Summary: ABC's of genuine thanksgiving to God.
a. Spiritual abundance is directly connected to God’s Word. (v.17)
i. Spiritual abundance exceeds worldly prosperity.
b. We are pilgrims in this life. (v.19)
i. Remain committed on the journey
ii. This “with-God” life is a consecrated journey. (v.20)
iii. Eyes which are open to the wonderful things of God’s law are needed in order to have a committed heart.
c. Unbelief, a lack of consecration, committed heart hinders the work of Christ. (Matthew 13:58) (v.21,22)
d. Ultimately we ought to be thankful for God revealing His love and justice through the word and desirous, as is the Psalmist, of bringing the beauty of God’s worth into the here and now through:
i. Abandonment: An Undivided Heart to the worth of God
ii. Bowing Down: A Surrendered Heart to the will – word of God.
iii. Consecration: A Committed Heart on the consecrated journey.
IV. Application (Practical)
a. Holiday Ideals
i. We may be disappointed by our imperfect families.
ii. Our culturally conditioned ideals may not be met.
b. Godly Ideals
i. The world always disappoints but God brings healing.
ii. Our cultural identity as believers is different.
c. Remain awake (eyes open, v.18) that the source of our thanksgiving is heavenly, not earthy. Remain consecrated, committed.
V. Conclusion (Theological Application)
a. Thanksgiving is ultimately raised to God through commitment to and love for Him through obedience to His precepts. (Luke 6:46-49)
b. What is genuine thanksgiving to God in biblical terms? An undivided, surrendered, and committed heart.
It has been said that the common breakfast of bacon and eggs is well suited to illustrate the notion of total devotion and commitment. For you see on that breakfast plate the chicken who gave the eggs is involved but the pig who gave his life is fully committed. What does God require of those whom are called by grace? What is the level of involvement required of followers of Jesus?
In Luke 9:23-25 the words of Christ are recorded saying that "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?” (NIV84)
For the past two weeks and now today we have been looking at what the author of Psalms 119 has to say about having a right heart toward God in thanksgiving for giving us His love, His life, and most notably His word.
Please bear in mind though that throughout what we’ve been examining that nowhere is there to be found a legalism with regard to God’s law; rather a love.
It has been said that "The law is no do-it-yourself manual which God has handed over to man. It is the written part of a life-long teach-in. With it comes the assurance of his living presence."
Living according to the law is not a prerequisite to receiving the grace of God. It is the natural consequence of receiving the grace of God. He calls us to live according to His word and He empowers us by transforming us through His word.
CIT: We are strangers in this world; God’s law lights the path of the pilgrimage.
CIS: Walk as citizens of the Kingdom of God, transformed at the level of our very hearts in order to make the beauty of God known our of love for Him.
In this the third of 22 stanzas of Psalms 119, the writer clearly states that spiritual abundance is directly connected to God’s Word. (v.17)
We should take note that there are a lot of false forms of spiritual abundance and take care to avoid them. Spiritual abundance far exceeds worldly prosperity. The Psalmist is speaking of the spiritual life found in fellowship with God.
The outward life of growth in Christ which manifests in forgiveness, love, charity, gentleness, patience, and all other manner of spiritual fruit begins, of course, with a life of spiritual abundance; a life of fellowship with God.
John Calvin, commenting on Psalm 119:17 more than 4 centuries ago stated that this passage can basically be understood in two ways. They may be read as a separate clause, in this manner: O God! display thy goodness to thy servant, and thus I shall live, or then I shall esteem myself happy.
Or the verse may form one connected statement: O God! grant to thy servant the favor that, while I live, I may keep thy commandments. If the former rendering of the passage is taken, then, by these words, the prophet declares that, without the favor of God, he is like a dead man; that though he might abound in every thing else, yet he could not subsist without feeling that God was favorable towards him.