. 119.112).

Moses stated the same: “Set your hearts on…all the words of this law. For it is not a futile thing for you, because it is your life…” (Deut. 32.46, 47).

And Joshua threw down a similar gauntlet to the people of Israel and to us: “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Josh. 24.15).

Psalm 119 began with glorious promises realized by following God’s laws: “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD! Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart! They also do no iniquity; they walk in His ways” (Ps. 119.1-3).

The truth is this: real growth is not easily come by; it takes dedicated hard work and obedience: “The works of the LORD are great, studied by all who have pleasure in them” (Ps. 111.2).

We must decide for ourselves:  Whom we want to follow, what we want to become, and where this truth will be found. Do we want to be careless with our ways and lives? Or do we want to keep our souls close to God by obeying His commandments?

When we daily study the Word of God, praying and meditating therein; and are diligent to present ourselves approved to God, workers who do not need to be ashamed, but rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Tim. 2.15), then we will know, most assuredly, that we have chosen wisely!

For reflection
1. Does it really matter whether our choices line up with the teaching of God’s Word? Explain.

2. What can you do to make sure you will never forget the Word of God when it’s time to make a choice?

3. How would you explain to a new believer that “real growth is not easily come by”?

There is an eternal salvation all the saints long for, and therefore they pray that God would help their way to it. Let thy judgments help me; let all ordinances and all providences, (both are God’s judgments,) further me in glorifying God; let them help me for that work. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Psalm 119.169-176

Pray Psalm
119.169, 170, 174-176.
Give thanks to God for Psalm 119 and how it guides us to learn, love, and live the Word of God.

Sing Psalm 119.169, 170, 174-176.
(Regent Square: Angels from the Realms of Glory)
Let my cry come up before You, holy, righteous, loving Lord;
give me understanding so to live according to Your Word.
Let my prayer rise up before You; by Your Word redeem me, Lord!

For Your saving grace we plead, Lord, and Your Law is our delight.
We to live and praise You need, Lord, all Your help by day and night.
Straying sheep, we do not heed, Lord; come and seek us by Your might!


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.
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