Posts Tagged ‘Psalm 119’

Adversity: the best teacher

April 26, 2018

“The Quote of the Day” for April 26, 2018 comes from author Malcom Gladwell, who provides a different perspective on a term people often view in a negative light: adversity.

“Adversity is the best teacher. Overcoming disadvantages can be a more efficient way of learning crucial skills than applying advantages.”

In life we all encounter adverse situations that challenge us when our lives do not unfold as we thought they would. When you lose your job after working 10 years in what you thought was a secure position, you have to navigate through the upheaval and in the process you learn and grow in many ways.

Gladwell speaks of learning disabilities and other challenges that people face as “desirable difficulties,” or challenges that force people to learn new skills that prove extremely helpful. “In order to learn the things that really need to be learned we require a certain level of adversity,” he states. Adversity, in such cases can be good. They are not stumbling blocks nor impediments to success, but they can be seen as a stepping stones instead.

Many times believers will view adversity as a tool of the adversary, the enemy of our soul. In actuality, God allows such adverse circumstances to teach us invaluable lessons, as we learn once more that all things work together for our good. The Psalmist declares that adversity is good in Psalm 119:71, the inspiration behind the following original lyrics:

It is good for me
Psalm 119:71

It is good for me that I have been afflicted;
That I might learn Your statutes,
To walk in Your precepts,
To keep Your commandments,
To follow as You teach me.
It is good for me. It is good for me.
It is good for me. It is good.
I have learned to love Your Word and Your ways.

It is good for me that I have been afflicted;
That I have been made humble,
That I have known both joy and sorrow.
In times of famine and in plenty,
That You have always been beside me.
It is good for me. It is good for me.
It is good for me. It is good.
I have learned to love Your Word and Your ways.

It is good for me that I have been afflicted;
That I might learn Your statutes,
To walk in Your precepts,
To keep Your commandments,
To follow as You teach me.
It is good for me. It is good for me.
It is good for me. It is good.
I have learned to love Your Word and Your ways.

It is good for me. It is good for me.
It is good for me. It is good.
I have learned to love Your Word and Your ways.

It is good for me to draw near unto You.
I have put my trust in You
That I may declare Your works
And always sing Your praises,
And give glory to Your Name.
It is good for me. It is good for me.
It is good for me. It is good.
I have learned to love Your Word and Your ways.

About nine years ago I recall hearing a message entitled “Advancing in Diversity” which touched upon the source of our adversity and inspired this poetic response:

Advancing in Adversity

Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the LORD delivers him out of them all.
Psalm 34:19

Advancing in adversity is not easy.
As I fight the good fight and patiently endure,
I learn to discern the source of adversity.

I face the common foe of all of humanity.
Like Abraham, I walk by faith, strengthened and secure.
Advancing in adversity is not easy.

No longer in bondage, for I have been set free
And stand in His presence with a heart that is pure.
I learn to discern the kind of adversity.

Judge the source, whether of God or the enemy;
Recall we live in a fallen world—that’s for sure.
Advancing in adversity is not easy.

Does a predicament or problem confront me?
Beyond the inconvenience, God will reassure.
I learn to discern the kind of adversity.

Each day I design and refine my strategy,
Following in the steps of Christ as I mature.
Advancing in adversity is not easy.
I learn to discern the kind of adversity.

The portion of Psalm 119 containing verse 71 is called the Teth section offered here in musical form:

I hurry to keep your commandments

July 26, 2017

 

In Psalm 119:60 in the Amplified Bible we find the Verse of the Day for July 25, 2017:

I hurried and did not delay to keep Your commandments.

This is how the King James Version puts it:

I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.

Here are additional renderings of the verse that describes how the Psalmist responds to the Word of God:

Psalm 119:60 (Common English Bible–CEB) :

I hurry to keep your commandments—
I never put it off!

Psalm 119:60 (Complete Jewish Bible–CJB) :

I hurry, I don’t delay,
to observe your mitzvot.

Psalm 119:60 (Contemporary English Version–CEV) :

As soon as you command,
I do what you say.

