From Your Pastor, March 29

From Your Pastor, March 29

Lamedh (Part 11)
 
Ps 119.89        Forever, O LORD, your word
is firmly fixed in the heavens.
90         Your faithfulness endures to all generations;
you have established the earth, and it stands fast.
91         By your appointment they stand this day,
for all things are your servants.
92         If your law had not been my delight,
I would have perished in my affliction.
93         I will never forget your precepts,
for by them you have given me life.
94         I am yours; save me,
for I have sought your precepts.
95         The wicked lie in wait to destroy me,
but I consider your testimonies.
96         I have seen a limit to all perfection,
but your commandment is exceedingly broad.
 

In the first devotion on Ps 119 (on January 4!), I pointed out the reason it’s so long. I commented that the psalm “is a careful, self-searching meditation, by a mature believer.” The Anglican minister, Charles Bridges said it better, “[Psalm 119] may be considered as the journal of one who was deeply taught in the things of God, long practiced in the life and walk of faith. It contains the anatomy of experimental religion, the interior lineaments of the family of God. It is given for the use of believers in all ages, as an excellent touchstone of vital godliness.”1 The psalmist has been meditating on life, blessing, God’s faithfulness. He’s meditated on all the ways God’s word––which is the theme of the whole psalm––is a means of grace.
 
This 11th movement of his prayer starts with eternity. He compares the enduring creation to God’s enduring word. Actually, he meditates on the fact that that all creation comes from God’s word––both physical creation and, especially, his own spiritual life.  The parallelism in verse 89 is simple, but amazing.:
 

89 Forever, O LORD,
   your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.

 
The first line puts the word “forever” beside God’s covenant name, Yahweh (note the all-caps). He is the “I am.” He will be who he will be. God’s name, itself, is a commitment to be the Promise-Keeper. We should worship just based upon the opening line: God IS the same, yesterday, today, and forever; he is eternally for his covenant people.
 
The second line compares God’s eternity to the eternity of his word. Just as the Lord is forever, so will his word forever uphold the heavens. God spoke and formed the heavens and, now, those same heavens are speaking his glory: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above  proclaims his handiwork.Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge” (Ps 19.1–2). God set up the heavens and they’ve never fallen. They are fixed in the skies, just like his promises are unchangeably offered to us.
 
Likewise, other things God’s word created and established are still around:
 

90         Your faithfulness endures to all generations;
you have established the earth, and it stands fast.
91         By your appointment they stand this day,
for all things are your servants.
 

The heavens are still there, the earth is still there, and God has been faithful to every generation. The psalmist is comparing God’s creative word and his saving word. Just as the heavens haven’t fallen down and the earth hasn’t failed, neither will his salvation. He pivots in the next verse to saying just that:
 

92         If your law had not been my delight,
I would have perished in my affliction.
93         I will never forget your precepts,
for by them you have given me life.

 
God’s word created life, but it is also the means of finding spiritual life. God’s creative word is the source of being for all existing things, but it is his saving word that gives spiritual life. God’s word is the means of experiencing his grace. It carries through affliction (v. 92); it is the reason he doesn’t need to be afraid (v. 94); it is through God’s precepts that he’s found life. 
 
So, Dear Christian, what is your takeaway from all this? Look at the sky. The same, unchanging creative word that lifted heaven above the earth is the saving word that promised you life in Jesus Christ. His promises aren’t going anywhere. His love for his people is forever.
 
 
––Pastor Barry
 
1. Charles Bridges, Preface to Psalm 119: An Exposition, Banner of Truth, 1987, ix.