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Ayin, Pe and Tsade...

This is our fifth devotion taken from David’s 119th Psalm.  The next three stanzas, or letters in Hebrew, are Ayin, Pe and Tsade.

ע Ayin

"I have done what is righteous and just;  do not leave me to my oppressors. 

Ensure your servant’s well-being; do not let the arrogant oppress me. 

My eyes fail, looking for your salvation, looking for your righteous promise. 

Deal with your servant according to your love  and teach me your decrees. 

I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes. 

It is time for you to act, Lord;  your law is being broken. 

Because I love your commands more than gold, more than pure gold, 

and because I consider all your precepts right,  I hate every wrong path.”

Let’s remember once again, that David was inspired to write this based upon what he knew to be right about God and he obviously observed to be true about man.  He didn’t write these verses as if he was perfect;  in fact, these verses were written after he had committed adultery with Bathsheba and even had her husband killed to hide his sin.

But David repented, turned away from living like that—he never did anything like that again!  And he suffered, realized how just how evil his actions were, and humbly asked for forgiveness.  It strikes me that David was actually deserving of the death penalty on at least these two counts—and yet God was merciful to him.  Why?  Because David had genuine remorse, and God knew it,  and the penalty for his adultery and murder was absorbed by Jesus Christ. Paul said,  “In his forbearance God had passed over the sins that David previously committed and caused them to be laid upon Christ.” (Rom 3:25) What a compassionate God we have!!! If we only humble ourselves, admit our genuine “badness” and seek His ultimate goodness and claim the blood of His precious Son, we too can receive forgiveness.

“Ayin” is  plea for help for a man who feels surrounded by folks that don’t love God and don’t follow His laws.  But David trusts in God—not in man. This is a wise person!!   He begs God to come now—it’s been long enough Lord!  Our time on this earth seems all the more meaningless when read the newspapers, hear about war after war, cruelty after cruelty, and what sometimes appears to be the slide of humanity into utter self destruction! “Come Lord Jesus!”, is what many of us are crying. It’s enough because we know that this is not the way it should be and we want things right!  And let me add that the closer you are to Him…. the more you study His word….the more two things will become evident:

-You will become more disgusted and sick on your stomach by arrogance and pride of men.  Jesus held His most striking condemnation towards the pride of the religious folks of His day-not the prostitutes and drunks. What would He say today if He were in your church this week?

-Secondly you become all the more attacked by the enemy.  David had one fight after another during the days and nights he wrote the Psalms. Life was never “easy” for him. Such is the life of a man in after God’s heart —-we live in a world that competes for a man’s heart, it’s a daily fight.

David offered a righteous prayer in Psalm 119…. from a righteous man to a righteous God.  It’s a prayer that every generation of those that love God should pray. In 10,000 years of recorded history the hearts of men are the same as they always were—unless they surrender to God Almighty and humble themselves before Him.

I have learned the wisdom of praying for God to bless me, but not according to what I deserve, but rather to humbly pray as David prayed: “deal with me according to your love!” Yes and amen!  Don’t give me what I merit, give me your blessing in proportion to your love and as an assurance of your love!   And we should all also pray: “Please, please, Lord, in 220 days, do not give this nation or our state what we deserve as we elect governors, congressman, senators and a President—no!  Give us instead the gift of what we do not deserve—something far better than we’ve earned—give us a blessing in November based upon your love of this country!  Forgive us and heal our land Lord—give us your grace, your mercy and your love!”

Forgetting for a moment what a just society should do,  what should you and I, personally,  give back to folks that break our rules, defy us, slander us,  miss our marks of acceptable behavior and disappoint us? Do we give them what they deserve, or do we give them what God, through the sacrifice of Christ, has given to us?  Do we extend the same grace we plead to God for…. or do we assume the place of God Almighty and demand righteousness!?  Those of you, right now, that are angry, disappointed in life and maybe even at odds with God, have only yourselves to blame!  He does not hold back peace and sleep from those that love Him, obey Him and forgive other as He has forgiven us.  But if you don’t forgive others and  love others from the heart—your enemies and even members in your family,  you don’t know anything about the love of God. “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” (I John 4:20, NIV).  And I tell you, some reading this devotion right now,  do not know Him as evidenced by the fruit they bear.

פ Pe 

“Your statutes are wonderful;  therefore I obey them. 

The unfolding of your words gives light;  it gives understanding to the simple.

