#801. DALETH, HE. PSALM 119:25-40 (26/4/23)
Today, we continue with our weekly input from Lucy Oyelade reflecting on the fourth and fifth sections of Psalm 119.
‘I am laid low in the dust; preserve my life according to your word. I gave an account of my ways and you answered me; teach me your decrees. Cause me to understand the way of your precepts, that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds. My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word. Keep me from deceitful ways; be gracious to me and teach me your law. I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I have set my heart on your laws. I hold fast to your statutes, Lord ; do not let me be put to shame. I run in the path of your commands, for you have broadened my understanding.’ (Psalms 119:25-32)
'Teach me, Lord , the way of your decrees, that I may follow it to the end. Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law and obey it with all my heart. Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. Turn my heart towards your statutes and not towards selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word. Fulfil your promise to your servant, so that you may be feared. Take away the disgrace I dread, for your laws are good. How I long for your precepts! In your righteousness preserve my life.' (Psalms 119:33-40)
In a week where we have seen war ravage Sudan again, I have been drawn to the parts of these sections of Psalm 119 that speak of understanding. There is a chronic lack of it in our world. Things seem so complicated when we don’t truly understand something. We send children to school to learn, so that they can understand. You see even tiny babies trying to make sense of the world they have suddenly found themselves in by chewing everything. And understanding is one of those things, like wisdom and knowledge, which is never complete. No matter how much time we spend trying to learn, do we ever fully understand?
We know things about God, from the Bible and from our testimonies, but it is still hard when we pray and our prayers seem to go unanswered. We still want things to go our way, because that’s our understanding of the situation. But how great and glorious that God sees things differently to us! We can choose to see it as a source of comfort that we do not understand all of his ways. We could fight against it and end up being bent in frustration at things. But we can choose to let this release us from bitterness and anger. We can do it, because of this description in Isaiah 40:
‘Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.’
We can allow God to be in control of our lives because he’s really the expert! No one and nothing else is better for the job.
This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to learn more about God – the author of the psalm is asking God to help him understand the laws, because that would make it easier for him to keep them. As we read scripture and spend time with God each day, so our faith grows. We hear more about God and we are strengthened by the testimonies of his goodness.
Prayer points for Sudan, taken from Open Doors:
The situation is a struggle for power. Pray that the military and the RSF will concede to peaceful talks rather than fighting.
Sudan has made some positive moves towards religious freedom in recent years. Please pray that the outcome of any conflict will lead to greater freedom and not a return to authoritarian rule.
In times of darkness and conflict the church can have a powerful witness. Pray that the followers of Jesus in Sudan will continue to be a voice of peace and hope.
Those who convert to Christianity face enormous pressures to give up. Please pray that believers will not lose heart and will really experience the presence of God.
Open Doors local church partners support persecuted Christians in Sudan through discipleship training, economic empowerment and helping them to prepare for persecution. Pray for safety and energy for our local church partners as they seek to bring hope and support to Christians at this time.
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
What has God been speaking to you about from His Word this week and how has this helped you / affected your life?
3. STUDY AND PRAY TOGETHER
Please read John 1:12-13 & 1 John 3:1
Did God speak to you or did anything strike you from Sunday's message?
How does one enter God's family?
How does, or should, being a child of God affect our prayer life?
What are the benefits of being devoted to our church family?
What are the benefits of a local church in being part of a family of churches such as New Ground?
Let's take time to pray for our church family together.
SIV (Serve, Invest and Invite) Why does a healthy church family grow?
SIV - Pray for specific people in your community that God wants you to reach.