Monthly Archives: February 2017

An Easy Read through Psalm 119 – Teth & Jod

gavelWhy was David in love with God’s Law? Because it is better than gold and silver. Because His judgments are right. God’s Law benefits us in every way. It harms us in no way. We harm ourselves when we remain in disobedience to the Law, and that is where the curse originates. Not in the perfect Law, but in our rebellion to it.

65 Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O Lord, according unto thy word.

66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments.

67 Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.

68 Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes.

69 The proud have forged a lie against me: but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart.

70 Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in thy law.

71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.

72 The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.

73 Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments.

74 They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word.

75 I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.

76 Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant.

77 Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight.

78 Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause: but I will meditate in thy precepts.

79 Let those that fear thee turn unto me, and those that have known thy testimonies.

80 Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; that I be not ashamed.

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An Easy Read through Psalm 119 – Zain & Cheth

gavelIf, at any moment in the last few months, you have wondered whether I’ve gone off the deep end, then please, please, please read Psalm 119. I predict that if you can read this Psalm all the way through (all 176 verses) and believe every word of it, you will at least see where I am coming from the next time I bring up God’s Law.

49 Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.

50 This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.

51 The proud have had me greatly in derision: yet have I not declined from thy law.

52 I remembered thy judgments of old, O Lord; and have comforted myself.

53 Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law.

54 Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.

55 I have remembered thy name, O Lord, in the night, and have kept thy law.

56 This I had, because I kept thy precepts.

57 Thou art my portion, O Lord: I have said that I would keep thy words.

58 I intreated thy favour with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word.

59 I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.

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

61 The bands of the wicked have robbed me: but I have not forgotten thy law.

62 At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.

63 I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts.

64 The earth, O Lord, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes.

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An Easy Read through Psalm 119 – He & Vau

gavelWhat is liberty?

But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. James 1:25

33 Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.

34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.

35 Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.

36 Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.

37 Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.

38 Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear.

39 Turn away my reproach which I fear: for thy judgments are good.

40 Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness.

41 Let thy mercies come also unto me, O Lord, even thy salvation, according to thy word.

42 So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word.

43 And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments.

44 So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever.

45 And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.

46 I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed.

47 And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved.

48 My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.

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An Easy Read through Psalm 119 – Gimel & Daleth

gavel

Every time I read the Torah: “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” Psalm 119:18

Remember that the Law points to Christ: “For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” John 5:46-47

“For Christ is the end [goal] of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” Romans 10:4

“Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.” Acts 26:22-23

 

17 Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word.

18 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.

19 I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me.

20 My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times.

21 Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments.

22 Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept thy testimonies.

23 Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes.

24 Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counselors.

25 My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.

26 I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes.

27 Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.

28 My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word.

29 Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously.

30 I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me.

31 I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O Lord, put me not to shame.

32 I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.

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An Easy Read through Psalm 119 – Aleph & Beth

gavelI remember reading through Psalm 119 a few years ago and wondering why in the world David was so in love with God’s Law. Well, I have a lot of things to say about that, but I’m not going to. Not yet. Instead, I’m going to be spending the next 11 days posting Psalm 119 in manageable chunks. I keep saying, “Read Psalm 119!” If you haven’t done so already, here’s your chance.

119 Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord.

Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.

They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.

Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.

O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!

Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.

I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.

I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.

Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.

10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.

11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

12 Blessed art thou, O Lord: teach me thy statutes.

13 With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth.

14 I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.

15 I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.

16 I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.

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I Stand in Awe of Him

Here is the sixth reason why I persist in studying the Old Testament through a Jewish lens: it has put me in utter amazement. I have been familiar with the gospel for over 30 years, but until a couple of years ago, I had never experienced the mind-blowing comprehension of the gospel as it is foreshadowed in the Old Testament.

His providence astounds me. His redemption is beyond fathoming. I cannot put into words for you how God’s plan for mankind affects me. He gave Adam everything he needed, including a relationship with the Almighty. Adam walked away from that relationship, and the Father has been plotting a way to restore it ever since. “We must all die; we are like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God will not take away life, and he devises means so that the banished one will not remain an outcast.” 2 Samuel 14:14 (ESV)

i-am-the-door

(Picture from 119 Ministries)

He is constantly working on our behalf: “Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:” Job 23:8-9

I have been smitten by God’s enormous love and brought to tears over and over again as I discover more about His personality and provision for us. Sometimes I feel like my human body can not bear up under the presence of His overwhelming holiness. Just catching a small glimpse of Him here and there throughout the scriptures has made me fully aware that a man cannot see God and live. (Exodus 33:20)

In light of my recent studies, I am convinced that we cannot so much as comprehend Him and live! I am certainly going to need a new body before I meet Him face to face, so I won’t have to worry about whether my heart stops or whether I’m still breathing. And I will need a new mind that will not crumple in the light of His magnificent truth. And then I’m going to need an eternity with Him to search out His goodness, His wisdom, His love.