Psalm 119:60 (Easy to Read Version-ERV) :

Without wasting any time,
I hurried back to obey your commands.

The verse also brings to mind the exhortation from James: “Be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.”

The various versions all express this important truth: As the Poet says, “We place our ears near to the lips of God,” and when He speaks, we learn to swiftly obey. We do not wait, but we must learn to respond immediately, as one of the stanzas from “The Servant’s Song: My Eyes Are Only on You” reminds us:

My eyes are only on you.
My eyes are only on you.
All that you tell me that I will do.
I offer my life; I give it to you,
For my eyes are only on you.

As the eyes of a servant look to the hands of His Lord,
As the ears of a servant know so well his master’s voice,
So my mind stays focused to watch and learn how you move.
Create in me a servant’s heart; teach me to serve in love.

My eyes are only on you.
My eyes are only on you.
All that you tell me that I will do.
I offer my life; I give it to you,
For my eyes are only on you.

As I continue to wait upon my Master and Lord,
I will quickly obey and gladly submit to His will.
I fulfill my calling as I watch and wait to see
When He bids me to the wedding feast, and He will wait on me.

My eyes are only on you.
My eyes are only on you.
All that you tell me that I will do.
I offer my life; I give it to you,
For my eyes are only on you.

Biblical scholar EW Bullinger notes that Psalm 119 is an acrostic psalm of 22 sections of eight verses each with each section starting with one of the 22 consecutive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Take a look at the psalm and note that the first eight verses are labeled under Aleph, verses 9-16 are labeled under Beth; the same sequence follows for all 176 verses (8 x22).
The Verse of the Day is part of the Heth section, a portion of which is set to music as a hymn sung in the following video:

Jesus: Our redeemer

April 29, 2017

Job 19.25-26

The Verse of the Day for April 27, 2017 comes from Job 19:25 (NLT):

“But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last.

This verse refers to the  “redeemer,” one who exercises the right of redemption. The act of redeeming literally means  “to purchase out, buy up;  buy out of the hands of a person; to set free; to buy off, to secure for oneself or one’s own use; to buy up from the power or possession of any one.” According to the Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, to be redeemed, then, is to be forgiven, to be made holy, to be freed, adopted, and reconciled to God.

Psalm 111:9 (NLT) refers to the redemption of Israel:

He has paid a full ransom for his people.
He has guaranteed his covenant with them forever.
What a holy, awe-inspiring name he has!

Likewise, Psalm 130:7 (NLT) makes known the same:

O Israel, hope in the Lord;
for with the Lord there is unfailing love.
His redemption overflows.

The Verse of the Day with its reference to “my redeemer” also brings to mind that as believers we have been redeemed or purchased back from hand of the enemy by Christ Jesus, as Matthew 20:28 proclaims:

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many

Jesus is designated as our savior and redeemer. In the Old Testament we find a particular reference to the Kinsman Redeemer. This heroic figure is foreshadowed in the Book of Ruth, where a male relative assumes the responsibility to act on behalf of a distant family member who is in danger or trouble or in need of vindication.

A scripture memory song describes this Old Testament prototype:

The Kinsman Redeemer, our wonderful savior.

The Kinsman Redeemer, we know that He is able

To restore and to bless, to turn sadness into joy.

When we read the Word of God and learn the truth,

We see that the Kinsman Redeemer was Boaz who married Ruth.

A series of teachings based on the Book of Ruth and some of the lessons to be learned from that amazing love story reveals the heroic figure of the Kinsman Redeemer. The teachings inspired this poem which the Verse of the Day brought to mind:

Another Lesson from the Book of Ruth

Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us.

And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently

for God’s promises to be fulfilled.

Romans 15:4 (NLT)

In times of crisis when famine engulfs the land,

Those willing to glean, to sacrifice will survive.

Like Ruth, they shall be satisfied and even thrive

To see blessings flow from the Father’s own right hand.

