Sunday, November 23. 2008 – Tom Quinlan
41 May Your unfailing love come to me, O LORD,
42 Your salvation according to Your promise;
– then I will answer the one who taunts me,
– for I trust in Your word.
43 Do not take the word of truth from my mouth,
– for I have put my hope in Your laws.
44 I will always obey Your Law, for ever and ever.
45 I will walk about in Your freedom,
for I have sought out your precepts.
46 I will talk about Your statutes before kings
and I will not be put to shame,
47 for I delight in your commands because I love them.
48 I lift up my hands to your commands, which I love,
and I meditate on Your decrees.
I find the first line of this section compelling. Why is it that we must ask for the unfailing love of God to come to us? Immediately the words of Jesus come to mind: “Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find…” There is the treasure of God’s love that is always available to any of us, no matter what our circumstances, but we must still ask. “Give us this day our daily bread…” Like the manna of old, we may not gather up extra “unfailing love” for tomorrow lest it rot.
I think this is because we are so prone to forget about our Heavenly Father when we feel His favor and find success in anything. God has established a mechanism in each day that is a safeguard to us falling into the temptation of the devil (which is to exalt ourselves above the Most High). It is he (the devil) who taunts us with accusations that we are not worthy to receive the love and salvation of God. Of course this is true and we must quickly agree with our adversary, but our worthiness is not at all a factor in whether or not the unfailing love and salvation of our God come to us. HE has guaranteed its availability in the person and work of His Son Jesus (specifically His death on the Cross). As we become more convinced and more trusting in the surety of this kind of salvation that has nothing to do with our own merits and everything to do with the merits of God’s Holy One Jesus, THEN we will answer the one who taunts us.
In verses 43 & 44 we find another interesting contrast. In v. 43 the Psalmist is asking the Lord to help him keep the Word of Truth in his own mouth. There seems to be a concern that he is vulnerable to losing that Word that he confesses. But he has invested everything he has in that Word and in the Laws of God. That Law includes the sacrificial Lamb. It includes the account of Abraham, (the father of believing and trusting) offering up his son of promise as a sacrifice only to be told that God will provide HIMSELF as the Lamb of sacrifice. It is the Law that condemns us to the death of our own abilities, but then gives us the life of God Himself in exchange. So in v. 44 the Psalmist makes this amazing vow to keep the Law of God forever. That kind of vow can only be made in the light of the unfailing love of God coming to him in his deepest uncertainties of his own Law-keeping ability and assuring him that God will move in and be the Keeper in him.
At that revelation the Psalmist bursts forth in praise and begins to exalt in the freedom of who God is. We tend to think of the Law as a constraint, but not him. He has suffered through “the straight and narrow path” and has now found the glorious liberty of the sons of God. He seems to know that he is seated in heavenly places with God, and that he will actually testify to the reality of those heavenly places and even instruct the kings of the earthly.
He has said with Job, “Though He slay me, YET will I trust Him.” He now loves the Law that put him to death because it released him into the realm of the very resurrection life of God that will endure for ever and not disappoint.