In the beginning God … – Genesis 1:1
The 8th letter of the Hebrew Alphabet is Chet/Heth. It looks like a wall or a fence and is the letter that represents life. The Hebrew letters also represent a number and this one carries a numeric value of 8. It has a symbolic meaning as well: Chet is the number of beginnings, of covenants, and of grace. It represents the relationship of discipleship, of those that are disciplined in faith and willing to praise Him at all times.
I have never loved the word discipline, it doesn’t sound enjoyable at all. I don’t enjoy disciplining my children very much, but I want to disciple them. I want to teach them that even in the hard things there is goodness to be found. To teach them that there can always be a path of obedience and grace in the return journeys we take.
The more time I spend in this 119th Psalm, the more amazed I am at the depth of His Word and the affirmative way it connects ties everything together. Sections 7-9 deal with the journey we take to understand God’s law making it first in our lives out of necessity and adoration combined. The section on discipleship is neatly sandwiched between the sections on affliction. The imagery displayed never fails to leave me in awe. Right in the middle of the hard places, there is a reminder of beginnings.
Think about the depth of this promise-filled Word, friends…Beginning.We always have a chance to begin again, every single day, with God.
Have you ever longed for the chance to begin again, to start over, to wipe the slate clean?
In Christ we have been given that chance. Because of grace we get the slate wiped clean every single day. This journey we are on, this grace journey, it is because of mercy; the chesed- grace of God, which is the power to initiate a new beginning for us, overflows in abundance. As we make a choice to seek Him first, our first portion… our best portion… we begin to see the gift of every new beginning and the power of praise in every trial.
Red Sea Walking and Whole Heart Praying lead on us to seek His Goodness in all things.
When I think of beginnings I consider the way the Israelites walked across a sea with hearts that were unsure but chose obedience. I think of the command to love God with our whole heart, soul and minds and to pray a prayer led first by praise and structured fully by His Word. I think of the way we are changed, we are the Way of Grace walkers, people of the Cross marked by a promise whose beginning was already penned in the very first proclamation of light in Genesis. As a changed heart we are ultimately those who are seeking good in all things because we are seeking God in our every breath. Not only do we seek it, we believe the whole and full truth: GOD is always good.
Be the Red Sea Walkers ( Psalm 119:49-56)
This is my comfort and consolation in my affliction; that your Word has revived me and given me life. (Psalm 119:50)
The 8 verses that follow the Hebrew letter Zayin remind us that God’s Word is our sword in life. When we make God’s Word our portion, it also becomes our plea. His Word is the comfort and grace our souls require in a world where truth can be subjective and grace is sometimes optional.
Because God does not change, we can ultimately trust the validity of His Word. God’s Word brings us comfort, it strengthens us in trials, and it makes grow in boldness so that we can praise Him without fear in the midnight hours like Paul did in Acts 16:25.
Ultimately, we become Red Sea Walkers in the deserts and the wilderness places in our life. Sometimes we are overwhelmed by the trials and the persecutions we face; the periods of lack, loss, or emptiness. But, friend, our situation does NOT change who God is. When we see that. When we KNOW that… we change. Even if our circumstances do not change, we can step out in faith obediently and begin watching for Him split the sea before us.
“When we grasp a promise we get a hold on God.” – Charles Spurgeon
Be the Whole Heart Pray-ers (Psalm 119:57-64)
You are my portion, O Lord; I have promised to keep your words. – Psalm 119:57
Is He your full portion, friend? Are you well fed and content on the intake of His Word every day?
True believers are not satisfied unless God is their portion and the inheritance of their pursuing. This chance to begin every day with God as our pursuit puts value into our prayer. The Psalmist truly understood the value of what he prayed for. As we look at these verses we can see the power of whole-hearted praying. In this place… we need, we know, we value and we set as precious the time of prayer. We have a discernment which is not of this world, but instead we know the promise, we desire and depend upon the resplendent mercy already given for us.
The whole heart pray-er and the red sea walker are one in the same. They turn away from the path of least resistance and return repeatedly to the sojourn of promise with praise in their heart and an affirmation of hope in their confession.