As a Kinsman Redeemer arose to rescue

Two brave women in despair, Naomi and Ruth,

So their example reveals an eternal truth:

What God did then, He does no less for me and you.

Dismissing failures, our Savior ignored each flaw

As he called us by name and set the captives free,

For our redemption canceled any penalty

When he redeemed our souls from the curse of the Law.

Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, still lives,

And through all eternity he endlessly gives.

Heidi French Lovett offers a musical expression of “Jesus our Redeemer”:

The verse from Job also brings to mind George Friedrich Handel’s Messiah, the renowned oratorio based on texts from the King James Version of the Bible. One of the most well-known selections from this frequently performed musical composition is based Job 19:25-26: “I Know that My Redeemer Liveth.”

A lamp and a light

November 17, 2016

psalm 119 105

Revised and re-posted, the Verse of the Day for November 17, 2016 is taken from Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible. Also known as the Torah Psalm, this passage makes reference to Word of God in every verse, employing such synonyms as “statues, Law, judgments, precepts, etc. One of the most familiar metaphors used to describe the Scriptures is found in Psalm 119:105 (NKJV):

[ן Nun] Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Biblical scholar, EW Bullinger, points out that Psalm 119 is an acrostic psalm of 22 sections of eight verses each, with each section starting with one of the 22 consecutive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Take a look at the psalm and note that the first eight verses are labeled under Aleph, verses 9-16 are labeled under Beth; the same sequence follows for all 176 verses (8 x22).  This arrangement made the psalm easier to memorize, according to the Holman Bible Handbook.

 

The Verse of the Day is part of the Nun section set to music in the following video by Clear:

 

 

This particular verse was among the first scripture memory songs that I ever composed with the following lyrics:

 

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet.

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet

And a light unto my path.

 

 

When I am in the dark

And cannot find my way,

I open up the Bible

To see what God will say.

I look and find the answer

And then I gladly obey.

 

 

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet

And a light unto my path.

 

 

When you have a problem,

And you don’t know what to do,

Just open up the Bible

See what God says to you.

Just look and find the answer.

Ask yourself, “What would Jesus do?”

 

 

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet.

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet

And a light unto my path.

 

 

Psalm 119:105 is the inspiration for this worship composition “Lamp unto My Feet” by Hillsong

 

 

 

 

David W. Morris is the worship leader on “Thy Word” (Psalm 119:105) by Hosanna! Music.

 

Reflecting on Psalm 119:105 is a great way to launch our day.

A lamp unto my feet

November 17, 2015

psalm 119 105Today’s blog entry is a devotional posted a year ago on this site:

The Verse of the Day for November 17, 2015 is taken from Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible. Also known as the Torah Psalm, this passage makes reference to Word of God in every verse, employing such synonyms as “statues, Law, judgments, precepts, etc. One of the most familiar metaphors used to describe the Scriptures is found in Psalm 119:105 (NLT):

[ Nun ] Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.

Take a look at the psalm and note that the first eight verses are labeled under Aleph, verses 9-16 are labeled under Beth; the same sequence follows for all 176 verses (8 x22). This arrangement made the psalm easier to memorize, according to the Holman Bible Handbook.

The Verse of the Day is part of the Nun section set to contemporary music in the following video by Clear:

This particular verse was among the first scripture memory songs that I ever composed with the following lyrics:

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet.

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet

And a light unto my path.

 

When I am in the dark

And cannot find my way,

I open up the Bible

To see what God will say.

I look and find the answer

And then I gladly obey.

 

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet

And a light unto my path.

 

When you have a problem,

And you don’t know what to do,

Just open up the Bible

See what God says to you.

Just look and find the answer.

Ask yourself, “What would Jesus do?”

 

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet.

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet

And a light unto my path.

Psalm 119:105 is also the inspiration for this beautiful worship composition “Lamp unto My Feet” by Hillsong

David W. Morris is the worship leader on “Thy Word” (Psalm 119:105) by Hosanna!Music.

Reflecting on Psalm 119:105 is a great way to launch this brand new day.