I open my mouth and pant,  longing for your commands.

Turn to me and have mercy on me,  as you always do to those who love your name.

Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.

Redeem me from human oppression,  that I may obey your precepts.

Make your face shine on your servant  and teach me your decrees. 

Streams of tears flow from my eyes,  for your law is not obeyed.”

The Psalmist says again and again how wonderful, perfect and meaningful God’s commands and teachings are.  And yet he sorrowfully admits that there are many around him that ignore it.  Nothing has changed today.  Most people, and a sizable percentage of those that claim to a Christian, obviously do not “delight” in God’s laws—let alone man’s laws!  Those that obey God and cling to His word and promises are supernaturally full of joy and peace!  But what a contrast to the one that not only doubts the efficacy of God’s precepts, but also God’s very existence.  They live a miserable existence.

But we do see David’s compassion on both those that are missing out on the real, fulfilled life God desires to give those that seek Him, as well as the sorrow David feels for God, the lover of his soul, because others have ignored God, disobeyed Him and mocked Him.   It breaks David’s heart that people are throwing their lives away,  and that the God who loves them so much, is so saddened by man’s rebellion.  How much does God love us?  “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  Romans 5:8 ESV.  David saw this coming, and for him it was reckoned as “righteousness”.

צ Tsadhe 

You are righteous, Lord, and your laws are right. 

The statutes you have laid down are righteous;  they are fully trustworthy. 

My zeal wears me out, for my enemies ignore your words. 

Your promises have been thoroughly tested,  and your servant loves them.

Though I am lowly and despised,  I do not forget your precepts. 

Your righteousness is everlasting and your law is true. 

Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands give me delight. 

Your statutes are always righteous;  give me understanding that I may live.

So, for a moment, consider God’s rules for marriages, families, the duties to our leaders, how we conduct ourselves with strangers, honesty and so forth.  Can we agree that  if the Bible is the authentic Word of God, and the commands and precepts of the Old Testament and New Testament faithfully record His divine will for mankind, that we have no excuse for ignoring it!?(Regardless what sociologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, philosophers, sages and CNN says.)

Have you ever considered that God might very well be right in all that He tells us that we should or should not do?  Is is possible that God’s comments about how to treat livestock, how we should raise and discipline our children , and how we should address crime and punishment—-even when it comes to capital punishment—might be right and we might be wrong?

This past week a mother in Ohio, one who worked for a local school board, confessed that she murdered her 16 month year old daughter by neglect.  What did she do?  She went on a ten day vacation and left that toddler in a crib with no one to look after her. For ten days no one changed her diapers, got her food or water, or picked her up when it was dark or when she woke up alone and afraid. For ten days the mother lived it up on a vacation while her little girl slowly,  painfully and totally bereft of human touch or affection, died of starvation and dehydration.  But you see, if the mother had determined 20 months earlier to rid herself of the child, it would have been legal, no one would have talked about it,  and no charges would have been brought against the mother…. because 20 months earlier it’s called abortion, not murder.

Can we agree that this mother was not living according to God’s law, and that if she was, that little girl would alive?   Forgive me for a moment of righteous indignation, but what that selfish, thoughtless, godless mother did is one more reason that hell does have a purpose?  And yes, God would that all would be saved—including this narcissistic, unfit mother!  But God does not make us get saved. And I thank God that He does not.  Some people do things that illustrates the depravity of a soul when God is not allowed to be present.  In cases like this, I appreciate God’s eventual justice for the unconfessed and unrepentant evil that men and women do.

On a more personal lever, can we agree that if both the bride and groom keep their promises to God and each other at the altar, that there would be precious few divorces?  In the world today, other nations do not wonder if America is powerful and able to do what other nations cannot, they wonder if we will ever again be a nation lead again by men and women that keep their promises to their friends…. and their threats to our enemies.

If we choose today, this very day, to live as God word tells us to, we would leave on an imaginably prosperous, safe and happy planet.   Joshua put it this way over 3000 years ago: “…. if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”  Amen.

Have you chosen whom you will serve?  Are you prepared to a man or woman after God’s own heart?  Is He, right now, speaking to you? What will you say to Him?

The Psalmist admits to God that among others he is despised and looked down upon. But it does not matter! He’s not changing horses in mid-stream or giving up on God!  And where does he get his encouragement and strength from?  Obedience to God’s commands.

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