Lent 2021, 4th Sunday in Lent | Psalm 119:101-104

Psalm 119:101-104

101 I hold back my feet from every evil way,
    in order to keep your word*.
102 I do not turn aside from your rules,
    for you have taught me.
103 How sweet are your words to my taste,
    sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 Through your precepts I get understanding;
    therefore I hate every false way.

* Through these reflections, those phrases that identify God’s word, revelation, or law will be highlighted in the text in the hopes of accentuating the many and varied ways we can visualize what God has given to us for our good.


Worship


Reflection

The longer we spend time with God’s word, the easier it becomes to tell the difference between right and wrong. The reason is quite simple. Simpler than we be ready to admit. It becomes easier because we now have access to how God sees the world, including how he see us.

When our thoughts are transformed by the word of God and our lives are conformed to the example of Christ, we begin to understand what would please God. In the same way that familiarity can make us more keenly aware of the preferences of our loved ones, when we know what God commands and what God desires we develop an awareness to what in congruent with God’s character.

Pleasing God is not complicated. But it does take a commitment to living in the light of his word. Pleasing God requires us to set aside trying to please those around us. As we learn what the Scriptures teach, and as we grow in our ability to recognize those things that are in line with it, we can actually respond more consistently to the variety of circumstances we may encounter.

The easiest way I have come to explain what this means is this: We have make decisions based on what God says, not what we feel. Our feelings will try and convince us that what is now before us matters more than the eternal truth of God. The proximity of the issue will confuse us if we are not grounded in who God is. God does not change. Therefore, whatever we do must not make it appear that God has changed.


Commentary

Verse 101: There is a link between our obedience to God word and the choices we make in life. It will be very rare the number of times where we will know what the consequences of our decisions will be. There are so many variables in life. This is why it is both wise and prudent to make choices that lead us toward greater submission to God. What this means is that as we learn what God has commanded, we do those things to the best of our ability. The greater our consistency, the lower the likelihood that we will chose paths that are evil or lead to evil.

Verse 102: In a variety of instances we have seen the Psalmist thank God for his instruction. This is the clearest instance of that sentiment. When we know who the teacher is, our confidence grow in what we are taught grows. So what are we to think when our teacher is God? We should disregard what God says less and less.

Verse 103: The image of eating God’s word and of the sweet taste it has is a vivid word picture. The Psalmist is adamant in their conviction that God’s words are the best things in the world. There is nothing better that having and consuming and savoring the wisdom of God in the Scriptures. In order to understand this, we have to take the full weight of what we have seen up to this point in the psalm into account. The blessings and benefits of obedience to God’s word cannot be calculated, but they can be experienced.

Verse 104: This verse recalls what was said in v. 101. While there might be some relative difference between the “evil” path and the “wrong” path, the difference in effect may not be as different at all. To choose or go down any path that leads away from God’s purposes will invariably reveal a failure to obey God’s word.


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I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, husband, father, and author. I am an avid Cubs fan and a lover of Chicago-style Deep Dish pizza.

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