God’s Word: A light and a lamp

November 17, 2014

psalm 119 105

The Verse of the Day for November 17, 2014 is taken from Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible. Also known as the Torah Psalm, this passage makes reference to the Word of God in every verse, employing such synonyms as “statues, Law, judgments, precepts, etc. One of the most familiar metaphors used to describe the Scriptures is found in Psalm 119:105 (NIV):

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

Biblical scholar, EW Bullinger, points out that Psalm 119 is an acrostic psalm of 22 sections of eight verses each, with each section starting with one of the 22 consecutive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Take a look at the psalm and note that the first eight verses are labeled under Aleph, verses 9-16 are labeled under Beth; the same sequence follows for all 176 verses (8 x22).  This arrangement made the psalm easier to memorize, according to the Holman Bible Handbook.

The Verse of the Day is part of the Nun section set to music in the following video by Clear:

This particular verse was among the first scripture memory songs that I ever composed with the following lyrics:

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet.

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet

And a light unto my path.

When I am in the dark

And cannot find my way,

I open up the Bible

To see what God will say.

I look and find the answer

And then I gladly obey.

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet

And a light unto my path.

When you have a problem,

And you don’t know what to do,

Just open up the Bible

See what God says to you.

Just look and find the answer.

Ask yourself, “What would Jesus do?”

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet.

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet

And a light unto my path.

Psalm 119:105 is the inspiration for this beautiful worship composition “Lamp unto My Feet” by Hillsong

David W. Morris is the worship leader on “Thy Word” (Psalm 119:105) by Hosanna! Music.

Reflecting on Psalm 119:105 is a great way to launch our day.

The Word endures forever

August 6, 2014

psalm_119-160

Psalm 119:160 (KJV) is source of the Verse of the Day for August 6, 2014:

Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.

The phrase “righteous judgments” brought to mind one of my favorite passages from Psalm 19 which uses various expressions of the Word of God, such as the law of the Lord, statues, and commandments. I especially recall verse 9:

The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

Biblical scholar EW Bullinger points out that Psalm 119 is an acrostic psalm of 22 sections of eight verses each with each section starting with one of the 22 consecutive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Take a look at the psalm and note that the first eight verses are labeled under Aleph, verses 9-16 are labeled under Beth; the same sequence follows for all 176 verses (8 x22).

The Verse of the Day is part of the Resh section set to music by Anthony Chow in the following video:

The Psalmist is clear in his proclamation that the Word of God endures forever. The reference to the Word of God as enduring also brings to mind Isaiah 40:7-8. This particular passage is used as the epigraph or introduction to a poem inspired when I stood on the stump of a massive oak tree that had gradually died over a period of time, eventually having to be cut down. Although the tree had been around for centuries, its demise brought to mind how fleeting life is in the light of eternity.

The Old Oak Stump

The grass withers, the flower fades,

because the breath of the LORD blows upon it:

surely the people are grass.

The grass withers, the flower fades,

but the word of our God stands for ever.

Isaiah 40:7-8

 

 

I stand dead center on the old oak stump,

The ruin of a woodland monument,

My feet encircled by the woody rings

That number far beyond remembered years.

I read between the lines of annual

Reports a history of all you have seen:

You saw the Shawnee dance around his fires;

You knew the name of each German who came

To farm, to build, and to beget his sons

Under the shaded beauty of your boughs;

You spread your arms and offered shelter as

A dwelling place for bird and beast and boy.

Yet time’s swift stroke condemned the tenement

As progress served its eviction notice.

Men leveled the tree whose lease had expired,

Legend of a people, long since cut off,

Like meadow grass overgrowing the land

Where I stand and read man’s life history:

Fleeting as baby’s breath, man’s day sprinkles

Grasslands for a season, then blows away.

All life evaporates like dew, except

The Word of God, which ever shall inspire.

 

Psalm 119:89 also proclaims the same truth: Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven. Indeed, the Holy Bible, the Book of Life, the Word of God, the word of the Lord endures forever.

Ken Whitson offers an original song “The Word Will Stand Forever.”