Let me tell you something. Satan and the forces of this world do not want you to study the Old Testament. The richness of God’s salvation is hidden on every page, and Satan doesn’t want us to know about that. Satan is good at deceiving, so he tells us that some things (aka the OT) are just not important anymore.

God, on the other hand, desires to have a relationship with us. He wants us to know everything we can about Him, to be constantly hungry for more. God wants you to study the entire Word. That’s why He left it for us. “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?” Psalm 42:1-2

Let me leave you with a song that praises Him for His indescribable nature:

You are beautiful beyond description
Too marvelous for words
Too wonderful for comprehension
Like nothing ever seen or heard
Who can grasp you infinite wisdom
Who can fathom the depth of your love
You are beautiful beyond description
Majesty enthroned above

And I stand, I stand in awe of you
I stand, I stand in awe of you
Holy God to whom all praise is due
I stand in awe of you

(I Stand in Awe of You, Hillsong)

Do You Really Believe in the Old Testament?

8624465192_1d123f2711_nFor the past few days, I have been posting articles concerning Jewish beliefs or interpretations of the scriptures. If only the Jewish nation knew everything that Christians knew about Christ, and if Christendom knew everything the Jews knew about their language, customs, and scriptures. There would be a mountain of evidence between us, all pointing to the true Messiah. If we could come together, I feel that we would be able to show any seeker the truth – atheist, Muslim, you name it.

Point #5.

What’s the point in studying the Old Testament? How does it advance the kingdom of God?

Finding out as much as possible about the OT is a great way to win souls. You can flat out “prove” the inerrancy of the Scriptures, mostly due to the prophecies and the harmony between testaments. Much of what you find in the New Testament is a reference, commentary, or explanation of the Old Testament revealed in the light of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ (like the references to the cities of refuge). The more you know, the more you can prove. Luke thought it appropriate to prove that Jesus is who He said He is. (Read Luke and Acts to discover Luke’s methods. I also talk a bit about them in my post Proof of God.)

In addition to building a body of evidence, there is another reason to read the Old Testament. It is quite silly to say you believe in something that you have never studied or even read. I was speaking with a devout Jewish woman last year about one of my favorite quotes from Zephaniah: “For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent.” Zephaniah 3:9. (I have so much to say about this verse, but that is for another post. ) She responded that she had never read Zephaniah in all her life, and that she only studied the Torah because there was enough in it to keep her busy.

While I would agree that there are mountains of knowledge in the Torah, and that you could probably never exhaust the supply of information and meaning hidden within it, I found it strange that she would not read everything at her disposal. Wouldn’t she be curious about the other revelations? If Zephaniah and the other prophets and writings are inspired of God, why would you neglect to read them? How can you even claim to believe something you have not studied? You can say that you believe the Bible is true. That is belief in a statement. Someone told you the Bible is true, and you believe it. But can you honestly say that you believe facts, histories, prophecies, and foreshadowings if you have never even read them?

As we read through the Bible, the Word works in us to reveal that it is true: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12. But you have to read it if you want to benefit from these effects! If you don’t read it, then you are accepting someone else’s interpretation of it, and not the Holy Spirit’s.

Today I feel compelled to impress upon you the importance of reading the entire Word of God. Also, I want you to realize that the two testaments were inspired by the same God, whose plan for mankind has not altered in the least over the course of history. Christ was “slain from the foundation of the world.” Revelation 13:8 “And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.” Galatians 3:8

Here’s one more reason to study the Old Testament, if these others have failed to convince you: We are told to do it. If you don’t believe me, check out these verses about studying.

I want to help you learn to read and study the scriptures, so here are a couple of ideas to get you started:

Because we forget so easily, because spaced repetition is the key to long-term memory, and because our understanding  of the Word is ever growing, I think it’s important to read the Bible through once a year. While that may seem like a mountain of homework to some, it is not as difficult as you think. If you read at a pretty standard speed, you can do it in fifteen minutes a day. To make it even easier, there are Daily Bible reading apps, The One Year Bible in print (you can get it on Amazon), Bible reading charts that you can download, etc. My favorite Kindle Bible is the Daily Bible in One Year. Here is its description from Amazon: “The readings are categorized into Epistles, the Law, History, Psalms, Poetry, Prophecy, and Gospels which repeat every seven days. They are designed to provide variety in your reading while allowing sufficient time each day to reflect on each reading.” If you just want to stick with the Bible on your shelf, here is my favorite reading plan. It follows the same format as the Kindle Bible I just mentioned. Also, and this might be the easiest thing to do, you could just divide the number of pages in your Bible by 365, round up to the nearest whole page, and read that much every day. It will probably be much less than what you might have imagined.

If reading is difficult for you, might I suggest listening online? Here is an audio Bible from biblestudytools.com to get you started, but you might also check Librivox and YouTube.

Tomorrow I intend to wrap this series up, with what may very well be my favorite reason for studying the Old Testament.