[updated 061505; 091508]I've decided to get a bit of discipline in my devotional life by spending the next 22 weeks meditating through Psalm 119.
June 15 Well, this is my final day with verses 1-8, so I thought I'd revisit walk-treasure-search. How does the metaphor "walking his ways" illustrate the nature of obedience? A few random thoughts: 1) they are his ways, not ours--we don't get to pick; 2) we participate in obedience--this is not life as an automoton; 3) maybe it is like hiking a trail blazed by another--the way is mapped out, you get where you and the mapper intend, and there is a bunch of stuff to see along the way. How does the metaphor "treasuring his testimonies" illustrate the nature of obedience? 1) his testimonies are something valuable to be treasure, not endured; 2) obedience then is an inclination of the heart. How does the metaphor "seeking him" illustrate the nature of obedience? 1) obedience does not seek righteousness, salvation, recognition, rank, or anything else; rather, it seeks God himself; 2) this nixes any notions of legalism or libertinism; obedience is primarily about relationship with God, not rule-keeping; obedience is seeking God and God's ways, so we can't do whatever we want; rather we do what our passion for him requires.
June 14 Going back to verse 8, While I have known intellectually that love is the reason for obedience, verse 8 reveals the passionate desperation of the thing. As I passionately obey Jesus I more deeply experience his presence. Every time I disobey, I damage the relational connection on my end and my receptors go down and I feel the deep loss of passionate relating.
June 13 Weekend thoughts: (1) There is a relationship between presence and God-following that I think is much more profound than we imagine. I think it is the intersection of God's righteous demands and our deepest desires. Here's the idea, no matter what we may think in our usual thinking, if God the Spirit really does inhabit our souls, then our deepest thoughts resonate with verse 5, "Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes!" Verse 8 gives a desparate plea: "I will keep your statutes; do not utterly forsake me!" What if this is a deep yearning for what one knows is real rather than a cry of fear? (2) There's a bit in verse six--"having my eyes fixed"--that challenges a bites. Like the psalmist, I have most certainly not arrived at that place; like the psalmist, I know that one day my shame will be no more. For now, the mixed messiness of my soul often shames me. One moment is leaning strong toward God's glory and the next toward my own glory. But one day... (3) Notice the flow of the section this morning. It moves from general observations (vv.1-3) to God's righteous demands (v.4) to the psalmist's plea(vv.5-6) to the psalmist's response (vv.7-8). Could this be a path of theological thinking?
June 10 I've often read verse 7 (I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous rules.) and wondered how the psalmist could get away with such bargaining. This morning as I read this fresh, I think it sunk in a bit. I think he's stating a fact. Right now, in his messy life, his praise is not upright--it's messy. In verse 5 he pleads for steadfastness. So, messy praise now and pray for upright praise. Hmmm.
June 9 The three metaphors for obedience raise a question: What do walking his ways, keeping (treasuring) his Word, and seeking him say about obeying God?
All verses are quoted from the ESV.