Psalm 119:56 is our validation in our pressing-in moments of prayer, friends. When God is our portion, when He becomes our possession, we are truly filled.
“To possess God is to truly have everything.”- Charles Spurgeon
As we come to love God’s Word more and more by spending time in it, letting it settle into the crevice of our hearts, it becomes the seed of life within us. We know that the return we must make, daily on the journey to seek Him, is the source that contains us, sustains us, precedes us and follows us as we go.
- There is no sorrow heaven can’t cure.
- There is no situation God’s Word can’t remedy.
- There is no sin that is worth separation from the Holy One.
- There is no pleasure that can compare with praising God.
- He is the portion that fully completes us.
“But if we take the Lord as our portion, we must take Him as our king… the Lord as our portion, the Word as our rule… we are completed.” – Charles Bridges.
Be the Good Seekers (Psalm119:65-72)
You are good and do good; teach me your statutes…The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.(Psalm 119:68,72)
God is good, ALL the time; ALL the time, God is Good!
This concept of goodness takes us right back up to that 1st chapter of Genesis. God made… and it was good. This word good(tov) is the beginning of all but 2 of the verses in this section of Psalm 119. The Psalmist used real life yuck to portray to us that no matter where we are, no matter what is going on… God is good.
The circumstances of our lives don’t reflect the reality of who God is. That is sometimes hard for me to comprehend. And this knowing, this understanding, which is a part or our sanctification process… is what has to happen so that we can step into that place He calls us to dwell… right in the center of His will.
God’s good dealings with us are the basis of our knowing and trusting Him. We are His own. We are His chosen ones, the called, rescued, restored, righteous, forgiven, family, royal. Those who believe God’s Word, who believe God is for them, receive His Word as promises which do not fail. (Joshua 23:14)
God’s goodness in dealing with us is always good. Always good. No matter what he does or doesn’t do for us in our lives, we have so much to thank Him for because He has given better than we deserve.
“Our worst is better for us than the sinner’s best. It is bad for sinners to rejoice and good for saints to sorrow. A thousand benefits have come to us through our pains and our grief, and among the rest is this… that we have thus been schooled in the law.” – Charles Spurgeon.
The Psalmist understood the mercy of the LORD and His faithfulness to the Word. Both of which increase our faith in God and our ability to trust in His promise. His admonitions in this set of verses are parallel to Romans 5 which remind us of the blessing of trials and the power of being filled with His Spirit.
His goodness makes us good. Our quick obedience, becoming red sea walkers and whole hearted pray-ers, set us apart in our day-to-day living. In the fullness of living in real life, we have to choose to value His Word because it is right even when it is hard. We have to choose to say yes when we don’t want to because obedience is the trait of the children of God. We have to choose to pray believing He is who He says He is because faith looks at the unseen and calls it by name as the fully visible.
“The Word of God must be nearer to us than our friends, dearer to us than our own lives, sweeter to us than our liberty, and pleasanter to us than all earthly comforts.”- John Mason
Praying for you to rise up and walk across the red sea before you, to pray wholly fully with your heart in boldness, and to never ever forget that His goodness is His character and it will never change.Blessed are the Red Sea Walkers and the Whole Heart Pray-ers, because they see His Goodness mirrored in everything.
If you want to join us over at the Table of Grace Community for discussion on this study of Psalm 119, you can find us on FB. It is a welcoming group of grace dwellers.
You may want to read the other selections in this study here:
Starting May 15 I will be sharing a monthly newsletter that will showcase my freebie of the month for all my subscribers. The free download will change frequently and if you are new subscriber you will get the fun download, but if you have been a subscriber I don’t want you to miss the fun if you want in on it. Last month’s download was the Psalm 119 Bible Study. This month I will be sharing a few printables that go along with the study. Thanks for your grace as I work through these nuances.
Linking up with friends for the journey:
Me Coffee and Jesus, Unite, #RaRa Link Up, #Tell His Story, Three Word Wednesday, Coffee For Your Heart, Faith Barista, 3dlessons4life, Faith n Friends Blog Hop, Let Us Grow, Grace and Truth Link up, Dance with Jesus, Missional Women, Give Me Grace